*In the uproar that followed Chicago radio station V103's sudden removal of the Tom Joyner Morning Show in favor of Steve Harvey's syndicated show, Harvey wants folks to know that the shakeup is not his fault.
"I'm the fall guy," he told the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal. But, "I'm not the reason you don't have your beloved Tom. I just want people to know."
Joyner's syndicated morning program had been broadcasting for 13 years on Clear Channel's WVAZ-FM 102.7 (V103) until last month. Without warning, Clear Channel moved Harvey's syndicated show to V103 from Chicago's WGCI-FM 107.5, bumping Joyner.
The sudden move was in part due to Clear Channel's decision to launch "The Morning Riot," a local program considered more in tune with WGCI's hip-hop playlist the rest of the day, so it can better compete against Power 92, Crawford Broadcasting's WPWX-FM 92.3.
Whatever the reason, the move didn't sit will with Joyner's listeners.
Rosenthal writes: Calls for a boycott were fueled by a sound bite making the rounds in which detractors claimed Harvey kissed off disgruntled Joyner fans in Chicago.
Harvey insists the clip—something about how people who don't like what has happened can go home—came from his cousin and was in regard to something else in a different market. But these things take a life of their own, and the controversy over Clear Channel's move in Chicago is one he clearly wants to snuff out.
"It doesn't make any sense for me to say something like that," Harvey said. "I'm trying to win and endear myself to people and not aggravate people and drive a wedge between me and the audience. I do respect and love Tom Joyner. He and I have been friends a long time. And we've talked since he's been off the air [in Chicago]. But the move to V103, Steve Harvey has absolutely no control over. That's what's alarming to me.
"I'm just a hired gun. It's unfair when people think the radio guys have a say-so. We don't own the stations. … Somebody should explain to the people that while you're boycotting, Tom Joyner is going to resurface in Chicago radio. If somebody would tell that to people, it would be better for people. But nobody's telling them."
For one thing, nobody in a position to actually make that happen will confirm it, although obviously it's possible. One potential snag is that for Joyner to land on another Chicago station before the end of this year, Clear Channel must OK it.
Still, Harvey is taking the unusual stance of arguing that the guy he replaced and whose absence probably benefits him and his show will return sooner than later.
"My success is not hinged on Tom's demise," Harvey said. "I've never built my career on something bad happening to someone else. What God has for me, he has for me—and he's always given me what I have coming. … What I did not expect is to be the heavy in all of this and be the guy who caused this to happen, because I'm not."