Legendary syndicated radio host Tom Joyner will soon be signing off the air – but not by choice.
Daily Mail Online can reveal the 65-year-old entertainment veteran is being forced into an early retirement to not only make room for younger talent but also to coincide with the departure of President Barack Obama from the White House.
The plan is being put into place by radio conglomerate Radio One along with his best friend and former business associate David Kantor, sources claim.
‘They think going with a younger, fresher show is the way to go and the entire plan has been orchestrated by the man who actually launched Tom into syndication originally,’ a source tells Daily Mail Online exclusively.
Joyner started his syndicated radio show 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.
During that time he earned more than seven million frequent-flier miles commuting daily between the two cities. The vigorous travel schedule earned Joyner the nicknames The Fly Jock and The Hardest-Working Man In Radio.
Kantor, then an executive at ABC Radio Networks, came up with the idea to launch Joyner into national syndication.
As the first African-American host in national syndication, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, which featured co-hosts Sybil Wilkes and comedian J. Anthony Brown, became an instant success.
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.
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