Sandy Wood, the voice of the McDonald Observatory’s StarDate, has been on the radio since 1966.
“I was probably the first female disc jockey in the southwest during that era – women were not on the air,” Wood says.
She and her husband met as students at Texas A&I Kingsville (now a part of the Texas A&M system) in the speech and drama department.
“My husband put a station on the air for A&I. And he also had a summer job at the local radio station which was owned by members of the King Ranch,” she says. “And they thought it would be a novel idea to have a female do a commercial. They brought me in, I did the spot, and the station manager hired me on the spot.”
She says her disc jockey skills at the time left something to be desired.
“I’ve never been good at telling time, I always have to really really concentrate when I’m looking at the clock and you had to take meter readings,” she says. “So you had to almost know how to do engineering skills which I have never been good at. I had a voice, but I didn’t have the other skill set. But he kept me around for a long time and it was a lot of fun.”
Part of being a voice on the radio means listeners might have a different idea of what a host sounds like, and Wood is no exception.
“I’ve heard and seen people surprised when they meet me because it is so completely different from their expectations,” she says. “They always imagine someone who is tall, and statuesque – I’m 4’11.5”, a grandma, and it’s not that person.”