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Jim Donovan (born July 17, 1956, in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American radio and television personality who serves as sports director and news anchor for WKYC channel 3 (NBC) in Cleveland, Ohio. He has been the radio voice of the Cleveland Browns since 1999, was the TV voice of the Cleveland Indians (for games broadcast on Channel 3) from 2006 – 2008.
A native of Boston and a 1978 graduate of Boston University, Donovan began his career as a sports director for WJON radio in St. Cloud, Minnesota. From Minnesota, he moved to Vermont, providing play-by-play basketball and hockey coverage for the Satellite News Channel in Burlington, Vermont. He also did play-by-play and sports anchoring at WVMT radio and WEZF-TV.
He also served for one season as play-by-play announcer for the Vermont Reds, a Cincinnati Reds minor league baseball team (which coincidentally is now the Akron Aeros, a Cleveland Indians minor league team).
WKYC and SportsTime Ohio
Following the death of WKYC weeknight sports anchor Jim Graner in 1976, the Channel 3 sports director job became something of a "revolving door," as at least six replacements came and went over the next decade – this was until Donovan, who had joined the station in 1985 as weekend sports anchor, finally took over in 1986. He has held the post ever since.
In 2006, channel 3 and SportsTime Ohio (STO) acquired the local TV rights to the Cleveland Browns. So in addition to his duties on WKYC, Donovan also hosts several Browns themed programs on STO, such as The Berea Report (Berea being the home of the Browns practice facility), Browns Red Zone, and Sunday Strategy.
On the national level Donovan had called play-by-play for NBC Sports' NFL coverage from 1987 to 1997. He also handled swimming and soccer in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics for NBC, and World Cup Soccer in 1994.
After WKYC acquired the local, over-the-air television rights to the Cleveland Indians, Donovan served as play-by-play announcer from 2006–2008.
On May 25, 2011 during the 11 pm newscast, Donovan announced he had been battling leukemia for the last ten years, and that he would be taking a leave of absence to undergo a (what would be a successful) bone marrow transplant.
On September 11, 2011, Donovan returned to the Browns broadcasting booth in time for their opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. The next night, he returned to the sports anchor chair at WKYC, as well as his hosting duties on STO.
On January 16, 2012, Donovan expanded his duties at WKYC as he became the co-anchor of channel 3's 7 pm newscast alongside longtime Cleveland news personality Robin Swoboda. He continues doing the sports at 6 and 11 pm
Donovan, his wife (Cheryl), and daughter (Meghan) live in Hinckley, Ohio.
Accomplishments and awards
Donovan is a three-time Emmy Award winner.
In 1995, Donovan won a local Emmy award for Best Sportscaster. In 1992, he received an Emmy for "Browns '92; The Next Step," and in 1990, for his report on Bob Golic's farewell to the Cleveland Browns. In 1988, he was named all-Ohio Best Sportscaster by the Cleveland Press Club.
In 2009 he was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland’s Journalism Hall of Fame.
- Feran, Tom; Heldenfels, R.D. (1999). Cleveland TV Memories. Cleveland, Ohio: Gray & Co. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-886228-32-0.
- Kelley, Kevin (December 2, 2009). "Seven journalists inducted into Press Club Hall of Fame". West Life. Cleveland, Ohio. http://www.westlifenews.com/2009/12-02/presshof.html. Retrieved July 27, 2010.