This spring, summer and fall, you can add Bruce Cunningham to the list of folks nestled on their couches watching the Orioles and Ravens embark on a new season, as Cunningham announced Sunday his retirement from the anchor desk at WBFF-TV 45.
Cunningham, the only sports anchor WBFF has had since it launched a newscast in 1991, in June, 1991, announced on the station’s website that he will call it a career when his contract expires March 31.
“It’s been a joy to go to work every day, loving my jo and giving it all I had, but it’s a young person’s game and in recent years, I have found it hard to stoke the fire that once drove me,” said Cunningham in his first-person piece.
Cunningham’s 31-year run in Baltimore – the bulk of a 45-year career in sports broadcasting – is noteworthy, but hardly unusual in this city, where newscasters put down roots and never leave.
For instance, Deborah Weiner, a reporter on that inaugural WBFF broadcast, has stayed on the air in Baltimore since, and has been an anchor at WBAL-TV 11 for decades.
During his tenure, Cunningham, who was also the stadium play-by-play voice of the Ravens for a time, was one of the last local sportscasters to do extended nightly newscasts, a luxury during a day and age when area sports reports are shrinking.
And, to his lasting credit, as 45’s sports director, Cunningham helped launch the careers of a number of female sportscasters, including NFL Network’s Amber Theoharis and Kristen Berset, now at WUSA in Washington, as well as Morgan Adsit, his current on-air partner.
In the interest of full disclosure, I consider Bruce Cunningham a friend, as we have shared discussions on a wide variety of topics, both on his weekend talk show on WJZ-FM 105.7 and off-the-air, as he has spoken to some of my college sports courses.
Bruce Cunningham isn’t some long-in-the-tooth veteran looking to play out the string. He has a lot still left in the tank, though, after more than 40 years in the business, he’s more interested in spending time with his family, here and in Florida, and who can argue with that?
“I want to live a more “normal” life and get out of the way for some young, hungry person like I was in 1991 to take my place,” Cunningham wrote.
He’s certainly earned that spot on the couch.
Sports Media Analyst
Milton Kent is a veteran of Baltimore and Maryland journalism. Kent began a long association with the Baltimore Sun in 1985, serving as the Evening Sun’s Howard County reporter for 2 ½ years before joining the paper’s features department as an entertainment writer in 1988. In the following year, Kent began covering men’s and women’s college basketball for the Evening Sun, concentrating on the Maryland men’s and women’s teams. He continued covering college basketball when the writing staffs of the Evening and Morning Suns merged in 1991. From there, he covered the Orioles for three seasons before becoming one of the nation’s first fulltime sports media critics for parts of six years. In 2000, he began covering the NBA until 2004, when he launched a high school sports column, which he wrote until he left the Sun in 2008. Kent joined the staff of AOL Fanhouse, an online sports operation in 2009, covering sports media and women’s basketball, until operations ceased in 2011. He then joined the faculty at Morgan State University in the fall of 2011, where he has taught until the present day. In addition to writing for various platforms, including Sports Illustrated.com and TV Guide, Kent has hosted “Sports At Large,” a weekly commentary program airing on WYPR (88.1 FM) since 2002.