At its peak it aired in upwards of 120 markets and reaching more than 15 million listeners daily.
The Tom Joyner Morning Show became the number one syndicated urban morning show and one of the most-successful syndicated shows in the history of radio.
‘He was like the Muhammad Ali of radio, the greatest of all time. He was a superstar in the Black community and had crossover appeal that made him respected by the mainstream as well,’ says the source.
Joyner’s status skyrocketed and he instantly became a multimillionaire.
In 2003, he launched Reach Media with Kantor who left ABC Radio Networks to run Joyner’s Texas-based media company.
In November 2004, Radio One acquired a 53% stake in Reach Media for $56.1 million in cash and stock, which gave them ownership rights of The Tom Joyner Morning Show and Joyner’s website BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Nearly a year later, in September 2005, comedian Steve Harvey launched his own syndicated radio program The Steve Harvey Morning Show with Premiere Radio Networks and became direct competition for Joyner in many markets.
Harvey, who starred in the Spike Lee film The Original Kings of Comedy, had hosted a morning radio program in Los Angeles for Radio One for five years. But he had an explosive parting of ways with the company’s founder Cathy Hughes and the company let him go before his contract ended in May 2005.
Harvey originally approached Joyner and Kantor about syndicating his show nationally after falling out with Radio One, but Kantor told him ‘he would never work in syndication’ because Harvey had a reputation for ‘being difficult and nasty to fans.’
After a short time in syndication, Harvey’s morning show became a hit and began to pose a serious threat for Joyner.
In recent years, with the success of the 58-year-old Harvey’s daytime talk show, film projects, bestselling books and his game show Family Feud; the comedian’s radio program has eclipsed Joyner’s with larger markets and more listeners.
In 2012, Kantor encouraged Joyner to sell more stakes in Reach Media to Radio One, a source tells Daily Mail Online.
In December of that year, Radio One increased its stake to 80% and that decision was something that Joyner would live to regret.
‘While both Tom and David made millions each time a new deal was done with Radio One; Tom had less control of the company he once owned, while David gained more power.
‘Each year they would make Tom lay off long-term employees and comediennes like Miss Dupree and Myra J.
‘It killed Tom to just get rid of the people who had been loyal to him from the beginning, but he had no say in the matter,’ the source tells Daily Mail Online.
In 2014, a quiet plan was put into place to phase Joyner out of radio completely by the end of 2016 to lineup with the culmination of the Presidential election and President Obama’s departure from the White House.
‘Tom’s show has always been about community activism, education and social justice and he played a major part in helping President Obama get elected.
‘They felt that the end of Obama’s term would be the ideal time for him to also leave,’ explains the source.
Joyner has responded on Twitter with the following:
The Party with a Purpose® that’s been here for you for years is not stopping!
— Tom Joyner (@TJMShow) December 1, 2015
We’ll talk to you in the morning on your radio! (P.S. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet)
— Tom Joyner (@TJMShow) December 1, 2015
His team has also released the following statement, denying these reports.
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. 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.