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SAC Alumnus Sonny…

Meet SAC alumnus Sonny Melendrez, a hall of fame radio broadcaster.
SAC Alum Sonny Melendrez

SAC Alumnus Sonny Melendrez

It's hard not to be affected by the enthusiasm of Sonny Melendrez. He has the energy of someone half his age and it has played a major role in his career as a longtime broadcaster, motivational speaker, and author.

His career path started on registration day at San Antonio College in 1964. He came to SAC expecting to become an artist. But after signing up for his courses, he walked by the college radio station, at the time called WSAC-AM, and realized he could get a degree in radio and television.

"I changed my major and never looked back," he remembers. He became program director at WSAC-AM and worked for Assistant Professor Jean Longwith, calling her the best teacher he ever had.

From SAC, Melendrez went to Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso). He landed his first announcing job with KELP-AM. Within a year, he went to KINT-AM and became the youngest program director in the nation at 19.

He started getting recognition beyond El Paso and in 1971 Billboard magazine crowned him National Radio Personality of the Year - Small Market. He returned to San Antonio and worked at KTSA-AM, where Billboard named him National Radio Personality of the Year - Major Market one year later.

His career took him to Los Angeles, where he worked at KIIS-AM, KMPC-AM and where, in 1983, he hosted Disney's premiere children's television series, Kids Are People Too, which aired for several years.

Melendrez returned to San Antonio in the mid-80s working at KTFM-FM and later at KSMG-FM, enjoying stellar morning drive time ratings.

His distinguished career has led him to be inducted in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame and to be included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Top 100 Radio Personalities of All Time.   

As much as broadcasting has been his passion, Melendrez is also devoted to community service. During his career, he produced a children's recording of the song "We are the World," benefiting USA for Africa and earning a Grammy nomination. He also hosted a national Just Say No Rally at the Washington Monument with First Lady Nancy Reagan. He has also been a keynote speaker and/or hosted at more than 5,000 events.

In San Antonio, the woman who helped coordinate his appearances at Just Say No Rallies was so inspired by his dedication, she petitioned City Hall to name a West Side community center in his honor.

The Sonny Melendrez Community Center was dedicated 20 years ago and Melendrez remains very involved, organizing events such as free back-to-school haircuts, and holiday meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

"Our greatest sense of accomplishment is when we serve others," said Melendrez.

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