Bill Carter, dies from injuries sustained when struck by car
By: by April Jackson, The Chronicle
Graveside services were held Sunday, January 13, at Oakland Cemetery in Trenton.
He was walking the three blocks from his home to WIRJ radio station on 22nd Avenue at about 9:50 a.m. As was his usual schedule, he would be at the radio station well in advance of his 11:30 a.m. airtime of Shop and Swap, the area’s most popular and longtime live classified call-in show.
According to the police report, heavy rain and very dark conditions were contributing factors. Neither Carter or the driver had a line of sight on the other as Carter attempted to cross Main Street near the intersection at 22nd Avenue.
After being transported to Humboldt General Hospital, Carter was taken to The Med in Memphis suffering from a broken back, a broken right leg and other associated injuries. He died at 9:48 p.m.
WIRJ owner Frank Warmath expressed his sorrow Friday: “It is fair to say that Bill Carter was an institution and icon, having worked in radio longer than Larry King. His authentic style, melodic voice and unwavering patience are the hallmarks of a true professional. He was a kind, gentle, funny and extremely selfless man. Bill will be sorely missed by all of us,” Warmath said.
Generations of listeners identify with the silver-tongued host of the long popular radio show that allowed callers to offer to sell or buy items, even to rent or trade on the air. Carter had been on the job since 1956 when Shop and Swap was a 15-minute program. Most recently, it began at 11:30 a.m. and ran for two full hours each weekday and on Saturdays.
According to Warmath, Carter graduated from Lambuth College on a Friday in December of 1949. “The following Monday, he came to work at WIRJ as a copywriter. Soon thereafter, Bill began to host Shop and Swap on Saturdays and later became the program’s fulltime host. Other than a brief period of retirement to stay home and look after his ailing mother, Bill has been on the job seven days a week, fifty-two weeks of the year for 58 years.”
WIRJ AM radio launched on February 3, 1949 as one of the first radio stations serving West Tennessee. It was the first business venture of local attorney, the late J. Frank Warmath and Lee Potter of Nashville. The station was immediately popular with the radio classified program, Shop and Swap.