With the consolidation of radio companies, talent and content, not too many radio broadcasters can boast of a nearly four decade career in the same market. Even more impressive, the same station, Mike “Sandman” Sanders just capped off 37 years entertaining the rock radio listeners of Evansville on 103GBF. Sanders graduated from Wabash Valley Community College in 1979 then began his professional career shortly after that.
“A friend turned me on to a weekend gig at WGBF-AM, which at that time was still the number one station,” explained Sandman “I’d play Led Zeppelin into Donna Summer, it was just that kind of thing… one day the General Manager said we’re gonna mature the morning to more of a soft rock thing, and he said we just bought this FM at 103. We’re gonna switch it to rock, would you like to work there…”
After working a weekend shift, and assisting in the programming of the station, Mike Sanders, as he is known off the air, soon found a name within his own…the Sandman. Sandman’s impressive 37 year radio career ended with his termination in late November. This wasn’t Sandman’s only setback.
“Just about two years ago, it was actually on the day I got let go, was the anniversary of the death of my wife. That was really tough, and just a year of trying to cope, and work, and do everything else,” Sandman said. Shortly after his wife’s death, Sandman’s heart was hit again. Sandman says, “I had to have a new valve installed. They also did a triple bypass.”
After surviving the heart scare, Sandman’s return to the airwaves was short lived. “I got let go. Mainly differences in philosophies. I play to win. They play to win. We just had different ideas on how to get there. And I had done some other stupid stuff…said some things on the air. Dropped the F-bomb once,” he explains.
“If somebody came to me and said we want you to do afternoon drive, and it was a rock station, and it was around here, and if they could come close to the salary I made before,” Sandman said.
Sandman is on the move in one form…he is taking courses to get his Real Estate license so he can go from being in a lot of homes to selling a lot of homes.