Fred Cunningham is the morning and noon news anchor at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg/Greenville, South Carolina. Before moving to the news desk in 2002, Fred spent 15 years as the station’s weekend sports anchor. He was born in Indianapolis and is married with a 12-year-old daughter.
Fred is an award-winner (two-time winner of the Associated Press Best Sportscast award in South Carolina), a pageant man (he has hosted the Miss South Carolina Pageant) and he still dabbles in sports, serving as play-by-play voice of Clemson University football TV replays.
Like any good 21st century news anchor, Fred keeps busy with social media on the set and off. Between tweets, I was able to ask him…
SW: What is the most challenging part of your job?
FC: Multi-tasking on the desk can be an adventure. When you have breaking news you’re trying to get on the air – while you also want to get the word out on Twitter and Facebook – it gets crazy. We often do this while our co-anchor is reading a story. It’s kind of humorous when you stop vital social networking because you have to read a story on camera.
SW: How important is social media to what you do on a daily basis?
FC: Social media is VITAL. Viewers are the eyes and ears out there for us. They can tell us what they’re seeing and also let us know there’s more to a story we’re reporting. They’re much faster to respond on Twitter or Facebook then sending you an email. The interaction is terrific.
SW: What is your most memorable or embarrassing moment? (Maybe it’s the same one)
FC: Old school live TV news from the 1980s. I walked through a camera shot of a weather map – the old-style magnets on the board – so the middle of my body showed up being our weather guy. He called me out on set to “scold” me. It made for some entertaining TV, but you be the judge:
SW: What are the best and worst things a viewer has ever said to you?
FC: Best: I often hear how funny I am on TV or how I make them laugh in the morning. That’s a nice way to start their mornings. Worst: A cashier at my grocery store – who has been there for years – decided to tell me how much he hates local news. He even asked the kid bagging the groceries if he hated TV news too. The “nicest” thing he said was, “that’ll be $103.67.”
SW: What is one thing people would be stunned to learn about you?
FC: I shot a scene with Will Ferrell for “Talladega Nights.” I’m in the trailer, but got cut out of the movie. And I can name all the U.S. Presidents in order.