NASHVILLE, TN — Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” returns to Nashville this week—this time to address the 2017 graduating class of Meharry Medical College during its 142nd Commencement, Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the Belmont University Curb Center. Joyner’s family has a Meharry connection—his grandfather, Oscar, was a physician who graduated in 1909 from the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College, which is now Meharry Medical College. Dr. Joyner, like most Meharry alumni, went on to practice in an underserved area. He set up shop in Plant City, Florida and was the only doctor in the small rural town for decades. Meharry was chosen as the School of the Month for May by the Tom Joyner Foundation with the goal of helping raise $200,000 toward scholarships.
Joyner, the host of the nation’s number-one syndicated urban morning show, reaches nearly 8 million listeners weekly in more than 105 cities nationwide. As a result of his success, he created The Tom Joyner Foundation nearly 20 years ago to raise scholarship dollars for students attending HBCUs. The Foundation has raised more than $65 million to support more than 29,000 students attending HBCUs.
Joyner grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama—his mother was a secretary for the military and his father was a member of the renowned Tuskegee Airmen. Joyner participated in many protests, including the Tuskegee Boycott (taking place during the Montgomery Bus Boycott). One demonstration involved a local radio station that refused to play “black” music. The station manager relented and Joyner nominated himself for the job.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1970, Joyner began in radio at WRMA-AM in Montgomery, Alabama. Joyner’s distinct humor and energy attracted both audiences and opportunities, ultimately taking him to Chicago where he developed a vibrant urban radio career at several Chicago stations. In the mid-1980s, Joyner hosted a hugely popular afternoon radio show on WGCI in Chicago. That’s when he got a call to host a morning drive-time slot at KKDA in Dallas. Joyner consulted with his team and well, the rest is history. For more than eight years, he was flying back and forth between Dallas and Chicago each weekday, becoming known around the country as “The Fly Jock” and “The Haaardest Working Man in Radio.”
In 1994, ABC Radio launched “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” into national syndication. With a vast, responsive African-American audience, Joyner has used his program to inform, educate, engage and empower listeners. The show has become a hot spot for celebrities and national leaders—including President Barack Obama, who, during his election campaigns and presidency, was a frequent guest.
Joyner has received numerous awards including, the BET Humanitarian Award, Denny’s Community Impact Award, a Radio Hall of Fame award, an NAACP Image Award, Billboard’s “Best Urban Contemporary Air Personality” award, and “Best DJ of the Year Award,” renamed “The Tom Joyner Award” because he received it so many times.