Sunday, April 1, 2012
Eddie Saunders, radio and television personality
James Edward “Eddie” Saunders, a Kentuckian by birth, made Columbus his home in 1937. In 1944, he produced the radio program “Swanee Hour” for the sick and shut-ins; he then continued to serve the community with his “Sermons and Songs” radio program.
“Sermons and Songs,” the longest running religious program in the country started in 1948, when Saunders became the first black disc jockey in Columbus. Through the years Mr. Saunders became known as the “Dean of Central Ohio Broadcasting” because for more than fifty years he responded to the needs of the people on WVKO Radio.
Eddie also hosted a three hour afternoon jazz program on WVKO. But his religious programming was what made his name and career. He was the creator and producer of “Eddie Saunders Presents,” a religious television program that aired for more than twenty years.
Saunders was inducted into The Disc Jockey Hall of Fame and the Ohio State Senior Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1989, the City of Columbus renamed Maryland Park to Saunders Park in his honor.
Eddie Saunders passed on in 1999, but he is still honored and respected in Central Ohio.