Personnel note: Battleground Florida host Evan Donovan to leave WFLA

Donovan anchors News Channel 8 Today on weekend mornings, hosting the Sunday morning political show Battleground Florida.

Tampa Bay political reporter Evan Donovan will be leaving his role at WFLA to “take the next step in his journalism career,” the channel’s assistant news director Chris Ford announced in an email Tuesday. 

Donovan anchors News Channel 8 Today on weekend mornings, hosting the Sunday morning political show Battleground Florida. He also reports on political issues during the week for the station.

His departure was announced by Ford in an email sent to the WFLA newsroom Tuesday. His last day at the station will be Sept. 1.

In the email, Ford applauded Donovan’s career at WFLA. His tenure started in 2017, when Donovan came to interview with the station and ended up stuck in the area as Hurricane Irma struck.

“Evan has the distinction of coming to WFLA after undergoing the newsroom’s most prolonged job interview,” Ford wrote. “Even knew he would be stuck here for days, but rather than view the circumstances as an opportunity to relax in his hotel, Evan asked to help however he could, even playing a part of our on-air coverage throughout the storm. We were lucky to have him — then and now.”

During his time at WFLA, Donovan worked to expand political coverage, reporting on high-profile stories like former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign launch and 2018 Tampa rally.

“Evan has helped revitalize our political coverage and established contacts across the Bay Area and throughout the state,” Ford wrote. “We will miss his passion for politics and for our profession, but I know you will join us in cheering him on as he makes his next big career move.”

Ford did not share where Donovan will go next.

Before coming to WFLA, Donovan worked at WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina, where he also covered political issues. He has earned several awards throughout his news career, including a regional Emmy award for live reporting and two RTDNA awards.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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