Professor Kenneth Nunn Explores Policy Questions and Concerns as Host of WUFT-TV’s ‘Law Matters’

Published: February 25th, 2008

Category: Feature, News

Kenneth NunnIt was nearly 10 years ago that Professor Kenneth Nunn appeared as a guest on “Law Matters,” a local program broadcasted by WUFT-TV, that eventually led to his interest in production and current role as host. But in truth, it was his college days at Stanford University where Nunn dabbled in communications and hosted his first gig as a radio host in 1979.

Nunn was a radio broadcaster for a weekly news and affairs show on KZSU, which aired Sunday mornings on the Stanford campus. Nunn says it was a great experience that allowed him to appreciate the importance of speaking in public.

Fast forward to the present—Nunn now finds himself using those skills learned nearly 30 years ago to present current legal issues to citizens of north central Florida on “Law Matters.” The TV program is taped once a month, excluding summers, and is run on the last Thursday of every month with additional viewing when time slots are available, Nunn said.

“We are mainly topic driven and try to run shows that are focused on current issues affecting those in the area,” Nunn said. “My role as the host is to be the traffic cop and make sure no one monopolizes their time on the air.”

With more than five years of legal practice and 17 years of teaching, Nunn’s experience brings true insight of legal issues to the show and allows him to understand the importance of shaping questions to highlight his panel of guests. Nunn’s expertise is in criminal law, criminal procedure and law and cultural issues related to race.

Nunn (pictured left, with fellow UF Law professors Michael Friel, center, and Martin McMahon, right) said he enjoys volunteering his time for this program because of the interaction with fellow colleagues, scholars and experts. He said the producers contacted him about hosting the show because they felt Nunn provided an “in” to an academic approach that could take the show in a new direction.

“Now, the show is focused more on policy questions and concerns more so than the nuts and bolts of a typical legal show,” Nunn said. “Bringing in different scholars allows broader concerns to be explored.” Nunn’s active involvement in the law school and on main campus coupled with his wife’s interest in film studies has set the foundation for Nunn’s success outside of law school.

Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn, Nunn’s wife, has been a strong influence in Nunn’s involvement and interest in serving and educating audiences through the media, Nunn said. She currently teaches “Blacks and Film” as an adjunct instructor in the African American Studies Program at UF, and she previously taught a similar class focusing on African American Women in film at the UF Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research.

They both have appeared on talk radio programs as commentators discussing race and community issues, and received a grant in 1999 to produce radio spots aired locally in Gainesville that addressed the history of African Americans. Hilliard-Nunn focuses a large portion of her time studying film (independent and mainstream) and the history of African Americans in Florida. At the same time, she runs her own film production company in Gainesville. She currently serves as the president elect of the WUFT-TV Board of Directors.

Whether filming in the studio, broadcasting over the radio or teaching in his fields of scholarship, there is no question that his areas of expertise overlap in ways that have not only created a bond with his wife, but helped to propel Nunn’s undergraduate hobby into a popular TV program broadcasted to nine counties.