10 Questions with ... Mike "Sandman" Sanders
February 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Radio sunk its teeth in me my senior year in high school. I interned at the University of Alabama's WVUA. It was an awesome time for college radio. Bands like REM, 10,0000 Maniacs and Alex Chilton dropping in the studio. Off and running to my birthplace of Tallahassee, FL, then turning it up in Jacksonville and WQIK, to the Mile High Country, KYGO and KIMN in Denver, Jones Radio, then back to the Gulf Coast, Pensacola, Florida and WMEZ, where my show was featured on the ABC-TV show "Lost" box set Then shrimp and grits in Paula Deen Country, Savannah GA, at WGZR, to legendary WSOC/Charlotte NC. I worked in the shadows of Nashville at WKXD/Cookeville. I'm now doing voice work and rewriting a book of short stories due out this fall on Amazon.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I'm reading more, getting into audio books, and listening to friends' shows in other markets. I live on the beach so I've taking up paddle boarding and learning Spanish, and playing the best three chord guitar ever.
2) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I've been in radio for so long that it's hard to think of not doing it, but it doesn't define who I am and I can translate my job experience into other fields -- juggler, comedian, armchair psychiatrist, "YES" man.
3) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
I think this might be the longest stretch "on the beach" -- over six months -- but I didn't start looking seriously until recently. Making the connections, reaching out and tweaking airchecks.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
That's tough. There is a fine line between showing your interests and bugging an OM. I always send a handwritten note after I've sent out a resume' package. It doesn't cost much and brings a personal touch to the process. PENMANSHIP ANYONE?
5) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
It hasn't been too bad. I hate the excuse that people are wearing so many hats that they don't have the time. An automated response should be a guaranteed minimum. At least you know that it made it through cyber-space to the correct mailbox. I did get an actual letterhead, hand signed with a station sticker. That was so cool. STAY CLASSY RADIO.
6) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
I was asked "If I hire you, are you gonna try to sleep with the secretary?" Huh ...what did he say? Apparently, the receptionist was his daughter.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Actually, I've been listening to more radio. Scanning different markets, listening to shows of people I know in the business, tuning in to the stations that are advertising openings and seeing what they are doing, and asking myself: "Would that place be a good fit?" It's such an easy thing to do with Tune-In, iHeart, stations' streaming, and more adding apps.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I guess having my show featured on the TV Series Lost-DVD Boxset. That was fun and it is there to show people for years to come. I actually don't even own a copy of the Boxset ... check it out on Netflix.
9) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
The thing that I enjoy about radio is the folks you work with, some of the most creative people out there, coming up with promotions, brainstorming and bouncing bits off each other. The least, if I have to say, would be getting up at 3:30a.
10) If you were offered a similar position to what you were doing for considerably less money, would you seriously consider taking the job just to stay in the biz?
No. I love the business, however the days of working just to get by just don't cut it. If you are a solid talent, then broker what you are worth. It's unfortunate, but there are those who may be cutting their teeth in the business who will work for less, and that is a good way for them to get in the door, but it sets a precedent of low budgets for talent. Pay me and I'll buy my own pizza. Keep the swag. Healthcare is expensive.
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. If applicable, name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
Well, I'm sort of old school and like to purchase vinyl when its available. I love liner notes. I'm digging on Jason Isbell, the Civil Wars, and John Mayer.