Thomas "Tom" Joyner (born
November 23, 1949) is an American radio host.
host of the nationally syndicated The Tom Joyner Morning
Show, and also founder of REACH Media Inc., the Tom Joyner
Foundation, and BlackAmericaWeb.com.
born in Tuskegee,
Alabama, and received a degree in sociology from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University).
While a student at Tuskegee Joyner joined
the fraternity Omega Psi Phi
his broadcasting career in Montgomery, Alabama immediately upon graduation, and worked at a number
of radio stations in the American
South, before moving to Chicago at WJPC (now WNTD).
mid-1980s, Joyner was simultaneously offered two positions: one for
a morning show at KKDA-FM (K104) in
Dallas and one for
an afternoon show at WGCI-FM in
Instead of choosing between the two, Joyner chose
to take both jobs, and for years he commuted daily by plane between
the two cities, earning the nicknames "The Fly Jock" and "The
Hardest Working Man in Radio." He later told Radio Ink
magazine that he racked up 7
million frequent flyer miles
over the course of his employment at both stations.
In 1994, Joyner was signed by ABC Radio
Networks to host a nationally-syndicated program, The Tom
Joyner Morning Show
, featuring Joyner and a team of comedians
and commentators reporting and discussing the latest news and
sports of the day, and playing popular R&B songs from the 1970s
through the 1990s as well as contemporary R&B hits. Also
featured are celebrity guests, on-site remotes (called "Sky
Shows"), and an on-air soap opera
It’s Your World
. Southwest Airlines is a prominent sponsor of the radio show,
especially Joyner's "Sky Shows," and free round-trip airfare to any
destination that Southwest flies to is a recurring giveaway on his
The Tom Joyner Show
In 2005, a nationally syndicated television show, The Tom Joyner Show
, was launched
with Joyner as emcee
of a one-hour
comedy/variety show, combining sketch comedy featuring the Tom
Joyner Show Players (his co-hosts from the radio show), talent
contests, and musical performances by such artists as Earth, Wind and Fire
, Brian McKnight
. The show attracted advertisers such as
McDonalds, Chrysler Corporation, WalMart and Southwest
While the program achieved top ratings for a weekly syndicated
program themed to African American viewers — even taking the number
one show position, although it was in a late night time slot — in
such markets as New York and Atlanta, affiliates in other markets
were reluctant to upgrade the show to prime time for a targeted
audience. Without the opportunity to reach a larger audience in
earlier time slots and achieve greater revenues, the show had
limited ability to offset the residuals and music clearances
required by the many performers appearing on the show. Despite
award recognition, in May 2006, Joyner decided not to continue due
to production costs related to the music variety show concept.
Re-runs are shown on TV One cable
In 2005 Warner Books
Just a DJ but ... It Makes Sense to Me
" written with
his longtime writer, Mary Flowers
. The book chronicles his childhood and early days in
radio as well as offers Joyner's thoughts on HBCUs, the power of
the black consumer and fatherhood. In February 2009, Amber Books
published Tom Joyner Presents How to Prepare for College
a primer for parents and their children offering specific suggests
and advice. The book features a foreword written by Joyner with
writers Wil and Thomas LaVeist.
African American Lives 2
Joyner was a participant in Henry
Louis Gates, Jr.
program African American Lives 2
which originally aired on February 6 and 13, 2008. The series
traces the genealogy
African-Americans while illuminating the history of the
African-American community at large. In the series, he
learned that his great-great-great grandfather was born in Africa and was a member of the Balanta people from Guinea Bissau. Additionally, it is revealed that members of
his family left large land holdings in South Carolina in the wake of the convictions of his great-uncles
for the murder of a white Confederate soldier, for which
they were executed in 1915.
During his interview, Joyner
mentions the possibility of overturning the convictions. On October
14, 2009, his great-uncles were officially pardoned for this crime
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon
He appeared with his father and grandfather in the documentary
"Rising from the Rails: The Story of the Pullman Porter
" crediting his family
with passing down important values which he passed down to his sons
as well. His grandfather Oscar "Doc" Joyner was a Pullman porter
who became a medical doctor.
With his first wife Dora, Tom is the father of two sons, Thomas Jr.
and Oscar, whom he calls "Killer" and "Thriller". He is currently
married to celebrity aerobics instructor/fitness expert Donna Richardson
Joyner has been an advocate for voter registration and throughout
the year promotes voter registration over the air, on his website
and during his live 'Sky Shows' broadcasts. To improve healthy
living, Joyner holds a 'Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day' every
April or September. On that day, he rallies families and friends to
go to the doctor to get a check up to prevent any health problems,
and particularly treat any existing issues.
Tom Joyner Foundation
Joyner has also founded The Tom Joyner Foundation to provide
financial assistance to students at historically black
colleges and universities
. Since 1998, it has raised more than
$55 million to help keep students enrolled at HBCUs. The Tom Joyner
Foundation also hosts an annual cruise named the Fantasic Voyage
which also raises money for HBCU's.
On October 7, 2004, Joyner was awarded the NAB Marconi Radio Award
In 1999, Joyner was the first African American to be inducted into
The National Radio Hall of Fame
and Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
inducted in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic
Site on January 12, 2008.