TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A wake-up call many are familiar with has come to an end as Mike Edwards from KTBB has recently retired after a 45-year career in the radio broadcasting business.
Edwards explained how blessed he was to have such a fruitful career filled with a supportive family and a great audience.
“I had one lady tell me ‘Our family had a radio on the breakfast table and we’d get the kids off to school. You were with us every morning Mike. You are a part of our family.’ To God be the glory,” said Mike.
Working his way up in the business, Mike started radio in the early ’60s in Southeast Texas working in small towns.
“I started out as a DJ which played big bands and jazz and the there was country and then news because I loved the challenge it presented,” said Mike.
Mike started in Houston then traveled to Temple and ended up at KTBB in Tyler.
“A former owner I worked for in temple invited me to come up and at that time the station was in the basement of the Blackstone hotel,” said Mike.
While traveling seems like a dream to most, Mike had some hesitations at first.
“I didn’t know if I should do it or not,” said Mike.
Instead, Mike took a leap of faith which turned out to be the right call for his family and himself.
“We found the most friendly and warm caring people and there were great schools for the kids. We’d been here for about six months and the family consensus at the dinner table was as long as the Lord kept us here we’d take up root and we’d follow his lead,” said Mike.
That lead kept Mike and his family with KTBB radio for 45 years.
While the years were great, Mike was no superman and the early days and long hours took a toll on him.
“It Use to be Friday was the hardest day to get up, then it was Thursday, then Tuesday through Friday,” said Mike. “That was my body telling me.”
But over the years, the changes he’s seen during those early days and long hours could tell a story unlike any other. He’s seen radio go from records and tapes to digital producing and computers.
Now that’s it’s over he’s reflecting on how blessed he was and how to continue following in God’s footsteps.
“God has blessed me in so many ways and anything I do right I give the blessing to God and anything I do wrong I didn’t follow his lead,” said Mike.
While he says that the people will be missed most of all, he won’t miss the business as technology has changed the magic of radio and it will never be the same.
“The internet has taken away some of the mystique. People used to listen and come up with an image of what you looked like, but now your picture is on the internet and that mystique is gone,” said Mike.
Saying goodbye is hard, but Mike picked a good time to retire as his wife JoAnne fell and hurt her shoulder recently. Now he has plenty of time to stay and take care of her.
It may be Mike’s wife, but he’s always had a servant’s heart and he found that throughout the gift of radio.
Through a vacation mixup, Mike drew the short straw and had to interview a radio preacher. He eventually listened to him which led him to find his faith and Jesus.
“Mike gave his life to Christ and has never been the same since,” said JoAnne.
JoAnna is quiet the celebrity herself and receives a lot of comments about Mike but says what Mike is, speaks for who Mike is.
“Even though he may not speak about his faith people have told me so many times we know your husband is a Christian because of his countenance on the air,” said JoAnne.
Mike and his wife have a lot to be thankful for this month, but it does not end there.
“The Lord has blessed me in so many ways. I couldn’t even list them all from family to friends I have made here. God has richly blessed me and I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said Mike.
Now that radio is over Mike and his family will continue living in Tyler because the friendships they’ve developed over the years are irreplaceable.