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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Who is Bill Cunningham?

Who is Bill Cunningham? Cunningham is an American talk radio host. His full-time job is hosting The Big Show with Bill Cunningham, a local show on 700 WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cunningham now hosts Live on Sunday Night, it's Bill Cunningham, which is syndicated to over 300 stations by Premiere Radio Networks. He is also a regular guest on Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes.

Cunningham was born on December 11, 1947. His first regular show on the station was at night, generally from 9:00 p.m. until midnight; this meant that his show was not heard during the summer months, when WLW broadcasts Cincinnati Reds baseball games. In the late 1990s, Cunningham's show was moved to early afternoons, which put his show directly opposite that of one of his favorite radio stars, Rush Limbaugh, whose show is heard on sister station 550 WKRC.
In 2001, Cunningham won the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Large-Market Personality of the Year.


Cunningham is a Republican (yet will often distance himself from that label in reaction to what he views as poor Republican politics), and his political views are mostly conservative sometimes libertarian. To the guests or callers whose statements or views Cunningham respects and appreciates, he will often dub them "A Great American." While Cunningham will spend a majority of his show blasting liberal politics, he will often remark about his disfavor of Republicans who do not practice conservative values by calling them "RINO's" (Republican In Name Only). Cunningham's topics include a variety of subjects, but usually focus on national and local (Greater Cincinnati) news and politics. His efforts to discuss conservative sensibilities often lead him to make "edgy" assessments, sometimes resulting in backlash. However, Cunningham will usually attempt to justify (or at least clarify) his points as they relate to local or national issues, typically at the conclusion of his on-air discussions.


This article's Criticism or Controversy section(s) may mean the article does not present a neutral point of view of the subject. It may be better to integrate the material in such sections into the article as a whole.
In 2001, shortly after race-related riots over the police killing of an African-American teenager who was fleeing their pursuit, Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Nathaniel Jones blasted Cunningham in a speech at a local YMCA, calling the show “trash, and filth and profanity.”[1] (Jones is a former civil rights lawyer who worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Cunningham has been a frequent critic of the organization and civil rights activists in general, particularly Rev. Jesse Jackson, who Cunningham nicknames the "Rhyming Reverend.")




In December 2003, Cunningham drew more fire for making fun of Nathaniel Jones (not to be confused with the aforementioned judge), an African-American resident of Cincinnati who died after violently resisting police outside a White Castle restaurant; video of the incident again inflamed the local African-American community. [2] Jones, who weighed more than 350 lb. (159 kg), was found to have died of an enlarged heart, and various narcotics were found to be present in his body while violently resisting arrest at the time of his death, which may have contributed to his reaction to police efforts to subdue him. Cunningham made fun of Jones' obesity and apparent drug use in a skit on his show, which prompted various local civil rights groups to call for his resignation or firing. [3] Cunningham maintains privately that he, "cannot see how this isn't funny."






On February 26, 2008, Cunningham created another controversy when he spoke at a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate John McCain at Cincinnati's Memorial Hall, repeatedly referring to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by his full name of "Barack Hussein Obama" and calling him "a hack, Chicago-style Daley politician." Cunningham also told the crowd that the media would eventually "peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama" and reveal his connection with indicted fundraiser Antoin Rezko and the "sweetheart deals" Obama received in Chicago. After the rally, McCain repudiated Cunningham's comments and stated that he wanted "to dissociate myself with any disparaging remarks that may have been said about" Obama. Cunningham later, unrepentantly, called John McCain John "Juan Pablo" McCain, accusing him of "(throwing him under the bus), the Straight- Talk Express."[4]


In 2005, several local news media reported that Cunningham was seriously considering a run for the United States House of Representatives seat for the Second District of Ohio, which was vacated by Rob Portman, who was appointed United States Trade Representative by President George W. Bush. Cunningham later decided not to run.

On October 7, 2007, Cunningham took over the Matt Drudge show airing Sunday nights 10p-1a on 320 radio stations, including his flagship station WLW, which will occasionally preempt the show for special sports programming and does not broadcast the third hour (which is pre-empted for the local hour of America's Trucking Network). The show also airs in its entirety on XM Satellite Radio channel 165, with replays on 158.

Cunningham is a friend of fellow radio host Sean Hannity, who (along with listeners) frequently uses one of Cunningham's catch phrases, "You're a great American"--even though Hannity can't always directly attribute the source of the phrase on the air, since his show is also on 550 WKRC, in competition with Cunningham's WLW. more

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