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Sean Hannity (born December 30, 1961) is an American radio and television host, author, and conservative political commentator. His nationally syndicated radio program, The Sean Hannity Show, airs throughout the United States on Citadel Media. Hannity also hosts two television shows on Fox News Channel: Hannity, which replaced the political debate program Hannity & Colmes, and the weekend show Hannity's America. Hannity has also written two New York Times bestselling books, Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism and Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism.

Early life

Hannity is the son of Hugh J. and Lillian F. Hannity. Both his paternal and maternal grandparents emigrated from Irelandmarker. He has two sisters, Joanne S. Hannity and Therese (Hannity) Grisham. He grew up in Franklin Square, New Yorkmarker. During the late 1980s, Hannity was a general contractor in Santa Barbara, Californiamarker and also a bartender. He married Jill Rhodes, a columnist for The Huntsville Times, on January 9, 1993. They have two children.

Education

Hannity graduated in 1980 from St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary high school, located in Uniondale, New Yorkmarker. Hannity dropped out of New York Universitymarker and Adelphi Universitymarker.

Professional life

Hannity hosted his first talk radio show in 1989 at the volunteer college station at UC Santa Barbara, KCSB-FMmarker, while working as a general contractor. The show aired for 40 hours of air time; Regarding his first show, Hannity has said, "I wasn't good at it. I was terrible." Hannity's weekly show on KCSB was canceled after less than a year by station managers upset with his remarks about gays and lesbians. This was after two shows featuring the book The AIDS Coverup: The Real and Alarming Facts about AIDS by Gene Antonio; among other remarks, Hannity told a lesbian caller "I feel sorry for your child". The station later reversed its decision to dismiss Hannity due in part to a campaign conducted by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Hannity decided against returning to KCSB.

After leaving KCSB, Hannity placed an ad in radio publications presenting himself as "the most talked about college radio host in America." Radio station WVNNmarker in Athens, Alabamamarker (part of the Huntsvillemarker market) then hired him to be the afternoon talk show host. From Huntsville, he moved to WGSTmarker in Atlantamarker in 1992, filling the slot vacated by Neal Boortz, who had moved to competing station WSBmarker. In September 1996 Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes hired the then relatively unknown Hannity to host a television program under the working title Hannity and LTBD ("liberal to be determined").http://web.archive.org/web/20061109203543/http://www.alan.com/staff/alan.htm Alan Colmes was then hired to co-host and the show debuted as Hannity & Colmes.

Later that year Hannity left WGST for New York, where WABC had him substitute for their afternoon drive time host during Christmas week. In January 1997, WABC put Hannity on the air full-time, giving him the late night time slot. WABC then moved Hannity to the same drive time slot he had filled temporarily a little more than a year earlier. Hannity has been on WABC's afternoon time slot since January 1998.

Since 2003, Hannity has hosted country music-themed "Freedom Concerts" billed to help benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, a charity created by Oliver North to provide college scholarships to children with a parent severely disabled or killed in military action. Artists such as Charlie Daniels, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Hank Williams, Jr. have headlined at Hannity's concerts.

Conservative Cal Thomas and liberal Bob Beckel, in their book Common Ground, describe Hannity as a leader of the pack among broadcasting political polarizers, which following James Q. Wilson they define as those who have "an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group definitively apart from people in another, rival group."

Television

Hannity was a co-host of Hannity & Colmes, an American political "point-counterpoint"-style television program on the Fox News Channel featuring Hannity and Alan Colmes as co-hosts. Hannity presented the conservative point of view with Colmes providing the liberal viewpoint, although critics such as Media Matters for America and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting frequently accused the show of favoring Hannity's views and those of conservative guests over more liberal opposition.

Hannity had on air clashes with show guests such as Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer of Human Life International, who challenged Hannity on his public dissent from the Catholic Church on the issue of contraception. Hannity stated that if the Catholic Church were to excommunicate him over the issue, he would join Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Churchmarker.

In January 2007, Hannity began a new Sunday night television show on Fox News, Hannity's America.

In November 2008, Colmes announced his departure from Hannity & Colmes. After the show's final broadcast on January 9, 2009, Hannity took over the time slot with his own new show, Hannity, which has a format similar to Hannity's America.

Radio

Hannity's radio program is a conservative political talk show that features Hannity's opinions and ideology related to current issues and politicians. The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001 on over 500 stations nationwide. As of spring 2008, the program is heard by over 13.25 million listeners a week. In 2004, Hannity signed a $25 million five-year contract extension with ABC Radio (now Citadel Media) to continue the show through 2009. The program was made available via Armed Forces Radio Network in 2006. In June 2007, ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Communications.

In January 2007, Clear Channel Communications signed a groupwide three-year extension with Hannity on over 80 stations. The largest stations in the group deal included KTRH Houstonmarker, KFYImarker Phoenixmarker, WPGB Pittsburghmarker, WKRC Cincinnatimarker, WOOD Grand Rapidsmarker, WFLA Tampamarker, WOAImarker San Antoniomarker, WLAC Nashvillemarker, and WRECmarker Memphismarker.

The opening theme music for the Sean Hannity Show is "Independence Day" by Martina McBride followed by "O Fortuna" (from Carmina Burana) by Carl Orff, followed by "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range.

Books

Hannity is the author of two books, Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Ideas in Politics, Media, and Life and Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism published through ReganBooks. Both books reached the nonfiction New York Times bestseller list, the second of which stayed there for five weeks. Hannity has stated that he is too busy to read many books, and dictated a lot of his own two books into a tape recorder while driving in to do his radio show.

Awards and honors

  • Hannity received a Marconi Award in 2003 and 2007 as the Network Syndicated Personality of the Year from the National Association of Broadcasters.
  • In 2009, Talkers Magazine listed Hannity as #2 on their list of the 100 most important radio talk show hosts in America. The same magazine gave Hannity their Freedom of Speech Award in 2003.
  • In 2005, Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty Universitymarker, awarded Hannity an honorary degree.
  • Radio and Records magazine has honored Hannity with the National Talk Show Host of the Year Award for three consecutive years.


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