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WBCU Loses Member of Our Family as Mike Stevens Passes Away

Daniel Prince

Mike started in broadcasting with WBCU in 1961

We are mourning the loss of one of the members of our WBCU family, Mike Stevens. Mike passed away Tuesday at the age of 76.

Mike worked at WBCU several times through the years, beginning in 1961 as a part-time announcer at the age of 15. He graduated from Camden Military Academy and had planned to make a military career as a pilot, but poor vision kept him from that ambition. After enrolling at Wingate Junior College and later as a student at USC Union in its first year of operation in 1965, he then moved to Washington, D.C., and enrolled in an electronics school there. He held his General Class Radio Telephone Operators License, formally known as First Class License, which was the highest one offered by the FCC.

He returned to WBCU in 1969 to become the station’s first full-time news director. He received an award from the SC American Legion for Meritorious Service for assisting Deputy Sheriff James Lane in pulling an unconscious man from a burning house.

After a stint with the state Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, where he worked as a Public Information Specialist and served as Public Relations Director at Charles Town Landing in Charleston, owner Ed Osborne asked him to return in the late 1970s to serve as Operations Manager. During that time, in 1979, WBCU earned Small Market Radio Station of the Year honors from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association for the second time that decade.

He left in 1988 to become General Manager of WAPT AM-FM in Marion. He then went into business for himself, founding the Union County Shopper, which evolved into Stevens Publishing Company, a commercial printing firm. Many may not know, but the day after Michael and Alex Smith were reported missing in 1994, Mike put all his printing orders on hold and printed up more than 50,000 flyers with pictures of the boys on them at no cost to the town or the family. After selling the printing company, he bought the Whitmire News, which he ran successfully for about five years.

Health issues caused him to sell the paper, and in 2003, Mike returned to WBCU for his final, and longest, stint. From 2003-2012, Mike served as morning announcer, developing a popular and sometimes controversial call-in program, Let’s Talk. In 2012, Mike took a leave of absence to run for mayor against incumbent Harold Thompson and then-Chamber of Commerce Director Torance Inman. Mike finished second in the balloting. He then returned to WBCU, serving as news director until October 2020, when he suffered a stroke and had to retire.

Over the years, Mike earned numerous awards for his service to the communities in which he has lived, including the coveted Distinguished Service Award. For many years, he served as the Voice of the Jackets at Union County Stadium during high school football games. He also published a Christian fiction novel, Satan’s Sanctuary, in 2005. He served as Minister of Music at West Springs Baptist Church and Whitmire First Baptist Church. He leaves behind his wife, Joan; his daughters, Susan, Ashley, and Andi; his sons-in-law, Brent, Barry, and Frank; and his grandchildren: Brody, Darby, Xander, Andrew, Cade, and Avery.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, January 24, at Union Presbyterian Church, conducted by Rev. Lee Mosley and Rev. Sanders Read. Visitation will be immediately following the services at the church.

Mike’s experience in engineering, broadcasting, and journalism was important to us, but his stories, advice, wisdom, and friendship meant so much more. We will greatly miss you, Mr. Mike, and we send our love, support, and prayers to Joan and to the whole family.

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