Leave it to former WMMS and WMJI radio legend Denny Sanders to make a big splash returning to the Northeast Ohio airwaves.
Not only can he be heard on Oberlin-based radio station WDLW — which broadcasts on both 1380 AM and 98.9 FM with a signal that reaches Lorain County, as well as parts of Medina County and western Cuyahoga County — but also worldwide on a recently released station app.
“After leaving Telos, a broadcast equipment and development company, I took a little time off but then went looking around for something to do,” said Sanders, who calls Olmsted Falls home.
At that point the original Buzzard DJ received a call from WDLW’s Doug Wilber about joining Kool Kat oldies, which is a rock ’n’ roll station playing tunes from the late ’50s through mid-’70s.
“That’s a time period which is not dealt with on the big Cleveland stations anymore,” Sanders said. “In fact, when I ran Majic (105.7 FM) in the mid ’90s to early ’00s, that was our format.
“So none of the big city stations are playing some of the original rock ’n’ roll and rhythm & blues. I always listened to Kool Kat, so when Doug called me I said that sounds like fun.”
Earlier this month Sanders took over the afternoon shift from 2-6pm on WDLW, where he’s also a programming consultant.
“What really put me over the top was the fact that just a few weeks ago they started streaming, which means I have all of the freedom of working for an independent radio station, but the internet distribution similar to any of the big stations,” Sanders said.
“I have the best of both worlds. The show is fun to do. It’s so nice to be able to work for a station that is handmade as opposed to machine made. That’s the difference.”
In many ways Sanders on WDLW mirrors his arrival on Cleveland airwaves nearly 50 years ago when he helped put burgeoning progressive radio station WMMS on the map.
“I’m now able to create programming and do a show for an independent station, which doesn’t have a whole series of vice presidents who all try to second guess you and paralyze you,” Sanders said.
A recent sample of the Good Time Oldies with Denny Sanders show includes the following: Paul Revere and Raiders’ “Kicks” into Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” into David Bowie/Queen’s “Under Pressure” into the Rascals’ “A Girl Like You” into Mary Wells’ “My Guy.”
Sure, the above mix is eclectic, but in 2019 it’s actually the perfect baby-boomer playlist.
Said Sanders, “I’m just thrilled to really be able to put something together that has my stamp on it, as opposed to being a cog in some big machine.”