T Dog Media’s Notepad: Tom Joyner out at Soul 106.3

Also: WGN-TV unveils new set and logo; Jon Kelley gets a new gig as host of a syndicated game show; Kathy Hart still MIA; “Wheel” celebrates Chicago

In another huge blow to his nationally syndicated radio show, Crawford Broadcasting-owned Soul 106.3 (WSRB-FM) announced Tuesday it was grounding the “flyjock” the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show after eight years due to low ratings. As first reported by Robert Feder, the daily morning radio show is being replaced by a new local effort featuring former WGCI-FM nighttime personality Mike Love, who’ll take over the morning shift on June 5.

Not to be confused with the Beach Boys member of the same name (ha ha), Love co-hosted a successful evening show with Victor Blackful, a.k.a. “The Dizz” from 1997-2007, and often ranked number one in its time slot.

As for Joyner, it is likely his Chicago radio career has come to an end. A veteran of WVON, WJPC, and WGCI-FM, Joyner was nicknamed “the flyjock” because he flew every day between gigs at WGCI and KKDA-FM in Dallas between 1985 and 1993. His nationally syndicated morning show launched a year later over WVAZ-FM (V103). But in 2009, his morning show was canceled by V103 and replaced by Steve Harvey’s syndicated program, moving over from sister station WGCI. Harvey (who’s been in the news lately for writing a rather rude memo to his staff of his TV show) replaced “Crazy” Howard McGee two years earlier at WGCI despite his ranking in the top five.

This site suggested Soul 106.3 pick up Joyner’s show and they actually did. But audiences never followed and the station’s signal-challenged status did not help.

Joyner’s syndicated show had been going through some upheaval in recent years, including J. Anthony Brown jumping to rival Harvey’s show earlier this year after 20 years with Joyner and the exit of Sheryl Underwood, who is now on CBS’ The TalkTJMS also lost clearances in several key African-American markets including Baltimore and his home base of Dallas after the station he was heard on changed formats.

Joyner’s show also has been dogged by rumors of cancellation.

TJMS still can be heard in over 50 cities and is easily available on the web, but losing the nation’s third-largest African-American radio market on terrestrial radio doesn’t bode well for its future. Joyner is under contract until the end of this year.

Where in the world is Kathy Hart? No one seems to know – not even the station she works for. Half of the wildly successful Eric & Kathy show on Hubbard-owned Hot Adult Contemporary station WTMX-FM (The Mix) has been “on leave” for the last two weeks, leaving Eric ferguson with several fill-in hosts. Neither Hart or WTMX officials are commenting and there is no timetable for her return.

Eric & Kathy have been doing WTMX’s morning show for 20 years and dominated the ratings among key female demos and brought in tons of revenue for WTMX. However, there has been reported tension between the two and it is not known if this is the reason Hart took the time off. But you wonder if this relationship is heading down the same path the way Steve Dahl’s and Garry Meier’s did. The popular duo broke up in 1993 after successful stints at WLS-FM, WLS-AM, and WLUP-FM.

Yours truly often refers to Eric & Kathy as the “American Idol of morning radio”: I don’t really understand the show’s popularity and one that doesn’t really appeal to anyone south of Cermak Rd.

You can read into that statement anyway you want.


Former WMAQ-TV and WFLD-TV anchor Jon Kelley has scored a new gig in Hollywood, hosting a new syndicated game show called Funny You Can Ask, featuring comedians riffing on questions asked by contestants (similar to Hollywood Squares.) Produced and distributed by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, the new show is a firm go for fall, with WCIU in Chicago clearing the show in addition to WLNY in New York and in a rare instance, clearing two non-duopoly stations in Los Angeles: KCAL-TV and KDOC-TV, the latter based in nearby Anaheim, Calif. Funny You Should Ask is also airing on Comedy.TV a cable network Entertainment Studios owns. The series was sold to 95 percent of the country in two-year deals.

Celebrities appearing on the show include Anthony Anderson, Louie Anderson, Tom Arnold, Cedric The Entertainer, Dave Coulier, Jackee Harry, Pauly Shore, and Caroline Rhea.

Funny You Should Ask should help fill the void left by the abrupt cancellation of Celebrity Name Game, another celebrity/comedy-based game show which was hosted by Craig Ferguson. The series was canceled last December after three seasons and aired its final first-run episode in February. Though syndicator Debmar-Mercury did not officially reveal why the plug was pulled, high production costs were believed to be the culprit.

Jon Kelley previously was one of the anchors on WFLD-TV’s Good Day Chicago before exiting the show in 2015 to pursue other opportunities. Kelley was the lead sports anchor for WMAQ in the 1990’s where he covered the Chicago Bulls championship run, but wasn’t too-well received by critics. He later anchored the syndicated Extra and hosted former ABC game show The Mole.

On a personal note, when he was at WFLD, I often seen him walking the hallway at 205 North Michigan and outside in the patio area doing live shots – he often posed with fans for selfies. Kelley seems to be a nice guy, compared to some of the “divas” who work on and behind the cameras in the TV business.

Speaking of game shows, it’s Chicago Week on CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune as the long-running program celebrates the nation’s third-largest city with local contestants flown to the set in Culver City, Calif. to play.  It’s part of Wheel’s Great American Cities theme, where the show celebrates a city and everything positive about it. Earlier this season, Wheel celebrated San Diego, New York City, and the entire state of Florida.

This is somewhat of a homecoming for host Pat Sajak; he was born and raised in Chicago and lived in the Little Village/South Lawndale neighborhood (another famous person, V103’s Joe Soto, also hails from the area.) Wheel first visited Chicago in 1984 and has made numerous trips to the Windy City. Both Sajak and Vanna White came to town last year to tape insterials in front of the city’s famous landmarks and in some of the city’s famous restaurants (this week, a lucky contestant won a gift certificate to Harry Caray’s.)

Wheel has been good to Chicago and vice versa; since premiering in Chicago over ABC-owned WLS-TV in January 1984, the series has constantly won its 6:30 p.m. time slot and continues to do so to this day, and easily turned back a challenge from a resurgent Family Feud, which briefly ran at 6:30 p.m. on WPWR two years ago (and also did so in 1988 and 1989 when WMAQ ran a Ray Combs-hosted version in the same time slot.) Feud may be in the lead nationally (with its cumed ratings being cumed and all), but Chicago is still a Pat and Vanna town.

In the final break of ties to The CW, WGN-TV unveiled a new logo on Wednesday, replacing the one it had been using since at least 2003. The independent station also unveiled a new news set, an old studio where Phil Donahue’s show was taped from 1974 to 1982. The new set includes a larger news desk, an interview era, and yes… a cooking station – obviously to be used during the station’s morning and midday newscasts.

“WGN News broadcasts 70.5 hours a week of local news, more news than any other Chicago station. We are excited to have a set that fully supports all of our news programs and are thrilled with the ‘state-of-the-art’ result,” said WGN President and General Manger Paul Rennie in a press release. “Our new logo and set reflects our local community and reinforces our identity as Chicago’s Very Own.”

Viewers can get a virtual tour of the set by visiting wgntv.com/newsset and can also win a chance to see it in person by liking WGN’s Facebook page. 

WGN and 41 other Tribune Media stations were recently sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group in a controversial $4 billion dollar deal.


1 thought on “T Dog Media’s Notepad: Tom Joyner out at Soul 106.3

    • IT is a tremendous loss to the Black community loosing the TJMS. I will not be listening to that station again. I will not be turning in to Steve Harvey. I am hurt.

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