Following the retirement of longtime Browns color commentator Doug Dieken after the 2021 season, the Browns are proud to announce a new-look gameday radio team that will begin calling games in 2022 and beyond.
Nathan Zegura and Jerod Cherry will join play-by-play announcer and voice of the Browns Jim Donovan to bring the action. Zegura, who had been the gameday sideline reporter since 2014, will step into the color commentator role, while Cherry, a three-time Super Bowl champion who has been a sports broadcaster for various platforms in Cleveland since 2014, will become the new sideline reporter.
"We're excited to move Nathan to the broadcast booth and Jerod will be an outstanding addition to the broadcast team as they join the revered and legendary voice of the Browns, Jim Donovan," Browns Executive Vice President and Partner JW Johnson said. "We know this group will continue to provide Browns fans with an entertaining, informative broadcast filled with unique storylines and special insights every week that brings them even closer to the on-field action and the team they love.
"Both Nathan and Jerod have proven their ability to connect with Browns fans and our city during their time in Cleveland, which is integral to the listening experience we strive to create. Nathan's enthusiasm and intimate knowledge of our organization set a strong foundation as he offers in-depth, personal analysis to complement Jim's extraordinary play by play from The Doug Dieken Radio Booth. Additionally, Jerod's experience as a three-time Super Bowl champion will give our fans a special understanding of what it means to play the game from a player's perspective on the biggest stage directly from the sideline.
"By bringing these three respected professionals together, we have assembled an extremely talented team that will consistently deliver the passion, knowledge and energy Browns fans deserve."
The team is excited to start a new chapter but carry on the same insightful and entertaining gameday listening experience over Cleveland radio streams on Sunday afternoons. Donovan will lead the call as he enters his 24th season in the booth, which is now named "The Doug Dieken Radio Booth," and is confident that Zegura and Cherry will join him in a smooth transition for what will be his first season without Dieken by his side.
"It really is a new era — and I'm very excited about it," Donovan said. "I'm really happy for both guys because it's a wonderful job, in both circumstances, to be a part of a team like the Browns and be a part of a radio team each and every week. I know both guys are going to enjoy that.
"For Nathan, hats off to him. He brings a lot of energy and an unbelievable appetite for the game. He's constantly loving being able to learn about the game, and he does that through a lot of study. I know he's going to be impeccably prepared every week, and that really helps us on the broadcast.
"For Jerod, I've always enjoyed being with him on the various shows when he's been a co-host and they've had me as a guest on the show. I've always loved listening to Jerod when I would get in my car after a game at FirstEnergy Stadium and listen to him on the postgame show. I thought he'd do a great job of breaking down what happened that afternoon, and he'll really give us a player's perspective as well as be the eyes and ears of what's going on on the sideline."
Zegura has been a mainstay for all Browns media content since he first joined the organization in 2013. In addition to his sideline reporter role, he's been the host of "Cleveland Browns Daily," the Browns' daily radio show, since 2014 and has been a go-to source of all Browns news and information for the last nine years.
Earning a spot in the booth has always been a dream for Zegura, who got his first taste of what the role would be like when the Browns traveled to London in 2017 to play the Vikings. Dieken wasn't able to make the trip, which led to an opportunity for Zegura to call his first ever game as a color commentator. The role felt natural, and the experience was going to serve as a lifelong memory for Zegura regardless of whether he ever had the chance to call another game in the booth again.
Now, he'll have 17 games — plus preseason action — to call every year.
"It all still feels surreal to me," Zegura said. "This is a dream come true. It's amazing, and I get to go do it with the best play-by-play guy in the NFL, and that will make things a lot easier. I think I'll be able to bring the fans some different perspectives with being in the numbers, having relationships with the coaches and players and hopefully just be a little accoutrement to the great Jim Donovan. It's a tremendous honor."
Cherry brings a special backstory and career path to the sidelines after a nine-year career as a player with the Saints, Eagles and Patriots, whom he played for when they won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX. After retiring in 2004, Cherry, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, moved to Ohio to be closer to family and embarked on a broadcasting career as a pregame and postgame analyst for Cleveland Browns TV and University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network, including News Channel 5, 92.3 The Fan and WKNR 850 AM. He's also been the co-host of The Next Level Show on ESPN Cleveland.
"I'm very excited to work with a great team of guys who are knowledgeable and know the game very well and do a great job of presenting it to bring the fans into the game," he said. "I think it's going to be a great combination and a great mix of us all sharing perspectives. I've heard Jim and Nathan call games before — the first time they did it (in London) — and I was very impressed with how it came off. One of the key things to all of it is chemistry, and we've all worked together multiple times, so I really do feel as though we do have that chemistry."
The crew will call their first game for the Browns' first preseason game, which has yet to be announced, and can be heard all season long on the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network, ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 THE FAN WKRK & 98.5 WNCX.