Joe McDonnell, Longtime L.A. Sports Journalist and Radio Host, Dies at 58

Courtesy Elizabeth McDonnell

He was on the local scene for nearly four decades. The Lakers are among the teams that are mourning his death.

Joe McDonnell, a longtime Los Angeles sports-talk radio host and reporter, died on Friday at Good Samaritan Hospital after a long illness, publicist Steve Brener announced. He was 58.

McDonnell enjoyed his greatest success when he teamed with Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Doug Krikorian on the popular McDonnell-Douglas radio show, which aired from 2000-05 on KSPN.

“For more than 35 years, Joe has been a regular at Lakers games and press events,” Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “Known for his quick wit and strong opinions, Joe’s love of and support of the Lakers has always been appreciated. Over all these years, our players, coaches and staff have enjoyed working with and knowing Joe. He will be sorely missed.”

Added Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: “Although Joe was opinionated and brutally honest in his coverage, I always felt he was knowledgeable and fair. He loved covering sports in our beloved city and had a presence at every major sporting event. As both a player and executive, I enjoyed working with Joe since I arrived in town in 1981. I will miss seeing him at our games, practices and press conferences.”


A fixture at all major sporting events in L.A., McDonnell began his radio career in 1975 at San Fernando Valley radio station KGIL, where he stayed for seven years.

He served as a valuable freelancer for United Press International and worked for KFI (1988-91), KMPC (1992-94), KMAX (1994-96), KWNK (1996-97), KABC (1997), KIIS/AM/KXTA (1997-98), KFWB (1999-2000), KABC (2000), KSPN (2000-05), KLAC (2005-08) and KNX (2011-13).

A native of Upper Darby, Penn., McDonnell attended Alemany High School in Mission Hills, Calif., and Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys.

He weighed more than 700 pounds before undergoing gastric-bypass surgery in 2004.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, and many cousins. Funeral services are pending.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4