WILKES-BARRE — Nanticoke native Brian Carey has returned to the New York City airwaves after a five-month recovery from a beating that nearly took his life.
Carey, 52, is the afternoon drive news anchor at 1010 WINS in Manhattan, billed as one of the most listened to radio station in the country. He was back on the air Wednesday.
The beating took place on Sept. 9 in Carey’s Manhattan apartment. Elton Anthony, a man Carey described as a person he trusted and who did errands for him, is facing felony assault charges. His next scheduled court date is March 17.
“It feels wonderful to be back on the air,” Carey said Thursday. “They tell me I almost died. I can say that the support of family, friends, colleagues and listeners played a major role in my recovery.”
Growing up in Nanticoke, where he attended high school, Carey then went to King’s College, graduating in 1983 with a degree in communications/English. Having cultivated many friendships along the way, Carey never realized how important those people would be later in life.
But as Carey said, during his five-month recovery, he discovered just how many good people are out there. Because of the tremendous amount of support, Carey is back in the job he’s had for 14 years, broadcasting the news 3 p.m. to 6 :30 p.m. every weekday.
“All the time I was recovering, I looked forward to getting back to my job,” he said. “I just felt like a fish out of water.”
His station, 1010 WINS, is where “everybody looks for news,” Carey said. “In New York when you’re looking for news, you turn to us,” he said. “And I enjoy letting people know what’s happening.”
Carey has been doing just that for years, having started out at WRKC, the King’s radio station, and then working at WBRE-TV for two years.
He said he got his first real job at WNAK in Nanticoke, not so much because of his talent, but rather because he agreed to also cut the grass. He worked as news director at WILK Radio in Wilkes-Barre, then later at WARM Radio, where he anchored the Five O’clock PM News Hour, and he was the morning anchor on MAGIC 93 FM.
His award-winning career has taken him to major markets in Philadelphia and then to New York City.
Won’t get over incident
Carey understandably doesn’t like to talk about the attack that left him with bleeding on the brain, a broken jaw and a shattered eye socket. He said it’s something he doesn’t expect to get over completely.
“This was a person I completely trusted,” he said. “One minute I’m in my apartment about to eat and two days later I awoke from a medically induced coma.”
Carey, who has Multiple Sclerosis, relied on Anthony for help. He had recently returned from a trip to the shore and needed his apartment cleaned and some groceries.
“This person did those things for me,” he said.
He said Anthony “just lost it.” He said there was no arguing before the attack.
After his hospitalization, Carey returned to Nanticoke to recover. His brother, James, said family and friends visited Brian at home.
“It’s true, there’s a silver lining in everything,” James Carey said. “This was a terrible situation that upset everybody. But the outpouring of support and compassion from so many people really helped Brain’s rehab.”
James Carey went to his brother’s side at First Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He said doctors told him they were unsure Brian would live.
“Brian has been through many difficult bouts with the MS,” James Carey said. “But after the attack, he didn’t want to leave his job. The people at work were so supportive. And Brian didn’t want to go out this way. He could have filed for disability, but that’s not him. When he retires, he wants to do it on his terms.”
Brian Carey often comes home for visits. He has a home in the Nanticoke area. He keeps in touch with many friends, like former WBRE colleagues Kevin Jordan and Kathy Bozinski, and the Rev. Tom Carten, formerly of King’s College.
“King’s will always be a phenomenal place for me,” he said. “I learned so much there that prepared me for the future. People there genuinely cared about me.”
The attack has had deep effects on Carey.
“It did change my life,” he said. “The experience showed me how many good people are out there. So many have been there for me.”
Carey said he has heard from too many people to ever be able to mention them all. He said that through Facebook, phone calls and e-mails messages have come from high school and college friends — many he hadn’t talked to in decades.
“That made me feel really good about people,” Carey said. “Yes, this was a terrible thing that happened, but it showed me how good people can be. They really were a big part of me getting through all of this.”
Carey said he is much more careful who he talks to and, especially, who he trusts.
“Of course you have to be careful who you talk to,” he said. “But I’m a Christian and I’m a caring person and always will be.”