Ed Cunningham is best known as the unmistakable “voice of WHYY.” During his 30-year career at TV12 and 91FM, the famed announcer also has built a reputation as an award-winning producer of history and fundraising programs for the Philadelphia public broadcasting station.
A lifelong Philadelphia resident, Cunningham began his broadcasting career as an announcer for WDVR. In 1969, he joined classical music station WFLN, the same year he picked up his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University. He 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 to 1979, before moving to television production in 1980. He produced WHYY-TV on-air member drives from 1986 to 1998, and has since been producing documentaries on the history and culture of the Philadelphia region.
Cunningham has been responsible for such popular and award-winning WHYY programs as Things That Aren’t There Anymore, South Philly Italian Style, Philadelphia’s Fabulous Sports Memories and It’s a Mitzvah! Jewish Life in the Delaware Valley. His Rizzo, A Walk Up Broad Street and Secrets Beneath the Streets are also among his productions highlighting key features of the region. Holy Philadelphia won Cunningham an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Philadelphia Chapter. His newest documentaries include Philly’s Favorite Kids Show Hosts and The Philly Food Show. His blog on whyy.org, called “Ed Cunningham’s Philadelphia,” focuses on fun peculiarities of the region.
Cunningham currently serves as host for the 91FM series Sunday Showcase, a weekly broadcast featuring classical ensembles in the tri-state area. He has served as president of the Mozart Society of Philadelphia, an organization of which he has also been a board member for 20 years.
His civic involvement includes service on the board, and volunteering for, the Associated Services for the Blind. He has been a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of St. Monica’s Parish. He also has been on the Board of Directors of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.