At 7:25 Wednesday morning, Q100 news director Melissa Carter announced to listeners she would depart The Bert Show next month at the end of her current contract. A decade ago, Carter became the first out lesbian on the city’s morning airwaves when she joined Bert Weiss, Jeff Dauler and former “Real World Seattle” cast member Lindsay Brien to debut The Bert Show in March 2001.
On the eve of the announcement, Carter, 41, spoke exclusively with Intel about her decision to leave. “It’s just the right time to try something new,” she explained. “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 says she’s not leaving for another job and doesn’t have any set plans aside from taking a couple of months off. “I’m literally jumping off the building and hoping a net will appear,” she conceded with a chuckle. “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.”
She says she’s been considering her exit since last fall and following last month’s Bert’s Big Adventure trip, quietly informed Weiss of her decision not to re-sign her contract when it expires March 31. She plans to remain with the station until April 15. “I will always be grateful to Bert for building this amazing greenhouse where I’ve been able to grow, express myself and hopefully serve a larger purpose. That’s what I’m looking for moving forward. A position that leaves me as fulfilled, a chance to express myself and pay it forward to others.”
Carter’s career in broadcasting began 15 years ago at Q100’s sister station 99X when Morning X producer Jimmy Baron hired her to write news for The Morning X. In 2001, when Q100 was set to launch, station management and Weiss took a calculated risk that the city was ready for a warm if opinionated feminist and out lesbian. It was. The Bert Show has become one of the city’s most popular morning drive shows. Last summer, the show went into syndication and is now heard in Nashville as well as Atlanta.
In 2002, Carter, a dialysis patient, memorably took listeners on her often painful search for a kidney donor and her subsequent successful transplant surgery in November of that year at Piedmont Hospital.
Over the past decade, Carter has served as the grand marshal in the city’s Gay Pride parade and, by living her life openly on air, an ongoing inspiration for listeners.
Carter recently received an email from a Q100 listener who began tuning in a decade ago when her daughter was five. At age 15, her daughter decided to come out to her mother. “She said that because she had been listening to The Bert Show for the past 10 years, she knew how handle it and she knew that everything would be OK.” Holding back tears, Carter quietly added: “When I get an email like that, I feel incredibly proud of the work I’ve done and the work The Bert Show has done. I can’t help but think how different my life would have been if I had been able to turn on my radio at 15 and hear someone like me. Hopefully, we’ve helped to made a difference.”