Tom Joyner
Tom Joyner (Courtesy of "The Tom Joyner Morning Show")

Renowned syndicated radio host Tom Joyner is set to retire this week after more than two decades of bringing the latest in news, live performances, celebrity interviews and more to a loyal legion of fans.

While “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” will broadcast through Dec. 31, the final live in-studio show takes place Friday, Dec. 13. For the show’s final week, call-in guests will include Arsenio Hall, Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson, Emmitt Smith, April Ryan and Lionel Richie.

Joyner, 70, announced in 2017 that he would retire once his contract ended this month.

“I’m retiring, and for the next two years we’re going to reminisce, go down memory lane and talk about all the things that we’ve done for the past 25 years,” the National Radio Hall of Fame inductee said at the time.

Comedian Rickey Smiley is being tapped to succeed Joyner. Joyner, who broke the news earlier to listeners, introduced Smiley to his audience, saying, “you’ve got to keep the party with a purpose going and find a purpose to the party.”

As host of the nationally syndicated show, Joyner revolutionized radio when his daily, African American-targeted music show premiered in 1994.

In addition to his popular morning talk show, the legendary host continues to solidify his legacy with multiple brand extensions that include annual events, engaging digital platforms and a dedication to serving, empowering and educating his loyal community/audience.

Joyner’s impact and influence has had far-reaching implications with thought-provoking commentary from emerging social justice leaders that have included the likes of Shaun King, Roland Martin and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Also, whether the “Fly Jock” has raised money for education or provided aid to those in need, giving back to the community has always been his priority, including efforts for relief funds that have aided hurricane and tornado victims, to supporting friends and families that have taken in survivors.

Joyner, a leading voice in the campaign to promote health and wellness in the African-American community, initiated an annual wellness-emphasis period, Take a Loved One to the Doctor Season, which expands upon the weekly “Get Well Wednesday” segments of his show.

His popular morning show features non-stop hilarity five days a week, led by top comedians Sherri Shepherd, Kym Whitley, Guy Torry and Damon Williams. The show also serves as the place to break new music as Joyner has hosted more than 200 live in-studio performances by today’s biggest artists.

In addition, the Tom Joyner Foundation continues to thrive supporting students attending historically Black colleges and universities, having raised more than $65 million to date.

Joyner, who grew up in Tuskegee, AL, is son of an Tuskegee Airman and best friend to famed singer Lionel Richie. After being “unintentionally” hired as a DJ while protesting a local station’s refusal to play R&B music (Joyner was selected from the crowd and hired on the spot), he eventually worked his way through Memphis, St. Louis and Dallas, landing at WJPC in Chicago.

In the mid-1980s, Joyner was given the nickname “The Fly Jock” for flying between Dallas and Chicago five days a week, doing his morning drive program at KKDA in Dallas and then commuting to WGCI in Chicago for his afternoon program.

During his tenure, Joyner was number one on both stations for seven years and traveled eight million miles.

Joyner has received the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Award, Billboard’s Best Urban Contemporary Air Personality Award, the NAACP Image Award and many honorary doctorate degrees.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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