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|Melissa Carter to leave Q100's 'The Bert Show'|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|March 09, 2011 12:31|
Melissa Carter of the popular Q100 Bert Show announced today she is leaving the station with her last day being April 15.
Carter, who is openly gay, was the first out lesbian on Atlanta's airwaves and is likely one of the few openly gay radio hosts for a major program in the nation.
In an interview with Rich Eldredge, a gay journalist for Atlanta Magazine, Carter said she is ready for something new in her career.
"It's just the right time to try something new," she said. "It's been a privilege to be a part of something as wonderful and unique as The Bert Show. But on a personal level, it's time to challenge myself, take a risk and let the universe pull me in the direction I need to be in."
Carter's contract expires March 31 and she told Eldredge that she is not sure what the future holds other than taking a few months off.
"I'm literally jumping off the building and hoping a net will appear," she said. "But my whole career in broadcasting has been like that. It's never been about this intricately plotted career course but rather a series of leaps of faith."
Carter, 41, who has been with the Bert Show since 2001, had a kidney transplant in 2002, a year after her father died. These two events happening so close together made her think heavily about her mortality, she told GA Voice last April about possible plans to become a mother.
“I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the transplant. And with his death … the idea of life and the end of life was heavy on my mind,” she said.
“When you really make an impact and selfishly live forever … that is only through your family. That’s not a motherly thing to say but that’s part of it — I’m being honest,” she says.
She also said during that April interview that when she and her partner, Katie Jo, decided to become parents it would be likely she would have to leave The Bert Show. Currently she wakes up every day at 3 a.m., works all day, squeezes in a nap in the afternoon, and works night events for the radio station while getting maybe four hours of sleep at night.
“I love my job. It’s the best job in the world. If Bert would just move the show to the afternoon, it would be even better,” she said with a laugh.
Carter is quick to explain that a kidney transplant is not a cure and that she lives her life now as a chronically ill person. Every day she faces the knowledge her other kidney could quit.
“When I came through the transplant, I felt almost an obligation to live life better than before. And as a woman I wanted to live fully as possible and for me motherhood is part of that,” she said.
Carter partnered with Piedmont Hospital to found the Melissa Carter Transplant Fund to aid kidney transplant recipients and nurses.
But in Atlanta's gay community, Carter has shone above others with her continuous advocacy work with various organizations as well as being open and honest about her sexual orientation on the airwaves reaching thousands of people each morning.
During today's show, Carter did not break down into tears until a closeted lesbian called in to say she was inspired by Carter and decided to come out at work, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Carter's work within the LGBT community included emceeing numerous fundraisers for various nonprofit organizations. She was named a grand marshal of last year's Atlanta Pride parade.
She and Katie Jo live in North Atlanta.
Top photo: Melissa Carter (Photo by Bo Shell)
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