Veteran broadcaster Dave Sanborn (born Bill Simpson) recently reflected on his on-air partnership and off-air friendship with former Power 99 and WDAS FM morning personality Brian Carter, who died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Sunday, April 22, less that 12 hours after completing his Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. shift on WBLS in New York. Carter, a father of three, was 56.
The duo hosted the popular radio show “Carter and Sanborn in the Morning,” which aired on Power 99 FM from 1987 to 1999 and on WDAS FM in 2006.
“I’m hanging in there. It was a really, really tough day (Sunday),” Sanborn said from the Clear Channel headquarters in Bala Cynwyd. “I had a little bit more in me to get through this morning, but (Sunday) was really, really hard.”
For 12 frenetic, fun-filled years, Carter and Sanborn captivated morning drive-time audiences with popular “bits” such as the jubilant Friday check-in, set to James Brown’s “It’s a New Day” and “Horace the Taurus,” with Sanborn often playing “straight man” to Carter’s on-air antics.
“It’s kind of funny, because Loraine [Ballard Morrill] had mentioned that Brian was kind of the anchor of the team, and I did all the character voices - Horace the Taurus and all those,” Sanborn explained. “So little did anybody know that I was yuckin’ it up too! The two of us just liked to entertain each other, and it just so happened that the audience was entertained as well.
“That was just us. When we first met, we hit it off like that, and Power 99 hired us right on the spot. When they put us together, we were not only good with our radio chemistry, but as friends, we liked to hang out with each other. We enjoyed each other’s company. We didn’t just hang out because we had to work together, we were in touch with other more than we were with our wives, probably.”
“He was true radio professional,” said WDAS FM midday diva Patty Jackson, now celebrating 30 years in radio. “He loved radio, he loved the music - I mean, he knew his music! He could talk to you about radio for hours, and when he and Sanborn rode the airwaves in the ’90s, it was unprecedented, because now you see how radio is today with syndication taking over. But it was unprecedented that these local guys were able to make the impact that they did.”
“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 & Entertainment. “They inspired me to recapture the presence in the community Power had when they were on the air. Brian was also an inspiration to me personally. He will be missed.”
Ballard Morrill, director of News and Community Affairs and news anchor for the show when it aired on Power 99 says, “Brian Carter was an icon in radio with a love for the business and giving back to the community. This is not only a loss for his family and friends — it’s a loss for broadcasting.”
“My fondest general memory is how much I laughed with him. Laughter was very much a part of our lives, and we shared plenty of tears as well through our trials and tribulations, both personally and professionally,” said Sanborn, who has been pursuing a career as a holistic health practitioner since stepping away from the microphone. “But we were always there to uplift each other, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.”
Sanborn states that a private funeral will be held for Carter in Baltimore, and that a public memorial service, to take place in Philadelphia, is being planned. “We don’t know quite when that’s happening,” he said. “We’re in the process of ironing that down, and then we’ll let the public know for sure.”