10 Questions with ... Tom Joyner
April 3, 2012
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Early influences?
During the Montgomery boycott, there was the "Tuskegee boycott." One protest was taken to a local radio station that refused to play "black" music. Eventually the station manager gave in and asked for a volunteer to spin the records. I nominated myself for the position.
2) What was/were the most influential radio station(s) growing up?
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it? What would you advise others to do to get started?
Let radio be your second job ... and do a lot of praying.
4) What is new with The Tom Joyner Foundation? Explain your commitment to and involvement with the U.S. Census?
Our newest venture is HBCUsonline.com. The commitment with the Census tour was to our listeners and Black America. We went to 14 cities in three weeks to get people counted.
5) How you prefer to be promoted on new records and new artists? And how much involvement do you have in the selection process?
I don't break new music. I just play the hits.
6) What is new this year with the "Fantastic Voyage Boat Cruise?
You've got to buy a cabin to find out!
7) How do you feel about callout research? About Arbitron's PPM?
It's the truth. It's not what you say you listen to; it's what you actually listen to.
8) How do you account for and to what do you attribute the continuing ratings success the Tom Joyner Morning Show? Do you feel there are going to be new challengers?
I'm the hardest working man in radio. That's all I can really concentrate on. There always have been and always will be new challengers out there, so I just have to do what I do -- and always remember who my audience is and to find new and compelling ways to super-serve them and the communities they live in
9) Name the one gadget you can't live without.
Enough with the technology. The more we have, the more we spend time talking about it. Every meeting I go to, the first 10 minutes are spent showing off the latest App. But I have to admit there's one feature on the iPhone that I use all the time and that's the voice memo. I send messages that way all the time instead of e-mailing or text messaging. I love the whoosh sound it makes when I send it.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
I don't know. I've been working too hard to look back.
a) What are your hobbies?
b) What current radio/television personalities do you admire and why?
I'm really liking me right now! But I also like Wanda Sykes, Wendy Williams ... and MoNique is growing on me, too. And I really like the George Lopez show.
c) Describe your favorite meal?
Food is not my friend. My wife, Donna Richardson Joyner, is a fitness trainer/food police. That takes the joy out of eating bad ... and everything that tastes good is bad. That's the rule.
d) What is the most annoying thing people ask you?
"Hey, Tom Joyner, do you remember when you had hair?"
e) Do you feel that Urban stations should be more careful not to blindly copy formats but tailor them specifically to the age and racial make-up of their own markets?
I leave that up to good program directors. But the #1 rule is to never forget who your audience is. You have to know who they are. You can take all the surveys and study all the focus group responses you want to, but listeners are smart enough to recognize when you genuinely have their best interests at heart. It isn't just in the music you play or how many commercials breaks you have or don't have. A lot has to do with what happens off the air and what kind of presence you have in their lives and communities and your commitment to making a difference.
f) What would you like to accomplish that you are working on?
Our latest venture is HBCUsonline. We're competing with the University of Phoenix by planning to offer a variety of online degrees and certifications, while at the same time giving our students the kind of nurturing and extra concern historically Black Colleges and Universities provide. Students will be able to get degrees from Howard, Hampton, etc. online and become a part of that legacy, but on terms that are more conducive with their busy lifestyles.