Andrew Carter and Mildred Carter

Carter Broadcast studio
Andrew Carter
Mildred Carter
Carter (Photo Credit: Carter Broadcast Group)

Andrew "Skip" Carter’s fascination with radio started early. Raised in Savannah, Georgia, he built his first radio set at age 14. He would become an industry pioneer, putting the first African American-owned station west of the Mississippi — Kansas City’s KPRS-AM, the forerunner of today’s Hot 103 Jamz — on the air in 1950.

It remains the longest continuously Black-owned station in the country, owing also to the work of Carter’s wife, Mildred, who suggested filing for an FM license that was granted in 1963. She then assumed chairmanship of the board upon Andrew’s death in 1988. Andrew, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, studied at the RCA School of Electronics and New York University, but efforts to found his own station were thwarted by the era’s racial attitudes.

He vented his frustration in a letter to Broadcast magazine that was read by former Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, who hired him to run a station he owned in Leavenworth, Kansas. Carter and partner Edward Pate went on to launch KPRS, devoting its playlist to R&B and soul.;

Carter and Pate were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. Mildred’s honors include the Pioneer of Broadcasting Award from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.