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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tom Joyner: Sticking to His Roots

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Reaching more than 100 affiliates and one million listeners, Tom Joyner is the host of the most popular African American syndicated radio program in the United States.  Through his celebrity, Joyner dedicates himself to supporting causes, such as voter registration, and throughout the year promotes voter registration over the air, on his website and during his live ‘Sky Shows’ broadcasts.

Joyner’s producer, Karyn Wheat, notes that the show conducts a lot of on-air interviews, but the ones they feature are generally with African American celebrities.  “These interviews do not all have to be light-hearted” says Wheat.  “If the story has to do with diabetes, offer an African American celebrity who suffers from the disease and chances are greatly improved that we will conduct the interview.”

Another interview option within the show is the segment called the ‘Little Known Black History Fact.’  Erica Taylor produces this segment that is dedicated to those who have made history in the African American community and may have gone unnoticed.  In the past, she has booked guests ranging from one of only three women to have played in the Negro Baseball League, during the launch of United Negro League stamps from the U.S. Postal Service, to the first African American driver for UPS.  She is always looking for people from all walks of life who have contributed in some way to the African American story.

In order to understand the heartbeat of the show, it is often best to start with things that are important to the host.  For example, to improve healthy living, Joyner holds a ‘Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day‘ season between April and September.  During that time, he rallies families and friends to go to the doctor to get a check up to prevent any health problems and in particular, to treat any existing health issues.  The season-long timeframe prevents people from being able to say they could not make it to the doctor on a particular day.  Joyner is also a strong proponent for providing financial assistance to students at historically black colleges and universities, and through the Tom Joyner Foundation, he has helped raise more than $55 million since 1988 for college scholarships.

While Tom Joyner’s show is looking for a specific type of interview, the effort is certainly worth it.  He holds a high level of trust among his listeners and with more than one million of them, so media representatives should take the extra effort to find a spokesperson who will fit his criteria.  You won’t regret it.

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