MINNEAPOLIS — Olaf Harvey is hanging it up. He'll end up on Minnesota radio's Mount Rushmore after an award-winning career.
North Dakota native Dave Lee, a longtime morning radio host at powerhouse WCCO-AM in Minneapolis, announced on the air Friday he will retire after his show April 30. He's been at WCCO since 1989.
Prior to that, the 66-year-old University of North Dakota graduate worked at KRAD in East Grand Forks and KFGO in Fargo.
"I'm an old dog here, but it's time to retire," Lee said during his show. "I'm looking forward to it. It's about time and I appreciate everyone here at 'CCO for being so kind."
After 32 years at News Talk 830 WCCO, Dave Lee announces that he will retire from the station on April 30th, 2021. https://t.co/dovzW5jAd7— News Talk 830 WCCO (@wccoradio) January 8, 2021
Lee's mix of kindness, folksiness and humor made him a popular host at the station known as the "Good Neighbor," whose 830-AM signal booms throughout the Upper Midwest.
His career including replacing legends Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson on WCCO's morning show and University of Minnesota sports play-by-play announcer Ray Christensen in calling Gophers games. Lee did Gophers play-by-play for 10 years, and occasionally filled in on Minnesota Twins broadcasts from 1991-96.
Lee still does play-by-play of the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School boys and girls basketball tournaments and is the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO.
Lee has been named as Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the year six times. He's won three TV Emmy Awards.
Lee, who grew up in Hatton, N.D., made the move to Minneapolis after WCCO's then-program director heard him on KFGO. Lee did an afternoon show on the Fargo station and among the characters he performed was Olaf Harvey, a knock-off version of famed radio commentator Paul Harvey.
In a thick Norwegian accent and mirroring the real Harvey's cadence, Lee delivered the comedic "Olaf Harvey's Snoose and Commentary." Instead of signing off with Paul Harvey's signature "Good day!" line, Lee would end the bit with a dramatically drawn out, "Olaf Harvey .... God dag!" That's Norwegian for "good day."
Part of Lee's popularity was his humility and accessibility at places like the Minnesota State Fair. He was a top spokesman for some of WCCO's most important clients and, according to an article posted at the website Radio.com, raised money for numerous charities in the Twin Cities.
"It’s nice people recognize me, but as my buddies tell me back home, 'you're really no big deal,' and they’re right,” Lee once told the UND alumnni magazine. "I always tell them they’re feeding the world on the farm and I’m just talking to it."