‘Fly-jock’ lands in town

Tom Joyner, the self-proclaimed “hardest working man in radio,” was in Chicago July 25 doing a V-103 radio station promotion at MacArthur’s Restaurant, 5412 W. Madison Ave., on the West Side. Dozens of people lined up at the popular soul

Tom Joyner, the self-proclaimed “hardest working man in radio,” was in Chicago July 25 doing a V-103 radio station promotion at MacArthur’s Restaurant, 5412 W. Madison Ave., on the West Side.

Dozens of people lined up at the popular soul food eatery to take advantage of $1.03 breakfast and to schmooze with Joyner.

The “fly jock” signed autographs, hugged and took photos with all of his “cousins”–admirers and listeners of his popular Tom Joyner Morning Show on V103–who Joyner treated more like family than mere loyal fans.

In between the hugs and snapshots, the Defender was able to talk to Joyner briefly about three things dear to him: his Tom Joyner Foundation, the Black community and Sen. Barack Obama.

The Tom Joyner Foundation has given away thousands of dollars in scholarships to students at various Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Joyner said the foundation targets HBCUs because the institutions are a hallmark in his own family.

A graduate of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Ala., where he was born and raised, Joyner comes from a line of HBCU attendees.

“HBCUs are a part of my life…it’s just part of my DNA,” the radio disc jockey said of his affinity for HBCUs.

His grandparents, parents, siblings and other family members are either HBCU alums or attendees.

“God’s purpose for all of us is to help somebody,” Joyner told the Defender, explaining how he got into educational philanthropy.

With 65 percent of the foundation’s support coming from everyday people, Joyner said his organization was set up for “grassroots people” to be able to give back to their school and community. The foundation also enjoys generous corporate support.

Through his syndicated radio show, which features an iconic team of personalities, Joyner said his aim is always to “super-serve our African American community.”

With health and other general feel-good programs as part of the morning drive radio show, Joyner said he looks to entertain, inform and empower the Black community.

Joyner’s support for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is unabashed. Why is he so pro-Obama?

“I ain’t ashamed to say it…because he’s Black and qualified, and stands a good chance of seeing a dream come true,” the 1998 Radio Hall of Fame inductee told the Defender.

Joyner is big on education and sees it as a balm for most issues within the Black community.

“Knowledge is key,” he said.

From combating crime to overcoming joblessness, Joyner, who used to shuttle between his morning radio show in Dallas and his afternoon show here, said education is the answer.

“It all starts with knowledge. It all starts with education,” he said.

Photo by Worsom Robinson/Chicago Defender

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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