WIBW-TV Turns 50!

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You could see Thad Sandstrom almost anywhere in town.. with the governor or at the groundbreaking for a station expansion, doubling the size of our TV and radio stations.

But things were not going well for him at home.. refusing his wife's demand for a divorce.. she cracked under the pressure.. and shot Sandstrom twice at their home in Northwest Topeka on May 3, 1977. The shooting death of Channel 13's general manager stunned the station and the community.

The lawyers are well known in Topeka.. Gene Olander prosecuted the case against Milda Sandstrom.. while she was defended by a young, dark haired Bob Hecht. By the first week in December, the trial was over. 13 News Reporter Nan Gopplerud ran down the three flights of stairs at the Shawnee County Courthouse to announce Milda was found guilty of murder.

The station found under Thad's leadership.. a system was already in place to manage WIBW. It was an uneasy time, but life went on. The Sandstrom story still made headlines this year.. last March, Milda Sandstrom asked the Kansas Supreme Court to clear her name and her record. That would allow her to earn a license to become a drug counselor at a medical center in Arizona, where she now lives.

The justices denied her request.

13 at 50 Stories:

  • Birth of a Station
  • Eyeball to Eyeball
  • The Topeka Tornado Story
  • Hoops and Horses
  • The Sandstrom Trial
  • WIB and Whizzo
  • Fifty and Growing