If you’ve come to recognize radio personalities by their voice signature and wondered what their lives are like, Mary Saner’s book, “What Else You Got?: Freelancing in Radio” is a fun place to start. It’s a peek into her life as a radio journalist.
Saner has been in the broadcasting business for 40 years, first as a news anchor at WFDMD in Frederick, then as a freelance producer in search of the unique stories found only off the beaten path of broadcasting journalism.
In fact, it was an article about Echo Hill Camp that first brought her through Chestertown 25 years ago. Later, when she and her husband, attorney Robert “Buzz” Saner, thought about moving out of Washington DC, Chestertown rose to the top of their list of potential locations.
“What Else You Got?”—a common editor’s refrain—is a book of vignettes about her ongoing career in broadcasting.
Sparked first by an impromptu broadcast promoting women’s basketball at George Washington University, Saner soon landed in internship at WFMD under the tutelage of the highly respected Bernard Adams. Taking one of life’s left-hand turns, however, the new broadcaster was tasked with news rather than sports.
Her three-month internship at WFMD culminated with a four-part award-winning documentary about teen pregnancy and she was off to another station in Virginia, all the while hearing the call for independence and the freedom and risk of becoming a freelance documentarian.
Saner’s book is an entertaining glimpse into the world of freelance broadcast journalism and the twists and turns that occupation requires. And it’s packed with characters, some anonymous, others, like high-wire artist Philippe Petit or young congressman Bill Clinton, remarkable moments.
Oh, did I mention that she also rides motorcycles?
The Spy recently talked with Mary Saner about her career and what lies ahead.
This video is approximately 12 minutes in length. Her book may be purchased at the Bookplate in Chestertown.