*Wow! What the?! Those are the responses a lot of folks are saying when they hear the news that in Chicago, the nationally syndicated "Fly Jock," Tom Joyner is no longer on the radio.
That means that when listeners in the Chicago area turn on their radios to WVAZ-FM 102.7, this morning, they'll be hearing Steve Harvey instead. The nationally syndicated Steve Harvey show was, until today, only heard on WGCI-FM.
In a way you could see this one coming because Clear Channel owns both stations and distributes The Steve Harvey Show. It's clear they chose to look out for their own. Joyner is distributed by and associated with Radio One.
Published reports say Harvey will simulcast on both stations until March 31 and that Clear Channel, the owner of both stations, has not yet said what its plans are after that for WGCI-FM. The thinking is that any change occurring on April 1 risks being interpreted as an April Fool's Day prank.
"Tom Joyner has been a great partner with V103 for the past 13 years, making it difficult to part ways," WVAZ-FM program director Derrick Brown told the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal. "We appreciate all Tom's hard work and wish him continued success."
"Steve Harvey is an entertainment and marketing juggernaut," Brown also added. "There are very few entertainers who have successfully tackled radio, TV, film, stage, online and publishing. … Being a 'King of Comedy,' nobody can beat Steve being funny."
Long time Chicagoland listeners know that both men have been in or heard in the market for quite a few years. Comedian/actor/author Harvey began his radio career in 1996 at WGCI-FM as a replacement for Joyner, who, on the other hand began his Chicago connection back in the 80s when local radio executive Marv Dyson hired him at Johnson Publishing's WJPC-AM. Dyson went on to become president and general manager at WGCI AM/FM and WVAZ.
In a press release emailed to EUR, Joyner responded to the change with this message:
We always say that when we come back from vacation something big has either happened or is about to happen. Well, this one topped them all. After 16 years, the Tom Joyner Morning Show won’t be broadcast on a local Chicago radio station, at this time.
For Sybil and me, our relationship with the Chicago radio listeners goes back more than 20 years and believe me it has not ended by any stretch of the imagination.
Friends and family in the Chicago market will continue to listen to the Party with a Purpose on www.BlackAmericaWeb.com. So this isn’t the end, it’s just a change, so please pass his e-mail along to them.
Even though we’re heard in more than 100 markets around the country, Chicago is home, it’s the Mother Ship, the Flagship, all those words that mean it is the place that launched the TJMS. It’s where we came from and where we always could go back to. And we’re still there, just in a different way—for now!
We’ve had great times in Chicago and we’ll be there soon to officially thank the thousands and thousands of you who made us what we are, and will be here with us as we take this to another level. We got where we are by knowing who you are, what you want and by Super Serving our audience, just like my mentor John H. Johnson taught me to do. This world is changing but the doing the right thing never does, and we will continue to do what we’ve always done for the African American Community.