People are remembering a longtime Evansville DJ who passed away earlier this week.
Mike “Sandman” Sanders passed away at a Florida hospital on Wednesday. Sanders had a nearly four decade career working in the same market and at the same station.
“He ended up being more than just my mentor, my boss, he was like my brother, he was my best friend, one of my best friends, he was in my wedding, he was just a big part of my life,” said longtime friend Bobby Gates.
Sanders was the longtime brand manager of 103 GBF and the voice of Rocks for more than 30 years. He graduated from Wabash Valley Community College in 1979 and started his professional career shortly after that.
“His footprints, and his impact on so many different young broadcasters lives, some that are still doing it like me, some that have moved on to other markets, some who have moved on to whole other careers, they still remember Sandman, and give him credit for getting their foot in the door,” Gates said.
Many people remember Sandman for not just being a nice guy – but being a mentor to young and aspiring DJs.
“You could not mention rock radio without having Sandman’s name in there, that is how big he was to that format being in this area,” said Jimmie Ford, a longtime friend who worked with Sandman for over 15 years.
44news previously interviewed Sandman back in January of 2017.
“I can’t speak for other markets, but definitely not this one, it has been the longest streak, and I miss it to a certain degree,” Sandman said in a 2017 interview with 44News’ Tommy Mason.
Sandman was the original MC for the Evansville Police Department Foundation Swat Challenge.
The department says their thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s family and friends. They said he will be deeply missed.
“He is so closely associated to Evansville, to the rock community and to 103 GBF, I don’t know if we are going to have that with anyone else,” Gates said.
Sanders death stemmed from an illness in which he never recovered. He leaves behind a six year old granddaughter. Funeral arrangements have yet to be scheduled.
A GoFundMe page with a $15,000 goal has been set up to bring Sandman’s remains back to Evansville. Extra money will go to a college fund for his granddaughter.