*Tom Joyner, 65, is reportedly being pushed out of his own syndicated radio show to make room for younger talent.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the radio legend will be forced into early retirement next year so that Radio One – which owns a majority stake in Reach Media’s The Tom Joyner Morning Show – can move its other syndicated host Russ Parr, 56, into Joyner’s chair.
Also, Joyner’s forced departure is reportedly timed to coincide with the end of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016. According to the Daily Mail, a “quiet plan” to phase Joyner out took root in 2014 “to lineup with the culmination of the Presidential election and President Obama’s departure from the White House.”
A source explained: “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.”
Reach Media has responded to Daily Mail Online’s story, saying: “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.”
Ironically, a source told Daily Mail Online that the plan to dump Joyner was masterminded by his best friend and former business associate David Kantor, “the man who actually launched Tom into syndication originally.”
Quick backstory on Kantor:
Joyner launched “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” in 1994 with ABC Radio Networks, where Kantor was an executive. It was Kantor’s idea to launch Joyner into national syndication – and the program quickly became the number one syndicated urban morning show, with more than 15 million listeners daily in over 120 markets at its peak. In 2003, Joyner 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 the company ownership rights of The Tom Joyner Morning Show and Joyner’s website BlackAmericaWeb.com. In 2012, Kantor encouraged Joyner to sell more stakes in Reach Media to Radio One, a source tells the Daily Mail. In December of that year, Radio One increased its stake to 80% and that decision, according to Daily Mail, “was something that Joyner would live to regret.”
Per Daily Mail Online:
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.
Joyner – whose current radio contract with Radio One ends in December 2016 – actually learned of his friend Kantor’s plan to end his show next year from some radio insiders who tipped him off.
Those who work in his offices in Dallas say that he’s been distraught about it ever since.
“He’s always moping around and looking like his world is coming to an end. It’s like someone turned the light off in his eyes,” the source says. “Behind the scenes he is always sad and will tell anyone who’ll listen: ‘You know they’re getting rid of me right? I should have never listened to David and sold that stake to Radio One.’”
On October 19, Radio One announced that Kantor had been named the new CEO of its radio division. Insiders speculate that it was Kantor’s exit plan for Joyner that helped secure his new top spot.
“Tom feels it’s the ultimate betrayal. It’s a slap in the face. The man he took on family vacations, the man he gifted with a Bentley, the man he trusted with everything, and the man he called friend was selling him out to advance himself. It’s heartbreaking for him,” the source reveals.
Radio One plans to move another syndicated host Russ Parr, 56, into Joyner’s time slots in Washington, DC and Baltimore as a replacement test starting in January. Then throughout the rest of next year, Radio One will start transitioning The Russ Parr Morning Show gradually into other major markets, ultimately by the year’s end phasing Joyner out altogether.
“Tom isn’t ready to go and hasn’t even made plans for life after radio. Radio is his passion and it’s all he knows. There’s always a chance of him going to SiriusXM like Howard Stern did, but for now he’s still trying to process his show of 22 years ending,” says the source.
Radio has also been the cause of Joyner’s strained relationship with his sons Oscar and Thomas Jr. By his own admission, Joyner was an absentee father during their early years because of his radio commute between Dallas and Chicago. He then divorced their mom Dora Chatman Joyner in 1996.
The radio business also cost Joyner his second marriage to fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner, whom he quietly divorced in March 2012 after 12 years of marriage.
Today, Joyner’s morning show airs in 105 markets and reaches eight million listeners daily.