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Stars That Died

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity (born December 30, 1961) is the son of Hugh J. and Lillian F. Hannity. Both his paternal and maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland. He has two sisters, Joanne S. Hannity and Therese (Hannity) Grisham. He grew up in Franklin Square, New York. During the late 1980s, Hannity worked in construction in Santa Barbara, California and also as a bartender.[3] He has lived in Roswell, Georgia; Athens, Alabama; Lloyd Harbor, New York; and Santa Barbara, California. He married Jill Rhodes, a columnist for The Huntsville Times, on January 9, 1993.

Sean Hannity is an American radio/television host, author, and conservative political commentator. His nationally-syndicated radio program, The Sean Hannity Show, airs throughout the United States on ABC Radio Networks. Hannity is also well known as host of two television shows on Fox News Channel: Hannity & Colmes and Hannity's America. Besides his broadcasting career, Hannity is a successful author, having written two New York Times bestselling books.[1][2]

Sean Hannity joined the FOX News Channel (FNC) in September 1996 as co-host of "Hannity & Colmes" (Monday-Friday, 9-10 p.m. ET), a primetime one-hour debate-driven talk show focusing on the controversial issues and newsmakers of the day. He serves as the program's conservative counterpart to liberal Alan Colmes. "Hannity & Colmes" is currently the second highest-rated program in cable news behind "The O'Reilly Factor." Hannity also hosts a one-hour weekend program called "Hannity's America."
Known for his provocative style free-wheeling, passionate commentary on politics and the American agenda, Hannity has become one of the most popular radio personalities nationwide as the host of ABC Radio Networks', "The Sean Hannity Show," syndicated to more than 500 stations and heard in all of the top 50 markets with a loyal listenership of 13 million. Hannity is currently ranked No. 2 in Talker Magazine's "Top 100 Talk Host in America." In October 2003, Hannity received the 2003 NAB Marconi Radio Award for Network Syndicated Personality of the Year. Newsday's Verne Gay predicted Hannity as the third most significant player who would influence the coverage of the 2004 presidential campaign. Gay also said, "observers say… Hannity is considered more influential than FOX News' Bill O'Reilly, who's somewhat suspect in the eyes of the Right, or even Limbaugh, who has no TV berth."


Hannity graduated high school in 1980 from St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, located in Uniondale, New York. Described as "an indifferent student",[4] Hannity dropped out of New York University for financial reasons and later decided to pursue a radio career.[3] In 2005, Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University awarded him an honorary degree for speaking at the commencement ceremony.[5]

Hannity in a radio and television interview with Vice President of the US Dick Cheney
Hannity hosted his first talk radio show in 1989 at the volunteer college station at UC Santa Barbara, KCSB-FM, while working as a general contractor. The show aired for 40 hours of air time;[6] Hannity has since called the show "terrible."[7] Hannity's weekly show on KCSB was canceled after less than a year when management charged him with "discriminating against gays and lesbians." This was after two shows featuring the book The AIDS Coverup: The Real and Alarming Facts about AIDS by Gene Antonio. The station later reversed its decision to dismiss Hannity due in part to a campaign conducted by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Hannity decided against returning to KCSB.[8]
After leaving KCSB, Hannity placed an ad in radio publications presenting himself as "the most talked about college radio host in America." Radio station WVNN in Athens, Alabama (part of the Huntsville market) then hired him to be the afternoon talk show host.[6] From Huntsville, he moved to WGST in Atlanta in 1992, filling the slot vacated by Neal Boortz, who had moved to competing station WSB. In September 1996 Fox News founder Roger Ailes hired the then relatively unknown Hannity to host a television program under the working title Hannity and LTBD ("liberal to be determined").[9] Alan Colmes was then hired to co-host and the show debuted as Hannity & Colmes.
Later that year Hannity left WGST for New York, where WABC had him substitute for their afternoon drive time host during Christmas week. In January 1997, WABC put Hannity on the air full-time, giving him the late night time slot. WABC then moved Hannity to the same drive time slot he had filled temporarily a little more than a year earlier. Hannity has been on WABC's afternoon time slot since January 1998.[10]
Hannity's radio and television shows draw praise from conservative politicians.[11] However, he also has been vocally critical of and has drawn criticism from progressive and liberal groups such as Media Matters for America.[12]
In 2005, Fortune included Hannity in the article "25 People We Envy Most (Lucky Hall of Fame Getting Paid to Mouth Off)" saying, "It's every blowhard's dream: getting paid to preach to the choir. For four hours a day Hannity fills the airwaves with his sure-fire formula: If you agree with his conservative world view, you're deemed a "great American." If you don't, you're a pusillanimous blame-America-firster, who might as well pledge allegiance to France. Armed with a classic talk radio voice, Hannity reportedly makes $5 million a year for the radio show, and undoubtedly more from Fox. Plus he's written two bestsellers and draws legions of fans to his national tours."[13]
As the No. 2 radio talk-show host in America, Hannity signed a five year contract in July 2008 said to be worth "about $100 million." [14]
Conservative Cal Thomas and liberal Bob Beckel, in their book Common Ground, describe Hannity as a leader of the pack among broadcasting political polarizers, which following James Q. Wilson they define as those who have "an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group definitively apart from people in another, rival group."[15]

Hannity is a co-host of Hannity & Colmes, an American political "point-counterpoint"-style television program on the Fox News Channel featuring Hannity and Alan Colmes as co-hosts. Hannity presents the conservative point of view with Colmes providing the liberal viewpoint. Hannity has had on air clashes with show guests such as Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer of Human Life International, who challenged Hannity on his public dissent from the Catholic Church on the issue of contraception.[16][17] Hannity has stated that if the Catholic Church were to excommunicate him over the issue, he would join Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church, the church associated with Liberty University, who awarded Hannity his honorary bachelor degree.[18]
In January 2007, Hannity began a new Sunday night television show on Fox News, Hannity's America.

Hannity's radio program is a conservative political talk show that features Hannity's opinions and ideology related to current issues and politicians. The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001 on over 500 stations nationwide. As of spring 2006, the program is heard by over 12.5 million listeners a week.[19] In 2004, Hannity signed a $25 million five-year contract extension with ABC Radio to continue the show through 2009.[20] The program was made available via Armed Forces Radio Network in 2006. In June 2007, ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Communications.
In January 2007, Clear Channel Communications signed a groupwide three-year extension with Hannity on over 80 stations. The largest stations in the group deal included KTRH Houston, KFYI Phoenix, WPGB Pittsburgh, WKRC Cincinnati, WOOD Grand Rapids, WFLA Tampa, WOAI San Antonio, WLAC Nashville, and WREC Memphis.[21]
The opening theme music for the Sean Hannity Show is "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range.

Hannity is the author of two books, Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Ideas in Politics, Media, and Life and Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism published through ReganBooks. Both books reached the nonfiction New York Times bestseller list. The second book quickly went to number one and stayed there for five consecutive weeks.[4][22] Hannity has stated that he is too busy to read many books,[4] and dictated a lot of his own two books into a tape recorder while driving in to do his radio show.[23] Frank Rich, an opinion columnist for the New York Times has criticized Hannity for using the American flag on his book covers, saying that the imagery is used "as a merchandising tool" for "self-aggrandizingly patriotic screeds."[24]

Freedom Concerts Hannity has hosted country music-themed Freedom Concerts since 2003, billed to help benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, a charity created by Oliver North to provide college scholarships to children with a parent severely disabled or killed in military action. Appearing artists have included Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Lee Greenwood, LeAnn Rimes, Montgomery Gentry, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels, Larry the Cable Guy, and Michael W. Smith. The Freedom Concerts were held annually in the Northern Star Arena at the Six Flags Great Adventure Amusement Park in Jackson, New Jersey through 2006. In 2007, the annual concert was expanded to a summer series held at locations across the United States, culminating with the September 11 event at Great Adventure marking the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[25] Speakers at the September 11, 2007 concert included Oliver North, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and several conservative talk show hosts from WABC Radio. Hannidate Hannity's Internet dating service, called "Hannidate," matches conservative or Republican-leaning singles, straight and gay. Begun in 2005, it is described as a "place where people of like conservative minds can come together to meet."[26][27] Bibliography Hannity, Sean (2002). Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism, ReganBooks, ISBN 0-06-051455-8. Hannity, Sean (2004). Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, ReganBooks, ISBN 0-06-058251-0.

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