Tom Joyner, an icon of urban radio, made his final broadcast as host of the Tom Joyner Morning show on Friday, December 13.
“The Fly Jock has landed,” Joyner said. ‘Thank you for an amazing 25 years of the Tom Joyner Morning show.” He signed off on the show which aired in more than 105 markets nationwide and reached nearly eight million listeners.
“Our thing has always been to empower people. But to empower, we have to first entertain," Joyner told CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan. "If I've got you laughing, I've got you listening."
He said his goal was to “super serve” the African American community – which he did through several initiatives, including his “Take A Loved One To The Doctor Day” and the Tom Joyner Foundation that provided scholarships to HBCU students.
In the interview, Joyner admitted that him stepping away was ultimately about money. According to the report, Joyner said he was pulling in $14 million a year at his peak pay.
"But it got to a point where they would – 'All right, we're gonna cut your salary in half.' 'Okay.' 'And then in half.' 'Okay.' And then in half two years ago," Joyner said. "Because my salary was based on my results, and not only was I losing affiliates but radio industry as a whole was losing traction."
"If you had been offered more money, would you have stayed longer?" Duncan asked.
"Heck yeah. Shoot, I – my goal was to die on the radio. Have my funeral on the radio," Joyner said with a laugh.
He earned the name The Fly Jock because the Tuskegee, Alabama native would host a morning show in Dallas and then hop on a plan and land in Chicago just in time to hope on the air there in the afternoons in the mid-1980s.
It was a grueling schedule that he carried on for nearly a decade before his national syndication.
In 1994, The Tom Joyner Morning Show was syndicated nationally with ABC Radio Networks. In 2003, Joyner made The Tom Joyner Morning Show part of his newly created Reach Media, a cross-platform entertainment company that creates events, online content with BlackAmericaWeb.com and initiatives that engage Black America. Joyner transferred syndication rights to Radio in 2004.
Joyner announced in 2017 that the show would end when it reaches its 25th anniversary in syndication.
“I want to have a swan song that’s two years long,” Joyner said to listeners when he made the announcement live on air two years ago. “. It’s been a good ride, but like everything, it must come to an end.”
Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ice Cube, Sheryl Underwood and many more called in to congratulate Joyner on his retirement.
“Tom Joyner is a legend and has played a critical role in building community and lifting up all voices,” Senator Kamala Harris said via Twitter. “He is Black history. It was an honor to be a guest but to also call him a friend. Enjoy retirement!”
Sybil Wilkes co-hosts the show with Joyner from Dallas.
"The Tom Joyner Morning Show has been a lifeline for a lot of people who are going through their day-to-day,” said Sybil Wilkes, who co-hosts the show with Joyner from Dallas. “But it has empowered them. It's entertained.”
Since 1998, Joyner’s foundation has raised nearly $65 million to help keep students enrolled at HBCUs. For more details on the Tom Joyner Foundation and the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage.
In his next chapter, he said he wants to continue that and concentrate on "putting [money] in the hands of college students to help their tuition at historically black colleges.
“That's my goal,” Joyner told Duncan. “All after 12 noon."