Joe Donlon

Joe Donlon is the co-anchor of the WGN Evening News at Five and Six, WGN News at Nine and WGN News at Ten. Joe is a veteran newscaster with more than 30 years of experience as a main anchor.

Prior to WGN-TV, Donlon was the main anchor for KGW in Portland for over two decades. He spent nine years as an anchor and reporter at KVOA-TV (NBC) in Tucson, Arizona and began his career in Corpus Christi, Texas at KZTV-TV (CBS).

Donlon’s newscasts have been honored with numerous Emmy and AP awards. Career highlights include reporting from Kuwait following the Gulf War in 1991, covering several national political stories over the past several decades, and anchoring coverage of a number of major sporting events, including the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, and the Oregon Ducks football team in both the 2010 Rose Bowl and 2011 National Championship game in Phoenix, AZ.

Donlon hails from the Midwest, from St. Louis, Missouri. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, where he also played left wing for the Marquette hockey team. He and his wife Kathy have three children.

Recent Articles
  • University Park water samples analyzed by independent lab — here are the results

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. — It’s been over three months since University Park residents were warned not to drink the water because of elevated levels of brain-damaging lead. Aqua Illinois, the town’s supplier, claims water quality has improved, thanks to ongoing treatment. But residents like Ruth Redmon remain skeptical. She asked WGN Investigates to have her water tested independently, a request WGN heard from many in the suburb. “We don’t want to hear what Aqua says,” Mayor Joseph Roudez said. “We’ve […]

  • Chicago police officers help save life of woman struck by stray bullet

    CHICAGO — The actions of two Chicago police officers helped save the life of a 35-year-old woman struck by a stray bullet in West Englewood. On Tuesday afternoon, police responded to a call of shots fired in the 7300 block of S. Wolcott, where a 21-year-old male sustained multiple gunshot wounds. As Sgt. Rodolfo Vargas, along with Officers Rodolfo Farias and Michael Kocanda, continued to canvass the area, police said they noticed a bullet hole in the front window of […]

  • South suburban schools shut off drinking fountains over lead concerns

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. — Two south suburban schools shut off their drinking fountains in response to lead concerns Thursday, WGN Investigates has learned. Students are getting ready to return to school in University Park, which has been facing a water crisis for months after high levels of lead were found in the village’s water. Some residents have been under an advisory since June. Test results from Crete-Monee Middle School and Coretta Scott King Elementary School shared with WGN Thursday show […]

  • Dog rescue community says there were many red flags before deadly kennel fire

    CAROL STREAM, Ill. — A deadly kennel fire in a western suburb rocked the dog rescue community. The cause of that fire is undetermined, but WGN Investigates found the fire is just part of the story. There were two camps when it came to Bully Life Animal Services’ operator Garrett Mercado. Some saw him as a talented and caring trainer and a dog whisperer. But others had raised concerns about his facility for months. A number of people with inside […]

  • Signs of suburban lead problem first surfaced in 2018, records show

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. — University Park residents received a scary warning last month: Don’t drink the water because of high lead levels. Now, WGN Investigates has learned tests last year at five homes showed high levels of lead — and two of those homeowners said the private supplier, Aqua Illinois, never told them. Aqua first notified customers in University Park, Green Garden and Monee Township on June 14 of this year about high lead levels in the drinking water. An estimated 1,500 […]

  • Gunman kills 2 children, 1 man in California festival attack

    GILROY, Calif. — A shooter cut through a fence and opened fire on a crowd eating and listening to music at a popular food festival in California, killing three people, including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, and injuring 12 others before police quickly shot him dead, authorities said. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said Santino William Legan, 19, appeared to randomly target people when he fired with a rifle Sunday afternoon, the end of the three-day Gilroy Garlic […]

  • Illinois EPA cites company for south suburban water woes

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has hit a private water provider with notice of several violations after high lead levels were detected in several south suburbs. Aqua Illinois first notified its customers in University Park, Green Garden and Monee Township about high lead levels on June 14. Nearly six weeks later, 1,500 households remain under a “do not consume” advisory. Aqua Illinois officials have blamed the spike in lead levels to a change in the chemicals […]

  • Handyman complaints show it’s ‘buyer beware’ when hiring help online

    CHICAGO — When it comes to hiring people online, the advice is always the same: do your homework. Still, a number of people contacted WGN Investigates admitting they should have done more to check out the background of a handyman they all hired. An iconic obstacle from the mini golf course in Maggie Daley Park — the Wells Street Bridge at the 16th hole — is missing. The tale of why the bridge is missing bridge led WGN Investigates to […]

  • Are Chicago Public Schools making the grade?

    CHICAGO — Are Chicago Public Schools making the grade? Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for strong schools, regardless of neighborhood or zip code. According to an analysis by CPS, that is not the case now. Some of Chicago’s worst performing schools are in low-income neighborhoods with mainly students of color. And while only 11% of CPS students are white, almost 90 percent of them go to the top-rated schools in the city.  Read the CPS analysis or select your school […]

  • Brookfield Zoo black rhino’s surgery unsuccessful

    CHICAGO — A black rhino at Brookfield Zoo underwent surgery Tuesday that did not go well. Veterinarians performed surgery on Layla, an 8-year-old rhinoceros, to try and clear her nasal passageway. However, the surgery “didn’t take.” Last April, Layla became the first adult rhino to undergo a CT scan. Veterinarians and were trying to get a better picture of why abnormal tissue continued to grow and block her sinuses. Since then, she’s had more than 30 procedures and staged surgeries. […]

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