Then: In 1996, CityBeat polled Cincinnatians and readers and asked them to choose "Who Must Go." The poll involved 1,200 randomly selected households, with about 10 percent of them returning their surveys. Felix Winternitz reported that "our polling sample despises extremists at either end of the political spectrum. Weathermen with loud ties. Loudmouth politicos. Abrasive team owners. And the media. Lord, they hate the media." And at the top of a list that included Peter Bronson, Marge Schott, Ken Broo and Jack Atherton sat WLW talk show host Bill Cunningham. CityBeat ran a picture of Cunningham, true to form, giving readers a one-fingered salute. (Issue of March 7, 1996)
Now: For better or for worse, Cunningham's still around. When contacted in the studio (since he refused to return any phone calls on his own time), he admitted that he "vaguely" remembered the article and "vaguely" remembered the photo. And he doesn't think much of CityBeat readers.
"I'm loved by thousands," Cunningham states, "and despised by a few hundred." To prove his point, he cites winning the 2001 NAB Marconi Award and says that he's "loved throughout the Midwest."
Cunningham also sees it as a mark of his popularity that he's regularly approached by fans seeking autographs — many of them are women asking him to autograph certain parts of their anatomy. He's planning on sticking around until at least 2010 and says that "if life got any better, I'd have to be two people."
As for the those non-autograph seekers, Cunningham doesn't mince words. "The readers of CityBeat do not represent the population of Greater Cincinnati," he states broadly. "Most of your readers can go to hell."
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