In 1966, Gentleman Jim Carter was a teenager in Dallas when he landed his first job at KLIF. His gig? First driver of the KLIF Headliner Cruiser, a $35,000.00 news truck which cruised Big 'D' broadcasting headline news and station promos. Eventually Uncle Sam called, and Carter did a 3 year hitch in the Marines. After a tour in Vietnam, Jim shipped stateside to Camp Pendleton in San Diego and was hired for weekend duty in '68 at KCBQ. One year later, Carter said goodbye to San Diego and the Marines and went back home to Dallas.
He went to KNUS, followed by a stint as the all-night jock at WFAA. Gentleman Jim points out that those were the days when WFAA and WBAP split their frequencies. One was 5000 watts at 570 AM, the other 50,000 watts at 820 AM. Every 6 hours, the stations alternated frequencies. This was reportedly the only such setup in the nation...ever. As Jim entered the 70's, he spent time at WRR, Dallas, KTEM, Temple, KDOK in Tyler, KFWR, San Angelo and KNIT in Abilene.
In 1972, Carter left Texas for Long Island, New York to work at WBAB in Babylon. It was there that Jim pioneered his 'Freak Show', allowing listeners the freedom to call in and do creative bits on the air. The show attracted national attention in several print publications. By 1973, Jim worked for a spell at powerhouse 1520 WKBW in Buffalo, then went on to replace Doug Tracht (The Greaseman) at WAXC in Rochester, New York. While at WAXC, Jim did middays under PD Larry White. The night guy was Tom Birch, who later founded the Birch Rating Report. Carter continued his travels shortly thereafter working swing at WBZ, Boston. Then for a time, he secured his first PD gig at KIXY in San Angelo.
Not long afterward, Mike Lucas of KONO San Antonio brought Carter in to do overnights. Then for the next couple of years, Gentleman Jim served at KXOL (Fort Worth), KLAW 101 (Lawton, Oklahoma), KNUS & KLIF (Dallas) under PD's Jim Davis & Charlie Van Dyke, and then up to Wichita Falls in '78. By 1979, it was back to San Antonio's KONO to do middays under PD Jo Jo Kincaid. After a successful 3 year run at the San Antonio heritage Top 40 outlet, Gentleman Jim moved to KLLS in '83, doing A/C with the likes of Bill Gardner, Bruce Buchanan, and Brian Pierce, with Jim in the 7-Midnight position. One year later, Gentleman Jim Carter left radio full-time.
After working a couple of part-time gigs, he decided it was time to try something else. By 1986, Carter eventually got into telemarketing which has been his mainstay. Says Jim, 'I currently work for the San Antonio Wheelchair Athletes. These are a group of men who play wheelchair basketball during halftime at San Antonio Spur basketball games. We also work with local underprivileged and disabled children by providing athletic racing wheelchairs for them to compete with other kids.'
Jim's hobbies include baseball card collecting, videos of 50's TV shows, and he also maintains an active comic book collection started as a youngster. Jim adds, 'I would love to hear from folks I used to work with and/or fans who may still be alive that might remember hearing (me) someplace along the trail. And of course I will entertain offers from prospective PD's who might be willing to offer me a million dollars to come out of retirement!'
When you look back thru the years, some radio personalities landed in one town and stayed there for their entire careers. Others moved around a lot and worked many towns, many stations, and met many nice folks in the biz. Carter it is safe to say fits in the second description. The name 'Gentleman' fits Jim Carter. He's truly one of the nice guys in the business. You can hear it in his work from those days. You can see it in the way he lives his life.
E-mail Gentleman Jim Carter at JCarter536@aol.com.