Jai Cunningham is leaving KHON2 after nearly 26 years with the television station.
“It’s just a different business,” Cunningham, 49, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “And, so, it just made sense for me (that) maybe it’s time to move on, for my family’s sake and for me.”
Cunningham said he will be joining the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) in the public outreach department of the business division. He will be involved with businesses along the route as the rail’s construction advances from the Salt Lake area.
Cunningham was hired as a sports reporter in 1992, the third member of a department featuring sports director/anchor Bob Hogue and weekend anchor Ron Mizutani. In 2002, he moved to the news side, where he has served as a reporter, anchor and morning-show host. The past six years, Cunningham provided live news reports from across the state for Wake Up 2Day.
“Part of the move is I don’t have to wake up at 1:45 (in the morning) to be in at 3,” Cunningham mused. “That can get hard on the family, and just hard on a person.”
Cunningham is married, and the couple has two daughters.
Cunningham, who was born in Alabama, moved to Honolulu in 1986, when he was 17. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii, he worked as a sports intern under sportscaster Les “The General” Keiter.
“I got to write stuff that Les Keiter voiced,” Cunningham said. “There’s not a lot of people who start out in the business — and have been doing it for a month or two — and have a chance to work with someone who’s legendary. He was one of the legendary broadcasters ever. … That was one of the great memories.”