“Mike Sauceda has been on the front lines of all of the big stories in Arizona for more than 35 years,” says Allysa Adams, the Executive Producer of News and Public Affairs at Arizona PBS. “He knows all of the players, all of the nuances of the stories and how the history of the state plays into each story line. He always runs to the big stories. Dropping whatever is going on in his life and making sure the team he is working with has what they need to get the word out. He is a true journalist in both his instincts and his craft. He checks and double checks facts, maintains a laser focus on the topic at hand and he is as quick a writer as anyone I’ve ever seen. But more importantly Mike is the guy in the field who will give others advice, hold their microphones, give them background and share whatever resources and knowledge he can. He’s the guy you want next to you in the scrum, because you know he’s got your back no matter whom you work for.”
Mike grew up in Eloy, Arizona in a family of 10 children. After graduating from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in 1979, Mike attended Central Arizona College, where he wound up as a staff reporter for school newspaper, “The CACtus.” While at Central Arizona College, Mike also worked at KPIN (now KFAS), a Casa Grande radio station. One of his duties at KPIN included writing the “CoffeeGram,” a one-sheet newsletter that he delivered in his 1973 Ford Maverick to local restaurants every morning.
In 1984, Mike was hired to work at KOOL-FM radio as a reporter. He later worked at KOY-AM radio as a reporter, and then went on to KTAR-AM, where he worked for 24 years as a full- and part-time news anchor. In 1990, Mike went to work at KAET-TV as a producer/reporter for Arizona Horizon, where he has been ever since.
“It is a testament to Mike Sauceda’s longevity in local broadcasting that he knows – and knows how to contact – so many movers and shakers in the Phoenix area,” says Arizona Horizon anchor Ted Simons. “Mike’s Rolodex is considerable and exemplifies his many years of reporting and producing newscasts in the Valley. Mike’s experience helps add context and institutional knowledge to the shows he has produced and the news stories he has helped put together. He knows where many of the bodies are buried in local politics, which especially benefits Arizona Horizon’s mission of covering key public policy issues, a mission that Mike understands and has long embraced.”
Mike has also worked at KJZZ radio, Skyview Satellite radio, done stories for PBS’s Nightly Business Report and taught at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“One thing I think everyone agrees with about Mike is that he is a genuinely nice guy,” says Arizona PBS’s Allysa Adams. “There is no hidden agenda underneath his warm and friendly demeanor. In a world where stress and deadline pressure can turn the best of us into crabs, Mike rarely has a bitter moment. He is as friendly at the press conference, asking about families and vacations, as he is in the office and the control room during shows when his smart barbs often breaks through the tension. He has a great sense of humor dropping current event jokes sprinkled with silly puns that often illicit groans. Somehow, the cynicism that usually seeps into journalists over the years has never made a home in Mike’s psyche. He’s a positive force in our news room and we feel lucky to have him on our staff.”