She has been the only regular female voice on Atlanta sports radio for many years.
“It was Sandy’s decision,” said Fan owner David Dickey. “She recently got married. Her folks are older and she wanted to focus on family. As she put it, she has done tremendous things in sports radio and sports journalism. She has been fantastic.”
She is married to Larry Wachs, former morning host with the Regular Guys on 96rock and Rock 100.5. (Wachs is now in the mortgage industry.)
Golden, in an interview Tuesday, said the inflection point for her was when the Fan let go of her long-time colleague Steak Shapiro in the fall due to pandemic-related cost cutting. (They also cut veteran mid-day host John Kincade, who is now on a sports station in Philadelphia.).
“The show with me, Steak and Brian was the best one I’ve ever been a part of,” she said. Shapiros departure “forced me to think, ‘This is a business! What do I really want to be doing?’ I didn’t like Steak and John leaving. They were legends at the station, two of the best voices in the market. It shook me. I had to do a reset.”
She said she has future plans and will reveal them later.
“I leave on great terms,” she added. “I’m very thankful and want to go in a field of rainbows and lollipops!”
Shapiro hired Golden two decades ago at the Zone and considers her the best female sports talk show host in America. “It’s the hardest job in sports for women,” he said. “Not sideline reporter. Not news anchor. Not writer. It’s trying to talk sports to guys are are very reluctant to take women seriously in that role.”
Golden came to Atlanta in 1997 after multiple broadcasting stints in Florida. She has built a reputation for her preparation, her sports knowledge and ability to wrestle with the big boys in their playpen. Before joining radio in 2004, she spent seven years at Fox Sports South covering the Atlanta Braves and ACC sports.
She worked at 790/The Zone before moving to 93.7/680 The Fan in early 2011. She was originally part of Christopher Rude’s “Rude Awakening” morning show before moving to the mid-morning Front Row show with Ray Mariner and Brian Finneran. In 2013, Steak Shapiro joined the crew, replacing Mariner. That show moved to early mornings in 2018.
>>RELATED: My 2015 profile on Golden
When Dickey cut Shapiro and Kincade last fall, he moved several of his Sports Xtra 106.3 hosts to the Fan including Joe Hamilton, Brandon ‘Home Team’ Leak, Hutson Mason, and Tug Cowart. Dickey also had staff take pay cuts at the time, even those under contract.
The Fan morning show will now be a two-person team with John Michaels and Brian Finneran.
Dickey said the station is doing well now after a rough spring and is on budget for January.