Today for the first time in 20 years, neither my voice nor Sybil’s will be broadcast locally on a radio station in the city of Chicago. Even though I’ve broadcast for many years from our Dallas studios, it’s no secret that Chicago is the real mothership, the home, the flagship of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and a city that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
I can’t tell you how many people today would argue you down if you tried to tell them I haven’t lived in Chicago for decades. I am and will always be linked to that great city, and I’m not mad at anybody for it. I proudly and boldly give the town that brought us Ebony and Jet, Michael Jordan, Garret’s Popcorn and the best pizza in the world its props.
My career didn’t actually begin in Chicago, but my career as the Hardest Working Man in Radio did. It was there that I gained national attention for having a morning show in Dallas then flying to Chicago to host the afternoon show and became known as the Fly Jock. Ironically, the legendary Chicago radio personality Richard Pegue, who died less than a month ago, gave me that name.
On today’s show, I’ll talk about some of my best memories in Chicago, the after-work sets I hosted, the days I was snowed in, Bishop Don Juan’s crush on the female members of our show and the list goes on and on … but I want to make it clear that this is not a swan song for us by any means. The party with a purpose continues in Chicago and everywhere else through BlackAmericaWeb.com, where our show can be heard each day. So, if you have family and friends in Chicago – and who doesn’t? – please remind them that they don’t have to miss a beat. Sybil, J. and I are still here and will be here for them and the African-American community the way we’ve always been.
After all, it was in Chicago, where I learned the value of identifying with my audience and super-serving them because they are our life blood, our connection, our hearts. My mentor, the late John H. Johnson, taught me years ago when I was D.J. on WJPC the importance of learning, loving and serving our audience because who can do it better than us? He said when you try to cross over, you cross out the people who made you what you are. I never forgot that lesson.
So, this morning actually marks a new beginning for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” – an opportunity for us to step it up and find new and exciting ways to stay on top of our game when the rules are changing all the time. There are a lot of obstacles out there, but there always have been, and I will never use them as an excuse – only as motivation to do what we need to do. So, Chicago, we’ve never given up on you, and we know you won’t give up on us either. So, as we pay tribute to all you have meant and still mean to us, we wouldn’t dare say goodbye … simply “good morning!”