WHYY Publicity Photo
Known to Philadelphians as the unmistakable "voice of WHYY," Broadcast Pioneers member Ed Cunningham began his professional career as an announcer for WDVR (now B-101), and later joined classical music station WFLN in 1969. Prior to that, Ed was an announcer and host on several programs broadcast over Temple University's college radio station WRTI-FM.
During his 30-year career at TV12 and 91FM, the famed announcer has also built a reputation for being an award-winning producer of history and fundraising programs for the public broadcasting stations.
A lifelong resident of Philadelphia, Ed became a booth announcer for WHYY-TV in 1972, as well as host of an interview program on WUHY-FM (now WHYY-FM). He was radio music director from 1973-1979, and in 1980, moved to television production.
He produced WHYY-TV on-air member drives from 1986 to 1998, helping to raise tens of millions of dollars to support the region’s public broadcasting, and has since been producing documentaries on the history and culture of the Philadelphia region. Cunningham has also served as a freelance reporter for the publication Jewish Times.
Cunningham has been responsible for such popular and award-winning WHYY programs as, South Philly Italian Style, Philadelphia’s Fabulous Sports Memories and It’s a Mitzvah! Jewish Life in the Delaware Valley.
Other popular television productions, which have poignantly captured many of the people, places and institutions in the region, include: Things That Aren't There Anymore, We Are Penn State, Rizzo, Workshop of the World, A Walk Up Broad Street (hosted by Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Webber), Secrets Beneath the Streets and Holy Philadelphia, which was awarded a MidAtlantic Emmy for Outstanding Cultural Program, as well as an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists Philadelphia Chapter.
He continues to create memory-provoking programs about his beloved hometown, and as he stated in a recent newspaper article, “There are many more Philadelphia stories out there.”
Cunningham provided special reports for The Philadelphia Orchestra: A New Century, A New Home, the live broadcast of the inaugural performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra from Verizon Hall, at the Kimmel Center, broadcast nationwide on TV, radio and the web.
He currently serves as host for the 91FM series Sunday Showcase, a weekly broadcast of concerts performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Cunningham offers background information and interviews about each week’s music and music-makers. In addition to his professional interest in classical music, he has also served as President of the Mozart Society of Philadelphia, which he has also been a board member for 20 years.
In addition to his professional work, Cunningham also devotes time to community service in Philadelphia. He serves on the board, and volunteers for, the Associated Services for the Blind and has been a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of St. Monica’s Parish. He enjoys mentoring young people entering the field of broadcasting and has provided WHYY interns with invaluable production experience.
He has also been on our Board of Directors for six years and has taught at Philadelphia’s Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism.
Ed Cunningham’s credentials as a broadcaster, coupled with his passion for documenting the region’s history, are just some of the reasons why Ed was inducted into our Hall of Fame on Friday, November 16, 2007.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of WHYY
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