He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, nicknamed "Sarge," after his father's former rank in the United States Army. A radio enthusiast from an early age (with an amateur radio station K2KOQ in a corner of the basement), he became a DJ ("Large Sarge") on WHVW in nearby Hyde Park, after helping build the station. He went on to stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey (WMID) before landing in New York, first at WOR-FM, and finally at WABC ("The Holy Grail"), where he followed Dan Ingram on the air.
Donovan stayed on as production director/announcer when WABC changed to a talk format in 1982. He is still heard internationally as the "voice" of Rush Limbaugh's syndicated show, for which WABC was the flagship station from 1988 until the end of 2013; it currently airs on WOR.
- "And now, from sunny south Florida, it's Open Line Friday." (previously: "Live from the EIB southern command in sunny south Florida, via New York City, it's Open Line Friday.")
- "And now back to America's most influential talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh."
- "When they say talk radio, they really mean Rush, on the EIB Network. 77 WABC"
- "You're listening to the EIB Network."
- "Know Rush and you know the truth."
- "Reverberating nationwide — Rush on the EIB Network."
- "America's anchorman! Rush on the EIB Network."
- "The center of the radio universe — Rush on the EIB Network."
- "Now back to Jason Lewis on The Rush Limbaugh Program."
- "The man who runs America! Rush on the EIB Network."
- "Resistance is futile. Rush on the EIB Network."
- "Voted the number one talk radio personality of all time — Rush on the EIB Network."
- "America's most listened-to talk radio host — Rush Limbaugh! — on the EIB Network."
- "Broadcasting from high atop the WABC broadcast center, overlooking Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, this is New York City's most listened-to talk radio host: Rush Limbaugh!"
- "For your convenience, broadcasting almost exclusively 100% in English, with a little Spanish lingo. Rush on the EIB Network."
- "Satisfaction guaranteed, or the next hour is free. Rush on the EIB Network."
- "Live from the Left Coast at our satellite studios in Los Angeles, it's Open Line Friday." (used when the show is broadcast from Los Angeles, notably including a Family Guy function in 2010)
- WABC Rewound — pictures of Donovan and his usual studio