Michael Donoghue has always insisted you need a sense of humor in this world – and Wednesday, July 29, was one of those days.
Donoghue used that sense of humor when a statewide local radio station reported multiple times that morning that the longtime award-winning Vermont journalist was dead.
WDEV radio station in Waterbury told listeners several times during its morning drive-time show that Donoghue was deceased.
Television station WCAX called The Islander newspaper, for whom Donoghue writes, to confirm the man’s death. It was news to Publisher Tonya Poutry. She called Donoghue, but when nobody answered she began to wonder.
A call back a minute later from Donoghue stopped the doubt in her mind.
WDEV General Manager Steve Cormier called Donoghue and after assuring him he was alive, they had a few laughs.
The confusion: Mike Donovan, a Vermont broadcasting legend in Central Vermont that had died.
WDEV announcer Dana Jewell did an on-air interview with Donoghue shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday to reassure Vermonters that “the Bulldog” will still be chasing news – and to offer condolences to Mike Donovan’s family.
The calls, texts and emails to Donoghue and The Islander continued to come in throughout the day. Friends, colleagues, readers, a former Olympic skier all checking in. Even Governor Phil Scott’s Office reached out, but Donoghue assured them he would not let the governor off so easy!
All kinds of things flash through one’s mind hearing such a report. Obviously the well-known quote by author Mark Twain in London after his obituary was printed prematurely in the U.S.: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Donoghue was even sent a video of Willie Nelson singing “Still Not Dead,” a song Nelson wrote after he had been reported dead in 2015.
Don’t be surprised if you hear Donoghue humming the tune the next time you see him.