J. Anthony Brown on his Tom Joyner departure: 'It was not a salary dispute'

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

This was posted on Thursday, December 1, 2016 by Rodney Ho on the AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Comic and radio host J. Anthony Brown, in an exclusive interview today, said he left the Tom Joyner Morning Show over his desire to have his own weekend show.

"It was not a salary dispute," Brown said, addressing speculation along those lines. "It was based on me wanting to venture out and have my own weekend show. That's it. We couldn't come to terms. It was just time for me to leave... Sometimes people just disagree and part ways. That's just what happened."

He harbors no resentment toward Joyner's syndication company Reach Media or Joyner himself.

"It was absolutely the best job I've ever had," Brown said. "The most fun I ever had."

Since he couldn't say goodbye on air, he did so on Twitter and said the video has been seen more than 60,000 times.

He credits Joyner for giving him the shot 20 years ago to do more radio after a stint at an L.A. station.

In 1996, Brown offered to do weekly parody songs for Joyner's show, his "Murdered Hit" series, for free. He did such a good job, Joyner hired him full time. "We were off to the races," he said. "It was truly a blast."

Brown said being on a show heard by millions every week elevated his stand-up career. "I became a household name," he said. "People know my catchphrases like 'Watch out deh now!' He allowed me to do all these voices. I played off Sybil [Wilkes.] The three of us gelled."

Brown, who spent many years in Atlanta in the 1980s, had moved to Los Angeles by the mid-1990s. While Joyner was based in Dallas, he allowed Brown to stay in Los Angeles to do the show. The only downside: he had to wake up at 2 a.m. PST. ("I can sleep til 7 now! I won't be late for s***!")

He said he loved it when Joyner had his Sky Shows, which traveled the country 20 to 25 times a year and basically turned the radio show into a stage show with big musical acts and charity giveaways.  "It brought the listening base to him," he said. "People would camp out. We could see New Edition, Beyonce, the Temptations, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle. It was golden, man. You have 4,000 people lined up waiting for your show. People would listen and say, 'When it comes to my town, I'm not going to miss it!' " [It came several times to Atlanta, usually at the Atlanta Civic Center.]

He is in talks now with syndicators to do his own weekend show. He said in the urban world, FM radio is still viable.

"I could have stayed if we had worked things out at the end of it," Brown said. "Sooner or later, you get too old to do something. I was able to stay there as long as I wanted. It was fresh until I left. That was a great accomplishment."

Since his departure, Brown hasn't talked to Joyner yet, acknowledging the awkwardness of it all right now: "Sometimes, you don't know what to say so you don't say anything."

Here are some clips from Brown doing stand up. WARNING: he peppers it with curse words so probably not safe to blast in the office.

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