Melissa Carter leaving Q100’s Bert Show after 10 years

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed March 9, 2011

Melissa Carter is leaving Q100’s Bert Show April 15 after nearly 10 years.

Carter, who joined sister station 99X 15 years ago, started doing news when the Bert Show launched in early 2001, but quickly became a full-fledged member of the team. She said she chose to leave with no safety net, no defined plan for the future.

“I’m taking a risk and I’ve never done that in my life,” Carter said on the air this morning.

Jenn Hobby began crying. “I think it sucks,” she said. She then said she was proud of Carter to “see what life could bring. Selfishly, I’m really upset.”

Melissa Carter’s departure from the Bert Show

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“We are family here,” Carter said. “It’s a tough decision.”

She plans to take a few months off but has no clue what the future will bring. “It’s this instinctual feeling to move on and try something else. That is it. I’m not hiding anything. I’m not playing games with anybody,” she said. “It’s just time.”

Carter, always known as the voice of reason on the team, was the first openly gay morning host in Atlanta radio. She also lived through a kidney transplant while with the show in 2002 and is now 100 percent healthy.

“I’m being stoic until the 15th,” she said afterwards in studio to the other Bert Show members. She hugged everybody but kept the tears in check.

This is the first significant departure on the show since 2002, when Lindsay Brien left, replaced by Hobby.

Bert Weiss said there were no negotiations when her contract came up. She simply told them that her heart wasn’t in it anymore and it was time to move on.

Chris “Crash” Clark, who worked with Carter for many years at 99X, took a break from doing traffic on Dave FM to call in and sing “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone.”

“I wish you the best,” he said. “The whole radio community is going to miss you.”

Then he joked, “Can I have your spot on Bert’s Big Adventure.”

Carter finally started crying when a caller, a closeted lesbian, has decided to come out at work today, inspired by her.

“Bert gave me a hard time wearing black today,” Carter joked during a break.

Thinking more seriously, she said: “I try to live my life as aggressively and honestly as possible. To think about it is overwhelming.”

Most radio personalities have to be shoved out the door. What Carter is doing, leaving on her own terms, is rare indeed.

As for the Bert Show itself, will they fill her seat? Eventually. Bert, after the show, said it’s been a draining week and the team will take Friday off. He said he will seek a replacement for Carter but will take his time doing so. “The show is strong enough with the players on it” to soldier on for now, he said. “Chemistry is so important.”

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

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