Tom Joyner out at V103

In a move that is a huge blow to his nationally syndicated show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show (aka The TJMS) lost its biggest – and most important – affiliate.

Clear Channel-owned WVAZ-FM (V103) has canceled Joyner’s show, effective immediately, and is replacing it with The Steve Harvey Morning Show, which airs on sister station WGCI-FM. No word yet on who will replace Harvey on WGCI. A name currently branded about is current afternoon personality Tony Scoulfield.

If he gets the morning gig, it would be sort of homecoming for Scoulfield, who was on in the mornings at WGCI with “Crazy” Howard McGee and Nikki Woods for several years before getting his own show. As you recall, WGCI-FM dropped McGee in July 2007 and replaced him with Harvey’s syndicated show, despite the fact McGee was number one in the time period among key demos.

There were also rumors at the time of Tom Joyner’s demise at WVAZ, but the station renewed the show in a “multi-year” deal with Reach Media, Joyner’s syndicator which he part-owns with Radio One – a Clear Channel urban rival in a few markets, including Philadelphia and Detroit. WVAZ was TJMS’ largest non-Radio One affiliate.

As for Tom Joyner, losing the second-largest African-American market in the country is a huge blow, as the show has not aired in New York City (the nation’s largest African-American market) since 2003. For awhile, Joyner’s show was briefly heard in Los Angeles on the now-defunct KRBV-FM, but was dropped due to low ratings (and a 3 a.m. start time.)

A few years ago, Clear Channel Urban Adult Contemporary outlets lost the rights to TJMS in Philadelphia, Detroit, and St. Louis when Radio One became part-owner of the show and moved it to their competing Urban AC outlets in those markets. Harvey replaced Joyner on those Clear Channel stations in Philadelphia and Detroit.

The Steve Harvey Show is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel.

Tom Joyner is a Chicago radio veteran, working at WJPC and later WGCI-FM. He earned his nickname “the fly jock” when he simultaneously held down a morning shift at KKDA-FM in Dallas in the morning and WGCI in the afternoons for eight years, flying back and forth between the two cities. His syndicated morning show had been on WVAZ for 13 years, when it moved there to make room for… Steve Harvey, who got his radio career started at WGCI in 1996.

For those of you in the Chicago area – or anywhere the show isn’t airing on terrestrial radio, you can listen to TJMS online at blackamericaweb.com.

Click here for Joyner’s reaction to WVAZ’s move.

Thought: Yours truly listened to the TJMS and is sad to see it go and its even more agonizing since yours truly isn’t a fan of Harvey (yeah, this totally f***in’ sucks. Thanks again, Cheap Channel.) Personal feelings aside, his move to WVAZ actually makes sense. Harvey’s show targets a more older audience and is a perfect fit for WVAZ’s 25-54 demo while his show did not fit well on younger-skewing WGCI. It would be nice if there was a local program back on WGCI in morning drive, giving competition to Crawford-owned WPWX-FM’s (Power 92) inane morning show (with the dumbest name anyone could think of…)

As for TJMS, this program’s future could be in jeopardy. Losing the nation’s second-populated African-American market and not being able to get back on terrestrial in New York is not a good sign. The show will continue – for now – but could face make-goods down the road to make up for the shortfall of the Chicago audience. Then there’s Radio One, which is not in the best financial health right now…

Let’s face it – ever since Clear Channel lost Joyner to Radio One in those markets two years ago, you knew they were going to strike back somehow. Vertical integration is the keyword these days. If it weren’t, Medium (produced by CBS) wouldn’t be on the bubble at NBC, despite respectable ratings. Clear Channel would’ve been better off to put Harvey on WVAZ to begin with.

If I were Crawford Broadcasting – owner of WSRB-FM (Soul 106.3) – I’d get on the phone right now to Reach Media and Radio One. Joyner’s there for the taking. This is a chance to rebuild your station. How often does a popular nationally syndicated show with a built-in audience become available? Not too often. Come on WSRB, what are you waiting for? If you pass this opportunity up, I’d say – a Regional Mexican format for your station within six months.

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