Longtime radio figure Brian Carter dies at 54

Posted: April 23, 2012

They made a lot of kids late for school.

Brian Carter and his sidekick, Dave Sanborn, thrilled morning radio in Philly as entertaining yakkers and disc jockeys on Power 99 from 1987 to 1999, and later on WDAS.

Carter, the brasher and funnier of the mixed-race duo, died Sunday of a heart attack at home in his native Baltimore. He was 54.

"You and Sanborn raised me," a fan wrote on 99FM's Facebook page. "I listened to you guys all through middle school and high school. When Horace the Taurus came on, I knew I was going to be late for school."

Horace, the lovelorn astrologer, was one of the characters who enhanced Carter and Sanborn in the Morning, along with bluesman and occasional guest Lunchmeat Mumford.

Carter and Sanborn offered some of the most imaginative and outrageous features ever heard on the air.

"I am devastated beyond words by the loss of Brian Carter," said Sanborn, whose real name is Bill Simpson. "He was the best radio partner on the planet, and most importantly, one of my dearest friends.

"We were dear friends from day one. When we met, there was instant chemistry. We would finish each other's sentences."

Another fan wrote on the station's Facebook page the show was "a staple of my upbringing. . . . The opening song, 'Two For the Price of One,' always brought a smile to my face and a dance in my heart."

"Carter and Sanborn are the reason Power 99 is the station it is today," said Ken Johnson, director of urban programming for Clear Channel Media, owner of the station. "They inspired me to recapture the presence in the community Power had when they were on the air."

Loraine Ballard Morrill, director of news and community affairs for Power 99 (WUSL-FM), who was news anchor on the show when it aired, said, "Brian Carter was an icon in radio with a love for the business and giving back to the community. This not only is a loss for his family and friends, it's a loss for broadcasting."

Carter recently worked at WBLS in New York and XM Radio.

WBLS program director Skip Dillard said, "I will miss talking to Brian. I will miss his smile, and, most importantly, his passion for radio that always reminded me why I'm here."

Carter was heard as recently as Saturday on WBLS, when he did his regular 10 a.m.-2 p.m. shift.

When Carter met Sanborn, he was doing Top 40 in the afternoons on WBSB-FM Baltimore, and Sanborn was coanchor of a zoo-type format at Norfolk's Z-104 in his native Virginia.

Power99 program director Dave Allen, who knew Carter, suggested he team with Sanborn. The two jumped at the chance.

They were famous for their quick-witted repartee, as when they were discussing Lunchmeat Mumford, who got his name because he was born on a delicatessen counter in New Orleans.

"They wanted to name him Coldcuts Mumford," Brian said, "but there was already a Coldcuts in his family."

"He always shows up in his one good sportcoat," Sanborn said. "Always brings his guitar, Ethel."

"He just shows up, does a number, and splits," Sanborn said.

"Sometimes he leaves so fast he drops his bottle."

"His liquid diet."

"Thunderbird."

Their show went off the air in January 1999, apparently on amicable terms. They renewed their partnership on WDAS-FM for a few months in 2005.

Brian Carter is survived by his wife, Sandra; two daughters, Natalie and Angela; and a son, Jordan.

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made.


Contact John F. Morrison at 215-854-5573, morrisj@phillynews.com, or follow @johnfmorrison on Twitter

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