Kevin Doran was born on December 27, 1937. He began working at WLEA in the mid 1950’s. He bought the radio station in 1970. He later sold it to Chicago businessman Herb Channick (one of Kevin’s favorite people and his favorite employer of his entire life, as well as a good friend.) Channick later sold the radio stations back to Kevin, in the early 1990s.
Probably his greatest journalist influence was the late Lou Buisch, the former publisher of the Hornell Evening Tribune. When training reporters at WLEA, Doran constantly quoted media lessons he learned from Buisch. Doran worked for several years in the 1960’s for Buisch, as a reporter and essayist (Kevin’s Corner was the name of his op-ed’s.)
Kevin was a student and teacher of history, and loved politics. His on-air presence was described by Hornell Deputy Mayor John Buckley, in a way that was very well put. “Outspoken, highly opinionated and always well informed, Mr. Doran was a powerhouse on the radio. But more than that, he was someone who loved his community and was a wonderful person on and off the air.as “a powerhouse on the radio who cared about the community.”
Mayor Shawn Hogan recalled how Doran worked tirelessly during the Flood of 1972. “Kevin took a lead role and was even recognized by the broadcast industry and even the then-Mayor Andy Mazella gave him City-Proclamation for his service to the community in the Flood of 1972, and Kevin kept the community up to date on what was going on,” Hogan told WLEA News.
Wlea Radio Special: WLEA REMEMBERS THE FLOOD OF 72
AUDIO: From June 1972, Kevin Doran on the phone with Hornell Mayor Andy Mazella about “Agnes” the 1972 Flood
From June 1972, Kevin talks with Wlea reporter Dick Gold
From June 23, 1972, Kevin and employees talk about Hornell and Canisteo, during the Flood.
AUDIO: From The Summer of 1988, Kevin doing play by play of a NYC vs Hoboken Babe Ruth tournament game, from Maple City Park:
AUDIO: Doran also had great respect for longtime Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan, and paid tribute to Hogan on a WLEA editorial, and Doran praised Hogan for working tirelessly to prevent massive layoffs at the local hospital, in the summer of 2015.
This is a fun segment: Kevin’s guest pulls a no-show, and Gary Gray and Kevin talk for about 15 minutes.
From June 12, 1989 AUDIO:
Kevin Doran Interviews Vietnam Veteran’s Wife About How Her Husband Was A POW-MIA
AUDIO: Kevin Doran Interview With Newsweek Magazine Editor, Arnaud deBorchgrave, October 21, 1983. Rebroadcast December 26, 2017.
AUDIO: Kevin Doran and Dr. Savo Jevremovic, October 27, 1983, Topic: American Medical Students Returning From Grenada, also interview with Sam Giancana, About the book “Doublecross” (April 1992)
AUDIO: Kevin Doran interview with Dr. Savo Jevremovic (June 1, 1984) and Russian immigrant Edward Lozansky (1980’s, no exact date.) Rebroadcast on December 27, 2017.
AUDIO: Kevin Doran interview with Gene Burns (April 12, 1983)
WLEA Throughout The Decades (A collage of announcers, from the 1970’s through the early 2000’s. Kevin and his announcing staff had voice quality that could easily follow an ABC Radio Newscast.)
AUDIO: A half an hour worth of news from throughout the decades.
AUDIO: Over 20 minutes of Radio Commercials Heard on Wlea, from the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s:
WLEA Remembers The Flood of 72, a 22 Minute Documentary About The Flood
AUDIO: From October 1978, Kevin Doran Takes Calls About A Possible Merger of St James and Bethesda Hospitals
AUDIO: June 23, 1989, SUNY Buffalo Professor Talks About Knowing Tiananmen Square Shooting Victims, January 9, 1991, Malachi Martin: Predicting the Results of The Iraq War and Predicting The Fall Of Communism
AUDIO: July 23, 1987, Kevin talks with Roseanne Class, a NYC Writer, About The Russian Invasion of Afghanistan
October 2, 1985 – Kevin interviews St Ann’s School principal, Sister Dolores Ann Stein
January 23, 1996 – On this Newsmaker Show, Kevin interviews Alfred University President Ed Coll. Both agree and predict that President Bill Clinton will win re-election.
Dr. Gary Ostrower wrote the following:
“You dad had become an institution in Hornell and the area generally. He and I disagreed on many issues, but disagreement paradoxically often generates respect, and I had the greatest respect for him: for his integrity, his principles, his commitment to our area, and to his faith.”
“Quite a life in local radio,” noted State Senator Tom O’Mara.
Assemblyman Bill Nojay:
“He was a great man, a giant, and an original.”
Dr. Christian Kopff:
“He was a good friend and it was a real joy and honor to talk with him. By allowing talk radio, he really was a patriot in a way that made upstate New York a better place, a more interesting place, and a more informed place. He was a great friend and a great human being and a real patriot.”
Alfred University Political Science Professor Dr. Robert Heineman said that he was interviewed by Doran for over three decades. “The man was a tremendous resource to the Canisteo Valley,” Heineman said.
The photos and audio below demonstrate Kevin’s remarkable radio talent.
Kevin died on October 21, 2015 of Chronic Lukemia.
HIGH SCHOOL PHOTO FROM 1955
KEVIN IN THE STUDIO, APPROXIMATELY 2013
7 MINUTE NEWS TRIBUTE TO KEVIN AND HIS RADIO WORK:
NEWSMAKER SHOW, THE DAY AFTER KEVIN’S DEATH:
MAYOR SHAWN HOGAN’S 18 MINUTE INTERVIEW TRIBUTE TO KEVIN:
CONGRESSMAN TOM REED PUT KEVIN INTO THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, SHORTLY AFTER KEVIN’S DEATH:
TRIBUTE BY CANISTEO NATIVE AND ROCHESTER ANNOUNCER BOB LONSBERRY:
I only met Kevin Doran once.
I drove down from the newspaper in Rochester, past Dansville and Arkport, through Hornell, and turned right just beyond South Hornell to take the narrow road up Ashbaugh Hill.
The radio station, as I recall it, was a simple building, as they usually are in small markets.
I came nervously into his office, with the picture of the pope behind the desk.
I was meeting a giant, and I felt inadequate.
Kevin Doran was my hero, and the most important influence on my professional life. Far more significantly, he was the voice and conscience of a region. A radio friend to the country people in the hills and valleys all around.
And while I say I only met him once, I had known him for years, the way anybody with a radio did, and I stood in awe of him.
That was true 20 years ago when I drove up Ashbaugh Hill, and it is true today, as Hornell mourns his death.
Kevin Patrick Doran passed away on Wednesday. He was 77 and had been sick a long time.
I wonder who will read his obituary on the air.
For a generation and more, you didn’t get born or buried in Hornell without Kevin Doran reading your name on the radio. It was the way people kept up, pausing in what they were doing to lean closer to the radio and hear the good news or bad, the comings and goings of mortality.
His was a deep and authoritative voice. A no-nonsense voice that sounded big and commanding, yet not practiced or fake. He had pipes.
He also had a heart and a mind and a backbone and a soul, and he used them all with regularity and vigor. He believed in God, America and his duty to his fellow man, and you didn’t have to listen very long to be convinced of that. He wasn’t a man who lived in a shades-of-gray world. He believed in right and wrong and he was dead certain where the dividing line was drawn. That was just as true of the political as it was of the divine.
And you got that over the air.
Kevin Doran would tell you exactly what he thought about America and exactly what he thought about God. He wasn’t afraid to tell you who he voted for or what he prayed about or who he thought you should vote for or what he thought you should pray about.
But he wasn’t obnoxious or belligerent. Ultimately, he loved and was loved.
He struggled, he had a thorn in his flesh, like the Apostle Paul. But he pushed on and he pushed through and his legacy is one of service.
And nothing exemplifies that more than three days in June of 1972.
A hurricane came up the East Coast and parked over New York and Pennsylvania and no one after that would ever forget the name Agnes. The skies opened and the creeks rose and lives were washed away. There were picnic tables on electric wires, holes where there once had been homes, and people huddling behind the dikes waiting for it to end.
Kevin hadn’t owned the stations very long then. He was a prominent Hornell boy, but an uncertain quantity on the air, and most folks hadn’t taken his measure.
Through three days of hell they learned he was a giant.
And a watchful, protective friend.
For three days, day and night, Kevin Doran stayed on the air. Through the storm and the flood, as there were fears of collapsed bridges and flooded towns, as word came of loss and death, when people needed to know where to get drinking water or a fire truck ride to St. James, it was Kevin Doran who told them, and encouraged them, and inspired him.
He was the lone means of public communication. A literal voice in the dark for marooned families clustered around transistor radios. He relayed messages from the authorities, he relayed messages between relatives, he relayed hope and faith.
And he made his place in a region’s heart.
After that, Kevin Doran was somebody.
Somebody loved, respected and admired.
It’s hard to run a small business, and the world isn’t kind to rural radio stations. But he sold the ads and reported the news and interviewed the bigwigs. He teased and kidded, blustered and pontificated, ranted and raved. He poured out his Irish Catholic heart.
For 40 years he was Hornell. A part of its fiber and soul, the soundtrack to a place and its people.
And now he has taken that voice to heaven.
– by Bob Lonsberry © 2015
COMMENTS POSTED ON THE HORNELL PARTNERS FOR GROWTH PAGES:
Lyndsey Cameron Miller: I’m so sad to hear this. He was my dad’s boss for a long time, he was so good to my dad and my family when my dad got a tough diagnosis of his own. Kevin was sick himself and was more worried about my dad. Rest in peace, Mr. Doran.
Kevin White: Very very sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayers are deeply immersed for such a giving pioneer in his industry but more importantly to his humility and giving so much to the entire region. I respected Kevin at the top of professional broadcasters and owners of broadcast media. He was the canisteo valleys real media “Good Guy”! Agree or disagree he directed something to talk about and that is what he did very well and out performed many and often. In many meetings swapping ideas with Kevin, I knew one thing….he cared about where we lived! God bless Kevin and “Rest in peace Kevin Doran”
Tina Mackenzie: My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family !! I had the pleasure to meet and work with Kevin and his family!! R.I.P. Kevin
Sarah Horton: So very sad. Kevin was a great man. Loved listening to him on the radio and at my work.
Patty Carlin: So very sorry to hear this! Kevin was room mates with my Step dad Howard McKibben a few years ago for rehabilitation and they became very good friends! Prayers to his family during this difficult time!
Cynthia Knapp Berry: Condolences and prayers to the family of Kevin. He will be missed by many.
Margaret Huerter: So sorry to hear the news about Kevin Doran. Prayers for him and his family!
Chris Cahill: I was an intern through Keuka College w/ Kevin & Brian, Kevin was my first supervisor as I had to do internships every year, I have many fond memories of him through mentions on the radio and also through email conversations where he promised to give high marks for my school’s evaluation. He was a great guy and also a wonderful busin ssman, not only that, but he was amazing on the radio and he will be missed, thoughts & prayers w/ the Doran family & the WLEA staff too.
John Bartell: Condolences to the family. Rest in Peace Kevin. You will be missed
Mary Dagon Clark: Definitely one of Hornell’s finest!! RIP Kevin Doran…you will be missed!!
Barbara Brown: Sorry! To hear of Kevin Doran’s passing!
Brenda Hurlburt: He will be greatly missed. He has touched so many lives. He was a very smart man and had so much knowledge.
Pauline Piccirillo: Joe and I are sorry to hear of Kevin’s passing. Our condolences to his family.
Riley JS: Really good man! I worked at WWHG a few years ago and he was news director at that time!
Kim Fisk My condolences to the family. I remember during the flood of ’72 he was broadcasting when the radio station was on Main St. I went with my dad to pick him up and give him a ride home for some reason. Memory is sketchy but I do remember going to pick him up with my dad as they were friends. He apparently didn’t have his car in town.
Jess Howard: Very nice man. Thought and prayers to his family.
Tracy Phillips: Very nice man, my thoughts and prayers to him, and his family.
Theresa Ludden: So very sorry to hear this news, he will be missed. Prayers to his family!
Roberta Gonzalez: Condolences to the family. R.I.P. Kevin Doran..
Julie Harrick Mooney: So very sorry to hear this. Keeping the Doran family in my thoughts and prayers.
Becki Quick: Oml I am so sorry for this so sad
Patricia Dean- Stiles: So very sad. My thoughts and prayers for the family.
Jolene D. Meehan: Prayers to the Doran family….He will be greatly missed….
Maryk C Dwyer: Was a great mentor ..loved his Newsmakers Shows
Katelyn Terwilliger: Rest easy Kevin you will be missed blessed to have you as my neighbor
Mark Elwell: What a Great asset to the Hornell Area. Loved his Country with all his heart. He will be Missed!
Shirley M Thompson: Sorry to hear this. His voice and personality are a Hornell memory for sure. Prayers for the family and friends.
Calvin Milliner Jr.: Rest in peace “Mr.Doran”. I remember back in 1963 when you were my homeroom teacher. You were a presence then and continued to be a presence in the Hornell area. You will be remembered for your greatness and your inspiration to those that had the pleasure of knowing you. Rest in peace Mr. Doran.
Dick Mattie: One of my favorite teachers. I’ll never forget working with him at WLEA during the flood of 1972. He worked 24/7 for days! A great man. May God bless him and the Doran family.
Pam Koskie Forshee: so sorry to hear this, he was a great man!
Cheryl Hurne: so sorry to hear this he was a very kind n caring man rip my friend
Cindy Schultheis: Sorry for your loss.
Stephanie Crosby” So sorry to hear this news. Rest in peace Mr. Doran.
Ann Battersby Vetter: Deepest sympathies to the Doran family.
Kristen Caruso Klabin: SO sad!!!
Lynne Freeland: Sympathies to the Doran family. Never had the opportunity to have him as a teacher. Always felt I missed out.
Ralph J. Kalberloh: Mr Doran was a real inspiration. I am sure he will be missed by all.
COMMENTS POSTED ON THE DAGON FUNERAL HOME WEBSITE:
Jennifer Hickey says:
October 21, 2015 at 11:25 pm
I am deeply sorry for your loss. I feel blessed and privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time with your husband/father/grandfather during my Franciscan University days. Both he and Mary Margaret treated me like family since mine was so far away. Every time they came to see Maura they took me under their wing and fed me and made me smile and laugh. His beautiful humor is one of my fondest memories. You were so blessed to have such a great man as a model of faith and family.
Our prayers of consolation are with you.
Jen (McInnis) Hickey
Anne Graham says:
October 22, 2015 at 8:11 am
From your Irish family…Those we Love don’t go away,they walk beside us every day,Unseen,unheard,but always near,Still Loved,still missed and very dear.”Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,Love leaves a memory no one can steal”
Megan Bishop says:
October 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm
My friend is gone and I am sad.
Steve Saxton says:
October 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Kevin was a friend, a long time friend.
One summer in the mid-60s, a year or so before I graduated from high school, I took a summer school class on American history and a teacher named Mr. McShane was teaching. Mr. McShane told us that we would be easily fooled by communist propaganda and of course we all disagreed. So on a cigarette break between sessions, Mr. McShane had Kevin Dorn come in and take over our class for a brief while. Kevin got the discussion going by feeding us straight communist propaganda mixed with some half-truths about all of our former presidents being very wealthy. I raised a brief question about Abraham Lincoln, but he cast it aside and I didn’t pursue it. Mr. McShane had set us up and Kevin finished the deal. A little while later they both had a great laugh in our classroom as they told us we had been indoctrinated and bought the whole thing hook line and sinker. There were a lot of embarrassed faces in that class that day.
During that same summer, Kevin called me up one day and asked me if I wanted to go for a plane ride. Well, I had never flown before so I said what the heck let’s do it. It wasn’t until sometime years later that Kevin told me he wasn’t actually a certified pilot when we all went up that day, but was still taking lessons.
Whenever I would see Kevin and we would reminisce about the past, he always brought up that I was the only one who had caught him indoctrinating us with communist propaganda in that summer school class way back when. I would always say I had been fooled as well and he would graciously insist that I was the only one who hadn’t been. Kevin had a real knack for building your ego.
I also remember the day that I called Kevin at the radio station informing him that a very famous conservative, political commentator who had a show on another local radio station was not going to be carried by that local station anymore. I asked him if he would bring that show on board as one of his shows. Kevin did and that show is still on his station to this day.
One of my favorite memories of Kevin was when he would be on his show doing his political commentary with Dr. Bob Heinemann. Dr. Bob and Kevin would go at it back and forth needling and goading each other as only two very great friends can do. I will really miss that.
The Hornell area is poorer without Kevin because he affected so many people in the area in such a positive way.
I’ll miss him.
Wayne Hoskins says:
October 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm
I feel very fortunate to have known Kevin, he was not only a great teacher, but a great friend. My condolences to his family, but just know, Kevin was fair,honest, a good person all around.
Bill Dubensky says:
October 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm
To Kevin’s family and the family at WLEA my sympathies and prayers. The opportunity Kevin gave me in my 2 years working for him let me grow in my profession and I am great full to him for that. God bless.
Jen and Brian Spoth says:
October 22, 2015 at 10:48 pm
Our love, prayers and condolences to your family. Kevin was a GREAT man and it was our most honored privilege to have known him. May he rest in peace.
Paul Hemmer says:
October 22, 2015 at 11:37 pm
I first met Kevin in 1959 when he was a popular night time DJ on my hometown station, WDBQ in Dubuque, IA. Kevin was incredibly entertaining, hysterically funny and loaded with talent. Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered the next year that he was actually Kevin Doran and would be my American Government teacher at Wahlert High School.I not only developed my love for history and our great country through Kevin, but he also learned my interest in broadcasting. Kevin recommended me for a part time DJ job that eventually became a wonderful career for me as both a DJ and finally an owner/operator. We never lost contact with each other and remained friends through these many years. He was truly a guiding force in my early life and someone I always looked up to with great admiration and respect. From my family to Kevin’s wonderful family – our deepest sympathy. His life is one to treasure and use as an example of a fine Christian gentleman. Our love and prayers to all of you.
Patrick T Crissy says:
October 23, 2015 at 2:35 am
So sad to hear of the passing of Kevin. My father called me tonight and told me and as we hung up, it occured to me how a small handful of men in my life have earned my respect and admiration. Kevin Doran was one of those men. Loyal, caring and true, he was a good man with a good heart and he will be greatly missed.
To his loving family, I know the pain in your hearts but it pleases me to know… that he suffers no more…that his eyes are bright from the lights of Heaven…and his spirit is at peace in the presence of our Lord!
Thank you, Kevin for your time in my life,
Patrick T Crissy
Marcia & Jim Everett says:
October 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm
We are so sad for the whole Doran family for their loss.
Kevin was a great boss, (I worked for him for many years), but he was also good friend to both Jim and me.
I always have had so much respect for Kevin and his strong beliefs, he was very outspoken about his faith, which is what we need in these times. Kevin did a lot of good things for people, that he kept secret.
He was loved by many and will be missed by all. We pray for his whole family which he truly cherished.
Thomas Rigatti says:
October 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm
Kevin Doran gave me my first opportunity to work full time in radio 1993–the same year, as it turned out, that he was diagnosed with the disease that ultimately took his life.
It is really something that he was able to live for more than 20 years after his diagnosis–and he clearly lived a full life.
Although I only worked for Kevin for about two years, he was more than just a “boss.”
First and foremost, I came to find out that he was a kind and generous man.
Kevin also taught me a lot about radio, and the drive and work ethic it takes to succeed in the business.
I also greatly admired the fact that he was always true to himself. I remember him telling me that he could have made it “in the big city” had he wanted to, but he chose to remain in Hornell because that’s where he truly wanted to be. He cared deeply about his community.
But even more so, Kevin was devoted to his wife and family. He was a devout Catholic, and a strong believer in the church’s values and teachings. He taught me something about my own faith.
But despite his serious side–I remember Mary Margaret once saying “he puts the world on his shoulders–” Kevin also had a great sense of humor, in addition to his intellect. Whether the topic was religion, history, or politics, his knowledge was tough to match. And here was the thing about Kevin: whether you agreed with him or not, he would give you something to think about. That was the philosopher in him.
I can say that as a young man just getting his start in the radio business and in life, Kevin Doran made a positive impact on me, and for that, I am grateful.
To Mary Margaret and the Doran family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Tom Booth says:
October 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm
I first met Kevin when I was a teenager at Canisteo Central School. We did a magazine sales fundraiser and Kevin was the coordinator for Quality School Plan, a school fundraising company. I was immediately impressed with this man. A few years later, I opened my store in Canisteo and Kevin went to work for me, so to speak, as my WLEA sales rep. He applied his exceptional talent to help us grow our successful business and his visits to my store were always a delight. 22 years ago, I went to work for him at WLEA/WCKR, first as one of the sales reps and then in several other roles. It was such a pleasure to be part of this endeavor to which he devoted so much of his life. Through it all, Kevin has ALWAYS been my trusted friend. I’ll miss ya, buddy! Godspeed.
My love and sympathies to Mary Margaret and the Doran children & grandchildren, a legacy Kevin leaves behind even larger than his iconic broadcasting career.
Tom Booth (or “Boof” as KP preferred)
Joe Cameron says:
October 24, 2015 at 3:54 am
Kevin was a fine, and very talented, man.
May he rest in eternal peace.
God bless the Doran family.
Tom Syseskey says:
October 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm
Requiescat in pace/May his memory be eternal.
(end of comment section)
MESSAGE FROM THE DORAN FAMILY:
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their generosity. We were deeply moved by seeing so many people who wrote, emailed, called, and posted their thoughts online. Also, our thanks to those who came to the calling hours, the funeral, and to all those who helped out so much, after Kevin’s death last week. Thanks also to the Hornell Fire Department and ambulance crew, and all the nurses, doctors and medical staff at both St. James Hospital, Hornell Gardens and elsewhere. Finally, to all those who helped and showed their support in any way at all, you have our many thanks.
Kevin Doran and his father, William “Paddy” Doran
Kevin Doran and childhood classmates/friends
Kevin teaching at Hornell High
Baby Kevin, and his mother Molly