During the Thursday version of his Countdown with Keith Olbermann podcast, Olbermann described in his “Things I Promised Not To Tell” segment the details of how he nearly became the successor to Paul Harvey at ABC Radio, and how he learned what Harvey viewed as his “terrible, dark, evil secret”.
“No one could mention this,” said Olbermann. “Nor the name of the other person involved. Nor the nature of the terrible thing that had happened on fear of absolute banishment from the world of Paul Harvey. The ABC executive who told me this story would not even tell it to me inside the ABC Radio news headquarters. We went and had coffee at a diner and he kept looking around to make sure nobody else was there from the network.”
Olbermann shared how ABC Radio executives liked the young newcaster so much they helped him move from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Chicago and would use him as a backup host.
“The guy that Paul Harvey backed up in the late 40s and early 50s was named H.R. Baukage. He called himself just Baukage on the air and he was already a star news reporter in this country when they invented radio. He had covered World War I for several newspapers. He had gone to work for ABC Radio’s predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, in 1932.”
In 1951, Baukage was ABC TV’s news anchor, and also did a daily 15-minute news roundup on ABC Radio. But when he went on a vacation in 1951, his role changed.
“They asked that kid from Chicago, Paul Harvey, to fill in for Baukage,” Olbermann shared. “Baukage was 62 and it was sure great that he had covered World War I but that was literally an entire World War before the one everyone was still talking about in 1951. ABC executives liked the young, brash, dramatic Paul Harvey and so when Baukage came back, they fired him. They gave Paul Harvey Baukage’s show. But you weren’t allowed to know that. It’s not on the web, except in a transcript o the obit I did when Paul Harvey died.
Olbermann then stated another secret: He updates Paul Harvey’s Wikipedia page “every couple years” to share that Harvey took over for H.R. Baukage, and waits to see how long it takes someone else to remove it. He then went on to share how Harvey feared the same situation might happen to him someday.
“This was Paul Harvey’s terrible, dark, evil secret. His big break was the guy he was filling in for got fired. I don’t think — having studied this as best I could — that Paul Harvey got H.R. Baukage fired. Nor did my boss at ABC think that. But over 50 years, Paul Harvey began to believe, not only that he got H.R. Baukage fired, but that some day God would avenge poor Baukage, and on that one day, Paul Harvey would get fired and be replaced by some guy who filled in for him while he was on vacation.
“Thus, Paul Harvey never took all the vacation time ABC owed him. Not even in year 58 of his tenure at the network. And he got up at 3:30 every morning to get to the studio or 1:30 when he was broadcasting from his other home in Arizona because he was convinced ABC would someday ‘Baukage’ him.”
Olbermann then detailed how the same ABC executive who told him Harvey’s fear of the Baukage story getting out told him they needed to plan for an eventual replacement for the venerable newsman. It centered around Olbermann beginning a Sunday format similar to Harvey’s, as someone familiar to Harvey’s listeners would be the easiest way to replace the legend…until someone mentioned the plan to Harvey.
“‘This what will now happen,” Olbermann said as he imitated Harvey. “‘You will fly to Chicago tomorrow with a new contract for me, Paul Harvey. This contract will be for the same terms and length as the current one but it will include one paragraph spelling out that Keith Olbermann will never again appear on Paul Harvey News and Comment. And another paragraph stating there will never be a seventh day of Paul Harvey News and Comment with or without Paul Harvey or I resign’.
“Paul knew in his heart the time had come. Paul Harvey’s Paul Harvey was at the door. So, he had to kill him.”
Rachel Maddow Releasing New Podcast Series
Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power.”
A new podcast is coming soon from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Deadline reports Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra will premiere two episodes on October 10th, with new episodes being released every Monday. In a teaser of the podcast, Maddow explains the series is “an American story.”
MSNBC described the series as a podcast featured on “sitting members of Congress aiding and abetting a plot to overthrow the government. Insurrectionists criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy for good. Justice Department prosecutors under crushing political pressure. Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to… to cover their tracks.”
Under a new contract with NBCUniversal that saw Maddow scale back her nightly MSNBC program to Mondays only, she’s developing new projects like podcasts and documentaries. Alex Wagner now hosts the 9:00 PM ET primetime hour on MSNBC Tuesday to Friday.
Joe Salzone is a news media writer for Barrett News Media. He’s a native of Long Island and has been involved in the radio industry since he was 16 years old. Currently, he serves as the News Director for the Cayuga Radio Group and hosts Ithaca’s Morning News on WHCU. His radio career has included stops at SiriusXM, Galaxy Communications, WGBB, WNYG, and the Finger Lakes Radio Group. He can be found on Twitter @JoeSalzone.
Keith Olbermann: American Journalism ‘Re-Invented’ During Trump Presidency
“The overwriting principle used to be: get a scoop, get in the paper or on the air as soon as possible because that’s your job, and that’s your only actual value to society as well.”
During his Countdown with Keith Olbermann podcast Friday, the former cable news host slammed a recent opinion from Politico’s John Harris that Americans need more journalists like Maggie Haberman, among others.
Olbermann has been critical of Haberman’s decision to withhold important facts in relation to the former President Donald Trump and save them for her upcoming book rather than report them in The New York Times.
“What Harris does not understand is American ‘journalism’ did re-invent itself,” Olbermann said. “The overwriting principle used to be: get a scoop, get in the paper or on the air as soon as possible because that’s your job, and that’s your only actual value to society as well. It is also — and I speak as somebody who broke a lot of sports news including the Wayne Gretzky trade and Michael Jordan’s first dalliance with a comeback — it is the joy of doing the journalism. You have the story, and nobody else does!”
He continued by saying Harris and Haberman believe the point of American journalism is not to inform the public but rather how much money you can make in the process.
Haberman’s book “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” is expected to hit bookshelves on Tuesday, October 4th.
Andrew Cuomo Launches Action Committee, Podcast
Cuomo is joining his brother Chris in the news media world as the politician launches a political action committee and a podcast.
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is joining his brother Chris in the news media world as the politician is launching a political action committee and a podcast.
“I am starting a political action committee to elect the right people to office,” Cuomo said (h/t CNN). “We do not need more panderers. We need producers. We need people committed to fight for change and who get results.”
The video also featured familiar criticism of social media, which he has often blamed for fueling the backlash the led to his resignation, which effectively halted state lawmakers’ plans to impeach and remove him from office.
“It’s a Twitter mob, but the mob has power and many politicians and press are afraid to challenge it lest the mob turn on them,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo’s podcast intends to dive into what he believes is the truth and how the platform will differ from what is already out there.
“This forum will be different. My intention is to speak the full truth, unvarnished, from the inside out, frank and candid,” Cuomo said.
“As a person who’s been in the room many times for many years and knows these people and knows their games, and as a person who actually did the job.”
Eduardo Razo is the Assistant Content Editor for BNM, which includes writing daily news stories on the news media industry. He can be found on Twitter @eddierazo_ or you can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.