Tom Joyner Would Have Postponed Retirement For Money: “My Goal Was To Die On The Radio!”
Last Friday, (12/13/19) was radio icon Tom Joyner‘s last time cracking the mic on his 25-year-old show, the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Every morning, nearly 8 million listeners tuned in to his 105 markets reciting his signature jingle, “Oh-oh-oh! It’s the Tom Joyner Morning Show!” In the meantime, Tom Joyner used his influence to encourage African Americans to vote, and send their children to college with scholarships. The icon is, now, opening up to fans about his lifelong journey to radio superstardom.
Tom Joyner says he got his start in radio while marching for civil rights:
“I was a fat kid and they served great food at civil rights marches. Oh my god, the chicken was good. So I’m out there protesting the fact our radio station in this all-black town didn’t play any black music. And this guy who owned the radio station, which was inside a Ford dealership, came out and said, ‘I don’t need this. I’m trying to really sell some cars.’ Tell you what, it’s a sun up, sun down station, every Saturday, I’ll let one of you play all the Aretha and The Temptations that you want.”
At the height of his career, Tom was raking in up to $14 million per year for his work behind the mic:
“…it got to a point where they would – ‘All right, we’re gonna cut your salary in half.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘And then in half.’ ‘Okay.’ And then in half two years ago. Because my salary was based on my results, and not only was I losing affiliates but radio industry as a whole was losing traction.”
He says that he would have reconsidered retirement had he been offered more money:
“Heck yeah! Shoot– my goal was to die on the radio. Have my funeral on the radio!”
Tom Joyner is now passing the torch to his fraternity brother – comedy favorite, Rickey Smiley. His “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is set to take over many of the markets Tom’s show is leaving vacant. Like Rickey’s show, Tom Joyner says his sole purpose was to reach African American ears. He once said:
“We do a show for African Americans. That’s what we do. Don’t worry about crossover. Just super serve, super serve, super serve. Anything that affects African Americans, that’s what you do. Just worry about connecting to people and their needs…Our thing has always been to empower people. But to empower, we have to first entertain. If I’ve got you laughing, I’ve got you listening.”
Tom Joyner has raised more than $60 million in scholarships to send students to historically African-American colleges and universities, which is what he hopes to continue to do in his retirement.
“…putting [money] in the hands of college students to help their tuition at historically black colleges. That’s my goal. All after 12 noon.”
Congratulations on your retirement, Tom Joyner!
Written by Miata Shanay