Duaine Sanden, a Grand Forks radio personality who was a fixture at sporting events, county fairs, holiday music concerts and racing for decades, died Sunday. He was 74.
Sanden started his radio career in 1959 at KILO Radio. He later called high school sporting events and UND sporting events and in 2018 he was inducted into the North Dakota Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
He also was heavily involved in the Grand Forks racing scene for years. For years he did a weekly racing program and later was inducted into the River Cities Speedway Hall of Fame.His radio career, however, was diverse. For 55 straight years, Sanden recorded then broadcast area high school holiday music programs on Christmas Day.
He was a fixture on weekend radio in Grand Forks. His weekends, for years, usually started with a Saturday morning coaches show.
His passion for county fairs was immense, said Mark Landa, who is on the Greater Grand Forks Fair board.
“He loved everything about the fair and putting on the event for the people,” said Landa. “He basically restarted the fair in Grand Forks in the mid-1980s.”
Sanden also served as a member of the Greater Grand Forks Fair board of directors. And his promotion of county fairs throughout the region also resulted in his induction into the North Dakota Association of Fairs Hall of Fame in 2016.
Sanden started his radio career when he was 13 years old.
“He went the extra mile,” said former radio colleague Mike Hergert. “Whether it was high school sports, the music over the holidays or the county fair, those seemed to be his passions. His car was always filled with equipment.
“He was a tireless workhorse.”
Another former radio colleague, David Schroeder, said Sanden was a familiar radio voice in Grand Forks and the region for decades.
“It was pretty much a seven-day-a-week thing for Duaine, always,” said Schroeder. “He stayed in the radio business his entire life. It was his life.
“He knew everybody.”
In his later years, Sanden also became the owner of the Maple Lake Pavilion near Mentor, Minn.