Amidst the recent heartfelt story of a DJ who fell from grace, got involved in drugs and alcohol and was booted out of the radio industry a decade ago, ending up homeless and on the streets, we in the industry are reminded of the MANY black radio announcers who are out of work and who may even be homeless as well.
Tom Joyner is a national radio host. Joyner is not local and while Joyner may be considered by some to be community based and an advocate of issues that concern the black community, there is no longer the much-needed LOCAL community connection black listeners were once afforded and desperately NEED from black radio stations.
While syndication has its place, many in urban radio wonder when is a little, just too much? Has Black radio, which was once the ONLY voice for the black community besides the black church, now become a money making machine for mega hosts to take advantage of the amount of listeners they have in various markets?
Syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, a popular figure in the black community, is lending his voice to a prepaid card even though several celebrities have come under fire for doing so recently because this cards charge excessive fees and are often marketed to low income groups who are want to be affiliated with “success” but at a VERY high price.
Prepaid cards function much like debit cards but aren’t tied to bank accounts and users can load the cards with a desired dollar amount and reload them as needed. What kind of a “credit card” is that? That’s the consumer’s own money and they are paying to use their own MONEY? Joyner is trying to clean up the situation but saying unlike some other cards on the market, his new Reach Card has three clearly disclosed fees: a $9.95 activation fee, an $8.95 monthly fee and a $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee…. but the 59-year-old radio vet is not including the fees charged when you use the ATM machine that belongs to the bank which could be up to an additional $3.00 (or more) so the ACTUAL ATM fee, for example could be a whopping $5.50 per use! Some of these trashy cards also include overdraft fees for using YOUR OWN MONEY which some banks charge as high as $39.00 EACH so you can almost bet the prepaid company will charge even more. Can you imagine you are overdrawn by $2.00 and you are charged $39,00 as a penalty ON YOUR OWN MONEY?
The Reach card should cost about $120 a year for most users. $120 a year to use your own money, for a piece of plastic to build your self esteem? Why not, I don’t know… USE YOU OWN CASH and save those excessive fees? PreCash is the company issuing the card in partnership with Joyner. The radio host last week began reading ads for the card on his morning show, which reaches 8 million black listeners a week in more than 100 markets. That’s significant because blacks are more likely to be unbanked or underbanked, meaning they avoid traditional banking services, which in comparison to this is a damn shame. It would help if Tom had a financial advisor on the show on a regular basis to teach black listeners the BENEFIT of working with financial institutions and handling their money…. Oh, TOM can’t make any money that way. What are we thinking?