StarDate Radio Celebrates 15 Years with Announcer Sandy Wood

28 August 2006

SAN ANTONIO — StarDate announcer Sandy Wood of San Antonio will be honored this Thursday, August 31, for 15 years as presenter of the long-running astronomy radio feature. Texas Public Radio is sponsoring the event, called “Hands on the Night Sky,” for members of its radio stations. (The event is not open to the public.)


StarDate made its debut on the nation’s airwaves in 1978. Today, it’s the longest-running nationally broadcast science module. Wood became StarDate announcer on September 16, 1991.

“I love it,” she says. “It has been a wonderful experience. … I’m grateful to have a job of any kind for 15 years, one that uses what you think are your natural abilities, and where you can work with people you like and respect.”

Wood has been a radio disc jockey and talk-show host, and a writer and producer in both radio and television. She also is an award-winning voice talent, having received recognition at the New York Festival and Addy Awards. She has recorded for national, regional, and local clients. Additionally, Wood is Chairman of the Board of The Wood Agency, a San Antonio-based marketing and advertising firm.

“A voice talent does a lot of work that can be meaningless,” Wood says. “To do something that has real weight and substance is really rewarding.”

The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory produces the daily, two-minute looks at topics in astronomy and space science. About half of each month’s programs are related to skywatching: eclipses, meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, stars and constellations, and so on. Other topics relate to important anniversaries, recent scientific discoveries, Earth’s place in the cosmos, and related topics that help place astronomy in a broader cultural perspective.

At this Thursday’s event, Wood will give a brief talk on the ancient sky lore of the Egyptians, Persians, Incas, and Inuit. As the night sky is marked by countless star patterns and constellations, she will explain how individual cultures in the ancient world saw these patterns as visual representations of their peoples’ place in the cosmos.

Wood’s presentation will be followed by StarDate producer Damond Benningfield, who will talk about the StarDate radio program. Benningfield is also celebrating 15 years with the show.

Following the two StarDate presentations, Dr. Hunter Waite, a scientist with Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, will talk on recently gathered data from Saturn's largest moon Titan. Waite is the Facility Team Leader for the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer, one of the instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft now studying Saturn, its moons, and rings.

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For more information on StarDate radio, contact Marketing Manager Vincent Perez at 512-475-6760 or via e-mail at