The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns the loss of founder Vince Sanders, who died Oct. 10 in Longwood, Florida, according to his wife Joyce Sanders. He was 83.
A true NABJ love story, Vince and Joyce were married for 37 years after being introduced by NABJ Founder Paul Brock.
NABJ Founder Joe Davidson remembers Sanders fondly: “Vince had a big smile, a warm personality and a deep, booming voice God made for radio. Plus, he was handsome enough for television. His death, and that of Les Payne earlier this year, reminds us of how quickly we are losing founders.”
A 2005 inductee into the NABJ Hall of Fame, Sanders was a veteran of the broadcast industry having spent nearly 40 years on the job. He began his career as an on-air talent for WBEE-AM in Chicago in 1958.
“NABJ is deeply saddened by the loss of NABJ Founder Vince Sanders,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “He was a very talented journalist who rose from the ranks as a talk show host, then reporter/anchor to vice president of a broadcast network. He had keen business skills and a love for humor as a comic and actor in his own right.”
In the early 1960s, Sanders hosted a popular call-in radio talk show, Opinion and for almost a decade he hosted high profile African American newsmakers and other celebrities. Sanders also hosted a call-in talk show and a quiz contest at WCIU-TV in Chicago, where he was also a regular contributor to A Black’s View of the News. In 1971, he was an anchor/reporter for WMAQ-TV, the NBC station in Chicago.
His success led him to an opportunity in New York City, where he eventually became the Vice President of Broadcast Operations at the National Black Network (NBN), which was the nation’s first black-owned and operated radio news network. He was also Vice President and General Manager of WWRL-AM, NBN’s radio station in the Big Apple.
“Vince was a great guy and a legendary radio personality and executive at a time when radio was a powerful voice of news and information for African Americans,” said NABJ Founder and Past President DeWayne Wickham.
Sanders enjoyed an eclectic career that included theatrical performances, appearing in productions for several main-line companies. Sanders traveled with the American Negro Opera Guild and Richard B. Harrison Players in the 1960s. It was both his journalism and theatrical experiences that motivated him to write two books: Can’t Get HERE from THERE and That’s Not Funny! Can’t Get HERE from THERE is based on Sander’s role in the development of NBN. That’s Not Funny! is a story from the vantage point of Sanders’ management of the nation’s first black and white stand-up comedy team, Tim and Tom.
NABJ Founder Norma Adams Wade remembered Sanders as “a voice that was invented for broadcasting and a personality of confidence and manhood.”
He retired and moved back home to the Orlando-area in 1997. Sanders is survived by his wife Joyce, seven children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are private.