Radio personality Samuel Michael Anderson — known on-air as "Mike Roberts" — died at an area hospice Feb. 17 from complications of cancer.
He was 54.
Mr. Anderson worked in the radio business for more than 30 years, both on-air and behind the scenes in Baltimore and Washington. He retired from Radio One in December due to health issues.
Mr. Anderson could do just about any job at a radio station and excelled in multiple roles, said Tim Watts, midday host on Radio One's Magic 95.9 FM. Before he died, Mr. Anderson was a coordinator for the AM stations that were sister stations to Magic 95.9, and the two carpooled to work.
"He was the best utility man in the business," Mr. Watts said.
Mr. Watts said Mr. Anderson was a capable manager, music director and on-air host. He'd even drive the promotions van if needed. "He just could do it all and wherever you put him, that seemed to be where he wanted to be," he said.
Dave Alan Brazelton, a colleague and friend since the 1980s, was impressed with Mr. Anderson's knowledge of music. Mr. Anderson loved all types of music and worked professionally in multiple genres, including urban music, adult contemporary and even new age.
"He was a consummate seeker of knowledge of music. He loved talking about any format and the artists," Mr. Brazelton said.
Mr. Brazelton, who produces for 105.7 FM The Fan, said Mr. Anderson had a passion for radio. He said his friend was a "consummate professional."
Mr. Anderson played a key role at Radio One when WGHT became Magic 95.9 and adopted an urban adult contemporary format that proved successful, Mr. Brazelton said. Mr. Anderson was the program director.
"He was a key catalyst in the urban adult contemporary format. He was behind making 95.9 a winner," Mr. Brazelton said.
Mr. Anderson was so passionate about radio that after working a full week for Radio One, he would spend weekends at WFBR, a small radio station that broadcasts on 1590 AM out of Glen Burnie. Mr. Anderson ran an oldies show and produced multiple programs, including gospel and Latin music, Mr. Brazelton said.
Mr. Brazelton and Mr. Anderson remained friends even as Mr. Anderson took jobs in Louisiana and Tennessee before returning to Baltimore.
"Mike loved Baltimore, loved broadcasting and loved his family," Mr. Brazelton said.
Denise Edwards also stayed friends with Mr. Anderson after she left Baltimore for Texas. They met in the early 1990s, when she was an overnight DJ on Mix 106.5 FM. She was surprised he knew who she was.
"I thought I was nobody working in the middle of the night and that nobody listened," said Ms. Edwards, adding that she immediately knew "this guy is going to be in my life for quite some time."
Ms. Edwards, who now works in public relations for the Frisco Conference & Visitors Bureau, said Mr. Anderson was a big part of a close-knit "radio family" in Baltimore. She said Mr. Anderson was a hard worker in a tough business.
"It can be the type of business that will chew you up and spit you out. Mike had a staying power, not only because of his skills, but also because of his personality," she said. "He just was a dynamic person."
Ken Merson, known on-air as "the Merson Person," first met Mr. Anderson when he interned at WCBM. Mr. Merson could quickly tell that Mr. Anderson had a knack for radio.
"He had a great passion and love for it. He couldn't learn fast enough ... He was a perfect sponge," said Mr. Merson, who lives in Finksburg and works on air for 94.7 Fresh FM in Washington.
Mr. Anderson was born in Baltimore and attended both Catholic and public schools, graduating from Northwestern High School in 1977. He attended what is now Towson University as well as the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland.
Mr. Anderson launched his radio career at WCBM and also held jobs at WFBR, WEBB and WGHT, which later became WWIN, Magic 95.9. He later worked in Washington, doing new age programming for SiriusXM satellite radio and WorldSpace satellite radio.
After a brief departure from radio to work for Comcast, Mr. Anderson returned to radio in 2001 at Radio One, where he worked until December.
In Baltimore, Radio One owns 92Q Jams, talk radio station WOLB 1010 AM, gospel station Spirit 1400 and Magic 95.9.
Mr. Anderson is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sheila; a daughter, Samantha; and twin sons, Spencer and Sterling.