2013 Flashback: B98.5 hires Melissa Carter for mornings with Jeff Elliott


Credit: Rodney Ho

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed August 12, 2013

Adult pop station B98.5 has named former Bert Show host Melissa Carter as part of its new morning show, replacing Vikki Locke.

The new male host Jeff Elliott has extensive radio experience in markets such as Los Angeles, Dallas and most recently, West Palm Beach.  He takes over for Kelly Stevens.

Carter and Elliott debuts on Wednesday, August 14. The show will air from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Program Director Chris Eagan said he received more than 100 legitimate job inquiries nationwide after he posted for the job a few weeks ago. "We were just inundated," he said.

Although Elliott and Carter have never worked together before, Eagan paired the two in social settings and liked the chemistry.

"We were looking for something that matches the evolution of B98.5," Eagan said. "As we've freshened the music and delivery and presentation of the station, we wanted to put on a show that mirrored that."

Carter, Eagan said, "brings a good name from the market. The audience that listened to her on the Bert Show should now be the B98.5 audience. They've grown and evolved."

Eagan, who considers B98.5's core audience to be women in their 30s and 40s, said when he heard Elliott's demo tape, he knew that the radio host "understands our target demo and has the content to back it up."

Carter first entered Atlanta radio as the news writer at the Morning X on rock station 99X, then landed a full-time on-air hosting job with the new Bert Show in 2001.

The first openly gay on-air radio host in Atlanta, Carter was known on the Bert Show as the voice of reason. In 2011, she decided to leave voluntarily, unsure whether she even wanted to stay in radio. A year later, she turned up at the new All News 106.7 as an afternoon host but stepped down last week after just over a year on the job.

"I think Melissa will be exceptional" on B98.5, said Jimmy Baron, a former colleague at 99X and friend who is now a real estate agent. "I know that while she enjoyed working at 106.7, the one thing she missed was the opportunity to express herself and talk about things she cares about. She's an unbelievably deep, complex person in the best sense. She's one of the most articulate air personalities in Atlanta. I'm glad she'll have a forum where she can really be herself."

Carter herself said in an email that she's excited about the opportunity: "To be on my own show, on such a respected station, I just couldn't pass that up.  I look forward to once again sharing what's going on with me and in the world with listeners. But don't think I won't be cursing that alarm clock again. :) "

ExploreLocke in June decided to retire and help take care of her ailing father. Stevens left soon after.

Since B98.5 began playing more current, upbeat music the past two years, its ratings have improved. As a result, B98.5 is a consistent top 5 station in the market. During mid-days the past two months, B98.5 is the most popular station in Atlanta, according to Arbitron ratings.

B98.5 (WSB Radio) is operated by Cox Media Group, which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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