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Radio Host to Join Cronkite School as Ph.D. Student

May 16, 2013
Ian Punnett

National media personality and noted author Ian Punnett will join the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University this fall as a doctoral student.

Punnett will conduct research in mass communication while working toward a Ph.D.

Punnett is best-known as host of the highly popular nighttime radio talk show “Coast to Coast AM,” which he has hosted with Art Bell and George Noory since 1998. Specializing in unconventional and often taboo subjects, the program reaches a worldwide audience of about 10 million people via 600 station affiliates.

Previously, Punnett was widely known in Chicago and Atlanta as a talk-show host on WGN and WGST radio stations, respectively. In addition, he helped launch and then hosted and co-hosted myTalk107.1, the first radio station of its kind, an entertaining, spoken-word-format geared for women that focuses on pop culture, TV, movies and celebrity gossip.

Punnett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric and English Literature from the University of Illinois and a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is an ordained minister and recently published the widely discussed book “How to Pray When You're Pissed at God.” The book focuses on restoring mental and spiritual balance through the lost art of angry prayer and has an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of No. 1 in Devotionals, No. 4 in Prayer and No. 11 in Theology.

“As a student of professional communication, my main interest is in how messages are sent, how they are received and the creative elements of persuasion,” Punnett said. “When I tried my hand at religion news for both a local and national newscast, I couldn't crack the code that universalized the stories to a broader appeal. But if we look to medical news as reporting on healthy living ‘mind, body and soul,’ perhaps good ‘spiritual care’ stories are the missing pieces to what has been puzzling me and news directors all over the country.”

Punnett is one of five students Cronkite will welcome to its Ph.D. program this year. The program is designed for long-time media professionals who are interested in pursuing scholarship and research.

“We are elated that Ian Punnett will be coming to the Cronkite School to study and learn with our community of scholars,” said Craig Allen, director of the school’s Ph.D. program. “We are looking forward to what promise to be interesting, innovative and path-clearing contributions to teaching, research and scholarship.”