James A. Donahue began his broadcast career as a Marine in World War II. After serving two years overseas with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester, he went to work as a Marine recruiting sergeant in Los Angeles, California. He was responsible for all Marine Corps recruitment publicity throughout southern California and all of Arizona. Donahue planned the radio programming, wrote radio announcements and scripts, and selected the music for the various programs in which the Marine Corps participated. He also arranged press conferences, distributed news releases for Marine Corps special events and wrote articles for technical and military Marine Corps publications.
After discharge from the Marines in 1949, Jim returned home to Philadelphia and worked as a staff reporter for the Courier-Post newspaper in Camden, New Jersey. He left the newspaper after seven years to become the news director at Camden radio station WKDN, AM-FM, in 1961. He and Art Milner did a daily noon newscast. Donahue hosted a popular call-in talk show called "What’s On Your Mind." For a time he anchored an early morning newscast on WKBS-TV, Channel 48. He was also an area correspondent for The New York Times.
Drawing on his experience in newspaper and radio, Jim started his own public relations firm, Jim Donahue Associates, which serviced numerous South Jersey non-profit health associations, as well as commercial accounts, including Rice & Holman, the Camden County Bar Association and West Jersey Hospital.
Donahue left the broadcast field in early 1969 to become the first Administrative Director of the newly created State Commission of Investigation under former N. J. Attorney-General William F. Hyland. The high-profile commission, the first of its kind, examined organized crime in New Jersey. Jim served two years before resigning to accept a post as Assistant Administrator of West Jersey Hospital, Camden.
In 1974, he was appointed Executive Director of West Jersey Hospital, Berlin. In 1979, he was appointed Assistant to the President of West Jersey Health System, a position he held until retiring in 1996. After his retirement, he was named trustee emeritus by the West Jersey Health System Board of Trustees, now known as Virtua Health.
Jim Donahue graduated from South Philadelphia High School for Boys in 1939. He held an associate’s degree in advertising/public relations from St. Joseph’s University, a bachelor’s degree in management from Rutgers University, and a master’s degree in health care administration from New York University. He was a member of the American College of Health Care Executives.
Jim Donahue died in 1998 at age 77. He was married to his wife, Cassie, for nearly 54 years. They had four children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Nancy Croce, Jim's daughter
Bio written by Nancy Croce
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