Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts with Jim Donovan today, and memories of my tv childhood

Courtesy Canton Repository/Stan Meyers
Jim Donovan's surprising announcement yesterday that he will be leaving WKYC Channel 3 for an extended time has left many Cleveland sports fans in shock.  He apparently has been battling leukemia for over ten years now, and will be taking the next few months to undergo the very difficult process of a bone marrow transplant.

I was raised on NBC news--my dad favored Tom Brokaw, and so I did too.  And so that meant Channel 3 News as well.  My main news interest, however, centered around sports, and I spent my time flipping between Jim Donovan, Casey Coleman, and Nev Chandler to see the same (often tortuous) sports news, night after night.  And like many Clevelanders, I felt a great kinship with them.  And not just them, but Chuck Galeti, Bob Stevens (I was legitimately excited when he got that job on some network called ESPN2), Gib Shanley, and more.

Nev's voice will never be forgotten
When Nev Chandler died, a little bit of my childhood died with him.  His voice will always be the Cleveland Browns to me, like Joe Tait is for the Cavs and Tom Hamilton is for the Indians.  Sundays were often spent with the television volume turned down, and the radio turned up.  As I cut out the Plain Dealer's Browns posters from the Sunday paper, I listened to Nev set up the game to come.  When the Browns returned in 1999, Jim Donovan had the unenviable task to have to fill a legend's shoes, and he did his best.  It took a while for me to warm up to Jimmy Donovan's exciteable calls, but he's now cemented himself as the new Voice of the Browns.

[Note: the column originally mistakenly omitted the fact that Casey Coleman was the original successor to Nev Chandler after his passing, as the Browns' play-by-play announcer]

Jim's goal, which I think can be extrapolated for every Clevelander for 2011: come back, healthier than I am right now, and by the time I come back, the Indians hopefully will be back in the playoffs, we'll be watching the Browns play football, and I'll be calling the games, and the Cavaliers will be all rebuilt, and it will be all better."
To echo Ramona Robinson, "hear hear"!

Good luck Jimmy, we'll miss you and hope to see you (and hear you) soon!

You can send Jim Donovan get well wishes at

His video statement after the break.