Beltway BuzzFeature Story

Joe Lee Sanders, gospel radio announcer who championed indie artists, passes away; services announced

Independent artists are mourning the loss of one of their biggest supporters.

Joe Lee Sanders, host of the popular Praise Fest Show, passed away, on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.   Sanders was an avid supporter  of local and national gospel artists. His show which aired on Radio One (WYCB) featured music and interviews.  One of the many things  Joe Lee Sanders will be most remembered for was his dedication to supporting independent gospel artists in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and throughout the country.  Sanders shined a spotlight on many lesser known artists, providing them a platform that exposed them to a broader audience.

A native of in Washington, DC., Joe  Lee Sanders was a gifted musician who got  his musical start playing Joe Lee Sanders passes awaytrombone in the Cardozo High School Marching Band and piano with the Jazz Band. Over the year Sanders would come to be known as a contemporary Gospel/Jazz pianist/organist & songwriter. He  was  active in the Prince Georges  County Maryland Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) and was CEO of Hosanna Singers /Hosanna Band. In 2014, he was honored by DMV and independent national recording artists for his work.

Music was not his only love. He was a man of great faith. Sanders was an ordained minister, serving as Overseer within the church.

Stellar Award winner Phillip Carter posted about Sanders: “He was a champion and a servant to those who needed exposure.” Watch Joe Lee Sanders being interviewed by Phillip Carter

Joe Lee Sanders will be greatly missed within the gospel community, especially in the DMV. Tributes and condolences poured in from those whose lives were touched by Sanders. Here’s a sample:

“Joe Lee Sanders was a CHAMPION for Indie Gospel Artists, a musician & songwriter. He was one of the first radio hosts to play my music on his show “PraiseFest” on WYCB 1340AM back in 2013. My prayers go out to his family, friends and the gospel music community”.~Recording artist Ronnette Harrison

“He was a multi-talented individual and was known as a gifted musician and radio announcer. Joe was truly a door opener in this market. His knowledge of the industry was vast and his heart was even bigger.”-Publicist and author, Andrea Williams

“Can’t believe you’ve taken your rest. You were an honest, tender, and generous human being… I’m so glad I called you friend Joe Lee Sanders.”~Recording artist Summer Pearson

“He was a Pillar to the Indep Artist DMV Community. Got my start in Radio/Media because of Him.  #RIH #ThePraiseFestShow1340WYCB”~ Announcer Reniar Montgomery

Here are the services that will be held for Joe Lee Sanders:

Memorial Tribute Concert
Friday, December 7 p.m.
Honoring the life and legacy of Overseer Joe Sanders
New Hope AME Church
12310 Washington Sq.
Waldorf, MD 20601

Homegoing Celebration
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Viewing: 10 a.m.
Homegoing: 11 a.m.
Grace Apostolic Church
4417 Dix St., N.E.
Washington, D.C., 20019

For more information or to participate in the memorial tribute,  contact Restine Jackson or Phillip Carter via FB Messenger or email Phillip Carter at [email protected]

Sarah Hearn
the authorSarah Hearn
Sarah Hearn is Editor-in-Chief of, founded in 2011. The site was recently named among Feedspot's Top Gospel and Christian Music Websites.  Sarah is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gospel Music Association.
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