Two Bombshells

There have been two major pieces of news from the world of Northeast Ohio media in the past day.

And as big as the news from Cleveland radio was, news from the television side was even more amazing…

MEDICAL LEAVE: For nearly 11 years, WKYC/3 sports director Jim Donovan has had a secret few people outside 13th and Lakeside knew about…but now, everyone knows.

Donovan has been quietly battling leukemia.

And “everyone knows” now because at the end of his sports segment on Wednesday’s 11 PM news (we happened to be watching), Donovan talked about his medical condition, and told viewers he would be taking an extended medical leave to mount a new treatment – a bone marrow transplant.

WKYC weekend sports anchor Dave Chudowsky will be filling in during weekdays, and veteran local sports anchor Chuck Galeti – already in the building at 13th and Lakeside as host of SportsTime Ohio’s “Chuck’s Last Call” – will handle Chudowsky’s weekend shifts.

Our blogging colleague Frank Macek at WKYC has more details here, including video from Jim’s segment last night.

The item quotes WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky, who notes that normally, the station doesn’t talk about personnel matters, but that this is “a unique situation”:

“He has been battling leukemia for over ten years, and in partnership with his medical team has undergone multiple treatments. Jimmy is a very private person, and has managed to keep his incredibly hectic schedule and job without most of our staff and viewers realizing the physical and mental effort involved. But now, it’s time for him to try and beat this disease once and for all.”

When does Donovan hope to return?

From his segment:

“Here’s my goal: is to come back, healthier than I am now. And by the time I come back, the Indians hopefully will be 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’ll be all better.”

Speaking of Jim Donovan’s role as the radio voice of the Cleveland Browns, we don’t know yet who could fill in for him – assuming the NFL gets its act together and there are actually games early this fall.

Generally, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder has done Browns Radio play by play when Donovan slides over to the TV side to do preseason games on WKYC.

But for now, we don’t know if Snyder will be the 2011-2012 replacement for retired Cavaliers Radio play-by-play voice Joe Tait…Snyder and former Cavaliers star Jim Chones handled fill-in for Tait until his return near the end of the season.

And for that matter, the NBA season is apparently up in the air, too, due to that league’s own labor issues.

No matter, any of this. The important thing for Jim Donovan is to concentrate on his treatment, to get better, and to return when he’s healthy enough to do so…

ON THE RADIO SIDE: Word spread quickly that a former mainstay at the Clear Channel complex on Oak Tree was returning to the building, and in a big way.

Long-time local radio morning team “Brian and Joe” was blown out of then-hot AC WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5” due to deep Clear Channel budget cuts. (106.5, of course, is now variety hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake”.)

But Brian Fowler, after some fill-in work (including at talk WTAM/1100 in the same building) while holding down a regular job at an advertising agency, takes center stage on yet another Clear Channel station.

We’ll quote directly from a memo by Clear Channel Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams, which floated from Oak Tree all the way to the front lawn of the OMW World Headquarters:

“Brian Fowler will be joining the WGAR morning show to partner with LeeAnn Sommers. Many of you know Brian from his years in the market and with the company as part of the Brian and Joe Show. His morning show history in the market, being a hometown boy and…most importantly…his many talents will be a great addition to the WGAR team. The transition should be rather seamless as he and Leeann worked together for 10 years on the MIX staff and know each other well.”

Tim Leary, who had the unenviable task of directly replacing WGAR fixture Jim Mantel (now in North Carolina), is “no longer with the company”, according to word out of Oak Tree.

This is quite a return for Brian Fowler, who is wasting no time in joining the “WGAR Morning Show with Brian and LeeAnn”…he’ll be on the air the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday, May 31st.

And no, long-time co-host Joe Cronauer is not coming along for the ride.

He’s actually quite busy, as he’s officially now a daily co-host of WKYC/3’s late morning show “Good Company”. And don’t let the Rotating Joe on his “Good Company” bio make you too dizzy…


One Response to Two Bombshells

  1. Joe says:

    Whiplash Radio, owners of 1540 The Farm WYCL announces the end of 1540 The Farm. The station has been leased to Boardman resident Philip Cato. Phil will be introducing a new live and local talk format for the Mahoning Valley starting on Monday, June 6th at 6 AM. Thank you to everyone for listening, and to Burton Lee for all of his help!

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