Tom Joyner denies Daily Mail report saying he's being forced to retire

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Daily Mail filed a story earlier today claiming syndicated talk show host Tom Joyner was being forced to retire in early 2017 to coincide with Pres. Obama's departure.

Joyner, heard locally on Kiss 104.1, released this statement denying this was the case:

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

Tony Kidd, CMG Atlanta Radio programming chief, said he saw the story and called Reach Media immediately. They reassured him that Joyner is not going anywhere anytime soon.

[Joyner chose not to address the rumor at all on his show Wednesday morning.]

Joyner, who is 66, is heard in 68 markets nationwide, a groundbreaking syndicated morning talk show host who paved the way for the likes of Steve Harvey and Rickey Smiley.  He began syndication in 1994 out of Dallas and Kiss 104.1 was one of his first markets. At one point, he was heard on more than 100 radio stations but has lost a few in recent years.

In Atlanta more than two decades alter, Joyner remains a top-rated show on Kiss, ranked third overall with a 7.2 share last month, according to Nielsen Audio. He's fifth among 25 to 54 year olds with a 5.5 share, just ahead of Harvey (5.3 share) on Majic 107.5/97.5.

In 2003, Joyner launched Reach Media, which owns his syndicated show but sold a majority share to black-led Radio One in 2004 for $56 million. In 2013, Radio One combined their syndication operations with his and raised its ownership stake to 80 percent.

My interview with Joyner last year when he was visiting Atlanta. At the time, he showed not an inkling of desire to leave radio. 

Kiss 104.1 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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