The three-day Multicultural Heritage Festival this weekend will kick off with a return of the “Fly Jock” and friends of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
Joyner is bringing his crew, J. Anthony Brown and Sybil Wilkes, along to broadcast the syndicated radio show live 6-11 a.m. Friday, June 1 from the studio at Bayport One in West Atlantic City.
Joyner has been called “the hardest working man in radio,” a name he earned over his years of doing two live shows every day ““ a morning show in Dallas and an afternoon show in Chicago ““ and racking up 7 million frequent flier miles.
Syndication was a way to broaden his audience, and in 1994 Joyner had the first African-American syndicated radio program.
WTTH 96.1 out of Atlantic City, the station on which Friday’s show will be broadcast, was one of the early markets that featured Joyner’s show. He is now heard in 105 markets and by more than 8 million listeners every day.
“I have a great appreciation for the markets who syndicated us early on because they were taking a gamble,” Joyner said in an interview Tuesday. “I had lots of faith in the Tom Joyner Morning Show from the start, but it took some convincing for stations to turn their mornings over to us. Those stations and audiences who have been with us for the last 18 years hold a special place in my heart.”
Joyner said there is a method to his show.
“From my early days of broadcasting, I think I recognized the importance of getting the audience‘s attention with laughter and entertainment and them providing them with news and information that would empower them enough to become activists on some level. A lot of the elements of my local shows in Dallas and Chicago are used on the national show today because the formula of super-serving the community works, and I would never change it,” said the host.
Joyner said his show is even more fun to do that it sounds on the air.
“There is a whole show going on during the breaks that I wish our audience could hear. We’re not just colleagues ““ we’re family,” he said. “J. is the crazy uncle, and Sybil is the know-it-all little sister.”
Joyner said he is reaching out to primarily an African-American audience, but that does not mean he is not welcoming people of all races and backgrounds to join in.
“I’m not going to tweak or re-focus anything we try to do to reach a broader audience. My mentor, John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publications, told me many years ago that when you try to go crossover, your target audience crosses you out,” Joyner said.
While he may not be excited to hear the alarm sound at 3 a.m. every morning, he said he gets to go to a beautiful studio and work with a team of dedicated co-workers who make everyone sound good.
“We have fun at work every day ““ how could you not love that?” he said.
Joyner said it is important to recognize the contributions that each culture brings, assimilating their art, music, food and style.
After Joyner signs off at 11 a.m. on the radio he will head to Surf Stadium for a listener party. He will also receive a key to the city from Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
“We have a lot planned, and I am looking forward to all of it ““ the broadcast, the parade, the concert. There is nothing like seeing and touching the people that make my job possible.”
We’re celebrating Atlantic City‘s Multicultural Festival, first broadcasting at 96.1, The Touch, and a meet and greet at Surf Stadium,” said Joyner. “I love that they’re doing a parade on the boardwalk and then a Gold and Platinum Black Music Tribute that night. I can’t wait to shake hands and get those big hugs A.C. gives.”
Friday, June 1
Tom Joyner Morning Show Listeners Party starting 6 a.m. at Surf Stadium, 545 N. Albany Ave. Admission is free, but a ticket is necessary. Win tickets on WTTH-FM 96.1.
Heritage Parade 6-8:30 p.m. on the boardwalk. Free.
Gold and Platinum RB Music Tribute 9 p.m.-midnight at 1 Atlantic in the Pier at Caesars. Performers Ashanti, Regina Belle and Gerald Alston of the Manhattans and others. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at Sonny’s Barber Shop, 40 N. Kentucky Ave., or Images of Art, 24 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Saturday, June 2
Beach Bash noon-6 p.m. at Missouri Avenue beach. Free.
Old Summer Concert noon-7:30 p.m. at Historic Gardner’s Basin. Free. Performers include Third World, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Sensa Motion Band, Bob Sterling and Jackie Greggs.
All-Star Boxing Legend Gala 9 p.m.-midnight in the Superstar Theater at Resorts Casino Hotel. Mike Tyson, Michael Spinks, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and hometown favorite Bruce Sheldon. Tickets are $100, available at Ticketmaster.
Sunday, June 3
Gospel Fest 6-10 a.m. at Surf Stadium. Free.
Boardwalk Bazaar noon-8 p.m. on the boardwalk. Free.
Jazz in the Garden noon-7:30 p.m. at Garden Pier and Kennedy Plaza. Headliners are Pieces of a Dream and Roy Ayers Ubiquity. Free.