Gil Gross says he is not replacing Paul Harvey, contrary to several reports (Radio Online and Radio Ink and others). Gross, currently KGO 810’s 2-4 p.m weekday host, tells the Press Club that he’s not interested in the job.
“I will fill-in as I always have until they choose someone. If it takes three weeks I’ll be there three weeks. If they pick someone over the weekend then Saturday will be my last show,” Gross said in an e-mail.
Apparently, some bloggers misconstrued an announcement ABC Radio put out to its affiliates after Harvey’s death on Saturday to let them know that if they turn the network on Monday something will be there. (The Press Club posted the erroneous story for a few hours today, too. You’re reading the corrected version.)
Gross, who replaced the late Pete Wilson at KGO in 2007, is pretty busy these days. In addition to his weekday show, he’s also doing a nationally syndicated real estate show on Saturdays.
Gross went back along way with Paul Harvey. Gross frequently substituted for Harvey over the years and this week has been doing tributes to the popular broadcaster during Harvey’s time slots. On Tuesday, Gross recalled meeting Harvey for the first time in 1971:
- I was a kid, and frankly about as scruffy as Paul was immaculate. I arrived at the Midwest bureau in Chicago at 3:30 in the morning looking like I had just rolled out of bed. Not only on the wrong side of the bed but as if I had rolled out on the side that adjoined an open elevator shaft that I had fallen into. Paul would arrive minutes later looking like (pause) well, like Paul Harvey — dressed to the nines even though the only people who would see him for hours would be myself and our bureau chief Meyer Procter.
We would talk about news to be sure, but the first conversation where we really connected was when we talked about how lucky we were to be doing what we were doing.
And he asked, if this hadn’t happened, what else would I have done? And I told him the truth is I would have worked in a record store.
I had worked in a record store after school. I loved music. And I not only enjoyed sharing my love of music but I told him I enjoyed watching someone go out the door with something in their hands I had recommended that I knew they would love, that would add to their life. Even more so, I loved it when they would come back, now trusting that I would steer them right. I said it gave me a sense of gratification that many more respected jobs never did, and he glowed when I said that.
Now I was embarrassed at the time to admit this, thinking I should have said something far loftier. But to Paul, it was the perfect answer. He looked at advertising — well advertising the right products anyway in the right way — as a means of helping people, as a means of making them happier. Selling them something that did not work or they did not need was not something Paul cared to do. But connecting people who had a product with people who would benefit from them was to him perfect capitalism. To him, ads were another form of news. “Did you know there was a store that could save you money?” “A vitamin that could aid your health?”