Michael Donoghue has always insisted you need a sense of humor in this world -- and today was one of those days.
Donoghue used that sense of humor when a statewide local radio station reported multiple times this morning that the longtime award-winning Vermont journalist was dead.
WDEV - AM & FM radio in Waterbury told listeners several times during its morning drive-time show that Donoghue was deceased.
WCAX-TV even called The Islander newspaper about 8 this morning to try to confirm Donoghue’s death because he’s been a part-time writer for us since his retirement from the Burlington Free Press in 2015. 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 was that it was Mike Donovan, a Vermont broadcasting legend in Central Vermont that had died.
WDEV announcer Dana Jewell did an on-air interview with Mike Donoghue shortly before 9 a.m. to re-assure 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 have 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 Mike assured them he would not let the Governor off so easy!
All kinds of things flash through your mind when you hear 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.”
Mike was even sent a video of Willie Nelson singing “Still Not Dead,” a song he wrote after Nelson had been reported dead in 2015. Don’t be surprised if you hear Mike humming the tune the next time you see him.