Sandra Joy McCurdy spent the first five years of her life in North Carlton but grew up in East Reservoir with her parents Ron and Joyce and younger brother John. Sandra’s interest in music no doubt stemmed from her upbringing, as she can well recall her grandmother’s pianola, her other grandmother’s piano playing skills and her aunt being given singing lessons. At the ripe old age of 8, Sandra began playing piano – classical pieces as well as music from the shows. Collecting Rock ‘n’ Roll 45’s was also an interest, however Sandra gave them all away to a needy family.
Having finished school, Sandra successfully completed a four year apprenticeship as a women’s hairdresser and was prepared to open a business, but opted instead for the chance to own her own home. Sandra met her husband Alan at her aunt’s Northcote milk bar. Three years later they were engaged and then married the following year. Together they raised two sons – Scott and Trent. Sadly Alan passed away in 2010.
Community Radio and Inner FM entered Sandra’s life by way of son Trent’s involvement. Sandra made her debut on Carousel and made many "fill in" appearances on other programs before being offered her own timeslot in 1992. Sandra’s apprehensiveness to take on the show was quickly put aside by the support and encouragement of the late Ken Gillin (studio co-coordinator and fellow presenter). "Ken kept telling me "just be you". He even came up with the name Sunday with Sandra", she recalls. "The listeners and other presenters were also extremely positive. I was never an outgoing person and even today, after 17 years on air, I can still feel a little shy."
The hard work certainly paid off for Sandra, because in 1993 at Inner FM’s inaugural Awards Night presentation, she tied for the Most Popular Personality Award. She then went on to win the award again in 1994, 95, 96 and 97. "Sunday with Sandra" was voted Most Popular Easy Listening Program in 1994, 95, 96 and 97. Sandra also successfully completed the Melbourne Radio School’s "Intro to Commercial Radio Course" in 1997.
So what’s the secret to Sandra’s success? "Always try to be as professional as possible but enjoy what you do. Focus on what your listeners want and keep the music flowing and fresh. I feel privileged to have met and made friends with so many people – listeners and fellow presenters alike, and to be able to share my music and have the chance to present a program – it’s something I am very proud of." In 2010 Sunday with Sandra enters its 18th year on air. And Sandra’s plans for the future at Inner FM? "I hope to continue my success and keep Inner FM at the forefront of community radio in Melbourne, where we belong."
Sandra McCurdy can be heard every Sunday afternoon on "Sunday with Sandra" between 1.30pm and 3pm.