A familiar voice signs off the news; plans new program to air on WETS-FM

Published 10:29 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – Fred Sauceman, news director at WETS-FM, will sign off the news desk for the last time today, June 30, after a decade of delivering local and regional news at the station.
In 2013, WETS-FM introduced its first news department in its 40-year history, with Sauceman at the helm to add local news content during National Public Radio’s newsmagazines “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” For the last 10 years, Sauceman has focused on stories and issues that affect listeners in the region, such as education, the environment, the economy and local and state government.
“Fred Sauceman has elevated the news coverage at WETS and has been a steady, consistent and trusted voice in our community,” said WETS-FM Station Director Chad Barrett. “Thankfully, our listeners will continue to hear his familiar voice on the radio, even after he’s concluded his role as news director.”
Sauceman is stepping away from his day-to-day role in news to plan a new program called “Vital Voices,” which is set to begin airing later this summer on WETS. Airtimes will be 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, and the program will feature guests from a wide variety of fields. He will also continue to record underwriting credits and public service announcements to air on WETS.
“I have listened to WETS since it first went on the air in 1974, my senior year in high school,” Sauceman said. “When I was a student at ETSU, I used to have the station on while I was studying for my classes. Then, beginning in 1985, I oversaw station operations through my position as head of the University Relations office at ETSU. For nearly 50 years, WETS has entertained, informed and uplifted our region, and being part of the station’s staff has been one of my life’s greatest honors.”
Sauceman began his radio career in Greeneville, hosting pop-rock shows as a teenager. He spent his early days on the air doing everything from reading obituaries and birth announcements to election coverage to DJ’ing country music. He also worked in television, doing field reporting and anchor work for WKPT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Kingsport.
He spent the majority of his career in higher education administration at East Tennessee State University, leading the Alumni Office for several years and the Office of University Relations for 25 years. In 2012, he retired from his full-time role at ETSU and returned to radio as news director at WETS-FM.
Sauceman is also a published author and columnist, known for his writing about Southern and Appalachian foodways. He and his wife, Jill, write the “Flavors” column for Blue Ridge Country magazine. Sauceman shares his food expertise on a monthly segment on WJHL-TV called “Food with Fred” and in a monthly column in the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times-News called “Potluck.”

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