Jim Graner

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Jim Graner
Jim Graner.jpg
Born James R. Graner
(1919-02-21)February 21, 1919
Akron, Ohio, U.S.[1]
Died January 15, 1976(1976-01-15) (aged 56)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.[1]
Cause of death
Malignant brain tumor[2]
Nationality American
Occupation TV sports anchor
Radio color commentator
Employer 1957–1975: KYW-TV/WKYC (TV-3)[3]
1955–1960, 1963–1975:
Cleveland Browns Radio Network
(via stations: WTAM, WGAR (AM), WERE (1300 AM), and WHK)[2][4]
Spouse(s) Margaret Graner
Children Louis Graner[5]

James R. "Jim" Graner (February 21, 1919 - January 15, 1976) was the weeknight sports anchor for Cleveland NBC affiliate KYW-TV (later WKYC) beginning in 1957. He also served as color commentator for the Cleveland Browns radio network, most notably alongside Cleveland sportscaster Gib Shanley.

Graner had operated in both capacities for nearly twenty years when brain cancer took his life in 1976.

Early life[edit]

Graner was born in Akron, Ohio, but grew up in its neighboring suburb of Stow.[2] After graduating from Stow High School in 1937,[6] he attended Ohio Wesleyan University, but left after two years to work at a Cleveland railroad office.[2] Graner also served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and upon his return, went into broadcasting as a radio announcer.[2] He later married and had a son, Lou.[5]

KYW-TV/WKYC Cleveland[edit]

Jim Graner served as the daily evening sports anchor for Cleveland NBC affiliate KYW-TV (later WKYC) beginning in 1957,[3] working alongside the likes of weathermen Joe Finan, Dick Goddard, and Wally Kinnan.[7][8][9] Occasionally, he would also fill in for fellow sportscaster Bob Neal.[7]

Graner was known for his "dry wit" and "unflappable" personality, to the point where his fellow broadcasters would often attempt to shake his on-air persona.[10] During one such instance, weatherman Joe Finan placed a woman wearing a raincoat in front of Graner during one of their nightly broadcasts. As soon as Graner began, the woman took off the raincoat and revealed that she was wearing nothing underneath. Graner remarked: "I had the Browns playing the Indians."[7] Joking aside, Jim Graner was considered "dignified, low-key... the thinking fan's broadcaster."[11] The "silver-haired" and "gentleman" sportscaster with "matinee idol looks" also hosted his own summer series, Golf with the Pros.[3]

Colleagues and viewers were both shocked and saddened by his early death in 1976.[11] Graner's absence was felt for years to come: Channel 3 sports became a "musical chair" over the next decade, as at least six replacements came and went until another "Jim" finally took over — Jim Donovan, who joined the station in 1985.[11][12]

Cleveland Browns radio career[edit]

Graner first served as color commentator for the Cleveland Browns from 1955–1960, working for radio stations WTAM and WGAR (AM) alongside Bill McColgan.[4] He is best remembered, however, for his work alongside Cleveland play-by-play announcer Gib Shanley:[13] the two paired-up as the voices of the Browns radio network from 1963–1974, working for stations WERE (1300 AM), and later WHK.[4][13] Among their highlights: coverage of the 1964 NFL Championship Game, the last major title won by a professional sports team in Cleveland.[14] Immediately following Cleveland's upset victory over the Baltimore Colts at Municipal Stadium, Graner was the man on the field who interviewed franchise owner Art Modell (who, ironically, later moved the team to Baltimore in 1995 — much to the ire of Cleveland Browns fans).[3][15]

Jim Graner is still considered among the greats of Cleveland sports radio.[13][16] In his memoir, former Cleveland Brown legend Lou Groza lists Graner first among his favorite Cleveland broadcasters.[17] Dick Lebeau — currently the defensive coordinator for the Browns' archrival, the Pittsburgh Steelers — fondly recalls listening to Graner on the radio during his youth in Ohio.[18]

Death[edit]

Graner became ill in the spring of 1975; surgery was performed to remove a brain tumor.[19] He was healthy enough to return for radio commentary during six summer exhibition games of the Cleveland Browns, but was unable to continue on through the regular season.[2] By December of that year he had been readmitted to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital.[19] He then fell into a coma and died on January 15, 1976.[2]

The Jim Graner Memorial Pro-Am Golf Tournament was named in his honor; the first of these annual events was held in June 1976 at the Tanglewood Country Club of Chagrin Falls, Ohio and was attended by Cleveland native Bob Hope, among other "well known entertainers."[20] Soon the tournament moved to the Silver Lake Country Club near Graner's hometown of Stow, Ohio.[21]

References[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ohio Deaths: 1908-1932, 1938-1944 and 1958-2007". Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Provo, Utah: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Jim Graner dies". Associated Press (AP) via The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Co.). January 16, 1976. p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b c d Lones, Tim (November 18, 2009). "Hello Cleveland: Early WKYC Days". ClevelandClassicMedia.blogspot.com. Blogger.com - Google. Retrieved August 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "The voices of Browns games past". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). November 10, 2002. p. J6 - Sunday Arts. 
  5. ^ a b Huffman, Jennifer (December 2006). "Athletic Hall of Fame: Class of 2006" (PDF). SHS Alumni Association News (Stow High School Alumni Association) 1 (2). Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ Stow-Munroe Falls High School 2005 Alumni Directory, Chesapeake, Virginia: B.C. Harris Publishing Company, Inc., 2005 
  7. ^ a b c Feran, p. 89.
  8. ^ "History of WKYC-TV 1948-2010" (PDF). WKYC.com. WKYC-TV, Inc. 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  9. ^ Dolgan, Bob (November 10, 1995). "Glad You Asked". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. 8D - Sports. 
  10. ^ Feran, p. 144.
  11. ^ a b c Feran, p. 114.
  12. ^ "Jim Donovan - Channel 3 Weeknight Sports Anchor". WKYC.com. WKYC-TV, Inc. 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c "The radio stars". ClevelandBrowns.com. Cleveland Browns. December 8, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ Peticca, Mike (September 12, 2004). "Gib Shanley's call". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. S27 - Browns 1964. 
  15. ^ McCarty, James F. (November 9, 1995). "Daddy, What's a Brown? Fans' Children Lose Heritage of Love, If Not Always Pride". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. 1A - National. 
  16. ^ King, Steve (September 14, 2006). "Season Ticket Holders' Exclusive". ClevelandBrowns.com. Cleveland Browns. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
    • Brown, Roger (January 7, 1996). "Electrifying History: Early Cleveland Television and Radio Led the Way Nationally with Innovative and Creative Uses of 'New' Media". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. 1J - Arts & Living. 
    • Peticca, Mike (September 12, 2004). "Modell leaves fans in the dark". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. S27 - Browns 1964. 
    • Rogers, Tim (March 4, 2010). "Tom Glasenapp, St. Edward announcer". The Plain Dealer (The Plain Dealer Publishing Co.). p. D8 - The Locker Room. 
    • Dyer, Bob (May 10, 1992). "Opposites Who Attract -- An Audience, That Is". Akron Beacon Journal (Beacon Journal Publishing Co.). p. 5 - Beacon Magazine. 
    • Castiglione, p. 17.
  17. ^ Groza, p. 36.
  18. ^ Doerschuk, Steve (June 15, 2010). "Cribbs believes LeBron will stay, but...". CantonRep.com (GateHouse Media, Inc.). Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Jim Graner Dies in Cleveland". United Press International (UPI) via The Coshocton Tribune (Gannett Company). January 17, 1976. p. 4. 
  20. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (May 29, 2003). "For our favorite son Bob Hope, all roads lead back home to Ohio". Cleveland.com (Cleveland Live, LLC.). Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  21. ^ Seaburn, John (May 3, 1985). "Amateur Golf Groups to Begin Tournaments". Akron Beacon Journal (Beacon Journal Publishing Co.). p. C3 - Sports. 
    • "Area golf teams are among the leaders in Graner Memorial". The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Co.). May 10, 1977. p. 15 - Sports. 

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