A story appearing this week in the London-based Daily Mail Online reported that radio legend Tom Joyner was going to be forced into early retirement next year by REACH Media, owners and distributors of the Tom Joyner Morning Show. The program is the most successful syndicated radio history.
Citing unnamed sources, the Daily Mail claims Joyner’s former business partner, and now his boss, David Kantor, and Radio One, which own controlling interest in REACH Media, are instigating the changes Allegedly Joyner will be replaced after January 2017 with Russ Parr, also currently syndicated by REACH.
REACH Media, which is owned by Radio One, the Black controlled, multi-station media conglomerate, called the article “inaccurate,” and said that it has no exit plans for Joyner.
“Any stories that suggest major changes to the Tom Joyner Morning Show are inaccurate. Tom Joyner is under contract with REACH Media until the end of 2017,” said Melody Talkington, company vice president in a statement. “We expect that REACH will continue to syndicate Tom’s show beyond that date and for as long as he would like to be on the air. There has always been refinements and updates to the show as well as market changes due to local conditions, and there may be some in the future; but Tom Joyner and the Tom Joyner Morning show continues to be strong and is a daily Party with a Purpose. REACH is committed to Tom Joyner for the long term who remains committed to radio, his audience and the future.”
Joyner, 65, started the national The Tom Joyner Morning Show in 1994 with ABC Radio Networks after hosting a morning program in Dallas and an afternoon radio show in Chicago for eight years. In 2003, he launched REACH Media with Kantor, a former ABC Radio Networks executive.
Radio One, acquired a 53 percent of REACH Media stock in November 2004 for $56.1 million in cash and stock. In December 2012 Radio One upped its ownership stake to 80 percent.
Joyner has been long known for his philanthropy, especially for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and his social activism which helped turn out Black voters for Barack Obama. Ironically, the Daily Mail article claims that Joyner’s exit was being timed to the end of the President’s second term in January 2017.
Joyner has also been an advocate for the African-American consumer market and in one instance, he confronted retailer Comp USA for its lack of ad spending on black-targeted media. To prove black consumers’ patronage and impact with the chain store, he asked his national audience of then 15 million listeners to mail in their receipts from purchases with Comp USA. After delivering five mail bags totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchases, Comp USA agreed to an advertising schedule with Joyner’s show.
The Tom Joyner Morning Show currently airs in 105 markets and reaches eight million listeners daily.