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Tom Joyner announces he’s retiring in two years

Tom Joyner. (blackamericaweb.com)

Times Staff and Press Reports

Tom Joyner. (blackamericaweb.com)

Radio personality, and Tuskegee native, Tom Joyner announced yesterday that although he has just renewed his contract for two more years, after that, he’s hanging up his microphone and retiring – in a manner of speaking.

Joyner made the big announcement in his Fly Jock Blog on blackamericaweb.com. The headline, “Bigger and Better Things Ahead [and] I’m putting in my two-year notice,” signaled change, but the rest of the blog made it clear Joyner is not exactly going away.

“Everyone who’s been on this ride with the Tom Joyner Morning Show for the last close to 25 years knows I like to do things Big,” he wrote. “We started big from day one with a live in-house band (Uncle Butchie and the Live House) led by the late Morris “Butch” Stewart and our inaugural guest Luther Vandross, a groundbreaking soap opera “It’s Your World”, and we grew from there.

“We kicked off some signature, never been done before campaigns and events like the national Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, Sky Shows and the Fantastic Voyage Cruise. We’ve never wavered from our original goal..to entertain, to empower and inform and for the next two years we’ll continue to fight the good fight for the causes important to our audiences…voter registration, policies that impact our community, and raising more than $65 million and counting for my beloved Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Joyner’s status as a radio fixture began in 1994, when he began hosting the The Tom Joyner Morning Show in syndication. He earned the nickname “The Fly Jock” before that, however, because he would host mornings for 104.5 KKDA-FM Dallas “and then fly to Chicago every day to do afternoons at 107.5 WGCI for eight years,” said the website radioinsight.com. Joyner’s morning show, now syndicated through Reach Media, can be heard on more than 80 stations across the country.

Reach Media, itself, was founded in 2003 by Joyner and David Kantor to distribute the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which had previously aired on the ABC Radio Networks. Controlling stake in Reach was sold to Radio-One in 2004, with Radio-One increasing their ownership to 80 percent in 2012, according to radioinsight.com.

Joyner, who graduated with a degree in sociology from Tuskegee Institute, began his career as a broadcaster in Montgomery, working at stations in the South and Midwest before moving in 1978 to Chicago.

Besides being a radio pioneer, Joyner is a significant supporter of historically black colleges and universities. He has raised more than $100 million for HBCUs, according to tvone.tv. In 2005, Joyner began a relatively short-lived but highly rated syndicated television program – The Tom Joyner Show – which can be found in reruns on TV One cable.

In his blog post, Joyner suggested that the next two years, and beyond would be interesting for fans.As we take things to the next level, personally and professionally, we’ll be in celebration mode with more guests, more parties, and more opportunities to Meet Every Listener.

“As we take things to the next level, personally and professionally, we’ll be in celebration mode with more guests, more parties, and more opportunities to Meet Every Listener,” Joyner wrote. “We’ve touched a lot of lives and we love and appreciate the millions of people who are part of the TJMS family. So much has happened since we went on the air in 1994…good and bad…and we all went through it together.

“Well, the Party with a Purpose isn’t over, there’s still so much to do and I couldn’t do it without you. Do me a favor and be thinking of the acts and groups you’d like to see perform live, the guests you’d like us to book, the events you’d like us to cover and even the issues you’d like for us to address. Most importantly, send me your favorite moments and memories from the TJMS and we’ll try to go the vault and find them. We want to hear your TJMS stories. We might air them or include them in a blog. Extra points if you send photos or video.”

Joyner closed by promising that he would remain “reachable” and that, “the celebration will be epic as we remember the guests, the laughs, the tears, the bits, the unforgettable moments we’ve shared together…and, of course we’ll be making new memories along the way.”