Home Music Industry News How Relevant is Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey to the 18-34 Year-Old...

How Relevant is Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey to the 18-34 Year-Old Listener?

Harvey_8.17The answer to the question, not very relevant. Tom and Steve are solid 25-54 demo based. Nevertheless, I went to see Capitalism: A Love Story last night and it wasn’t like there was anything in the movie that surprised me, I knew Wall Street was full of crooks but it made me think about Urban Radio, listeners, jocks and Syndication. Capitalism is basically a privately owned company whose goal is profit based.   That doesn’t sound too bad does it? It’s not until the corporation gets greedy and treats the employees badly. Sound familiar? The movie showed examples of companies where the employees were owners, not some bullsh… profit sharing program but where the employees all owned an equal share of the company. I’ve never seen such harmony and peace. You can do a great job when you don’t have to worry about who you are going to borrow money from to pay this month’s rent.   On the opposite end, the question in the movie was, how many cars and homes do you need? That’s true. Why does 1 person need 6 homes or even 1 home with 20 bedrooms?   The homogenization of urban radio is killing it. Syndication is across the board at all formats but urban radio is and has always been about creating trends and innovation. Urban radio’s responsibility is to be the bullhorn of the black community. We are the LEADER NOT the follower. When we follow… WE LOSE. Right now, we are following. I mean really what can or teach me about technology? Do they even know what Twitter is?

I was reading several urban radio jock’s Twitter pages and I was looking at who they were following. They follow mediatakeout.com, necolebitchie.com, sand rarose.com, concretloop.com, dimewars.com, gyantunplugged.com and rffocusorg.wpengine.com but not ONCE did I see Steve Harvey or Tom Joyner or Michael Baisden etc. Even JOCKS at the station know these guys are out of touch why hasn’t urban radio figured it out yet, oh, they have great ratings? I told a programmer this morning, I am not mad at Steve Harvey. Steve is ALL about the money. He uses radio as a springboard to do other things. The springboard was not available to him as a comedian and he knocked a hell of a lot of REAL jocks out of the way to get where he is but his kill-or-be-killed attitude is admirable to some and perhaps capitalistic to others but Steve doesn’t give a flying fook about that (laugh) he is all about making his money and riding this wave before it levels out… and it will.   If comedians and singers can just walk over and play in our field then we can do the same. I would not   blame urban radio programmers for managing and owning comedy clubs, managing comedians on the side and starting their own talent agencies or doing whatever other side work they want to do. Problem is, urban radio does not promote that. We do not have Carte Blanche to be CREATIVE slaves, we must remain corporate slaves (laugh). Old is relative. You can be young and have old ideas or you can be old and have young ideas. When I speak of “Old” I’m speaking of “DATED CONCEPTS.” Let’s face it, there are too many “old” people in the industry right now making decisions. If you are old and you are wise and you utilize young talent, have a seat and stay a while, but the greedy motha fookas that slam the door shut on new talent or continue to think the industry should be run like it was in 1982… YOU’RE FIRED.. (laugh).

When I got that video of people saying “Fook WAMO, they don’t play local artists, I’m glad to see them go” and the radio community was saying how unfortunate it was that WAMO was sold in Pittsburgh, I KNEW there was a disconnect. If local programmed radio is such a bad thing why is V103 in Atlanta doing such a great job without syndication? That is one of the best programmed stations in the NATION! Has urban radio become too lazy to seek local YOUNG urban radio talent to help make this industry innovative and interesting? Charlamagne does a great job of promoting his station in Philly by doing online videos with Lil Duval and while he is on the air with various guests at the station. Where are Steve Harvey’s online videos to help build the show? If I had a state-of-the-art studio like Steve does, I’d be all over the internet. Oh, Steve doesn’t make any money from it… so that effort will not be made (laugh). If a jock from ANY aspect of this industry is not utilizing online technology DAILY, he is already behind.

Have the corporations calculated how many local dollars and promotions are lost by having syndicated shows on in the morning? Part of the problem is there are not enough young people in the upper management seats at the radio corporations or in the industry as well. If I was a 35-year-old head of programming at Radio One, and someone suggested we run Tom Joyner on a majority of our stations, they’d be fired AFTER I kicked their ass in the meeting. So it makes sense that the old heads would reject the idea of new, young talent doing the morning shows.     When is urban radio going to wake up and realize what we think is saving us is really what is killing us.. SYNDICATION!

CEO of RF Focus, Radio and Music Industry Veteran. Radio DJ, Programmer, Musician and Voice Talent. Graduated from Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y. and worked at the legendary KKBT (92.3 The Beat) during its nationwide heyday in the early 90s. Also worked for Stevie Wonder at KJLH.


  1. In addition to not appeling to the 18-34 listener, they really have minimal appeal to the 25-54 listener because it’s all about self promotion. The shows lack reality. It’s a phony ghetto approach from guys who for the most part are educated men. Nothing more than a modern day minstral show only no blackface necessary. They all appeal to the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately over time, listener expectations in most markets are not much and black radio owners and management are dropping the ball. Radio is entirely perceptual and i shudder to think that these syndicated programs are the face of black/urban radio. Kudos to V103 for keeping it real, localized, relevant, and professional.

  2. I stopped listening to terrestial radio because of the syndication. Tom and Steve could care less about what happens in Detrot. There is too much conversation and not enough music.

  3. I love reading comments about how the old should be moved out and placed of the young. While I agree with much of the specifics. I understand the nature of the business being in a “no risk” mode. Local radio has to be redefined. It’s confusing to everyone. I never liked syndicated programming because you never know what time it is. For me it has always been that simple.

    When I was young, an old man once told me, it is impossible to have “Youth and Experience at the same. As a older man now. I wish that I could see that old man to say you were right.

    Much of the argument is about being on radio.. None of the argument is about “taking” radio back. Or mobilizing young people to focus of the what of radio is not providing for them. Let’s talk about that.

    The study of what happened on radio between 1963 through 1984 is not bad thing. Man I wish that you heard some of the “original” purveyors of “Rap” the Black Radio Announcer. Radio was a science for the legendary pioneers. And we should not forget of forgo the legacy that they had taken from them. Black announcers in every community was very powerful because people followed them. Today, it totally different. My friend always tells me. It’s hard to serve two masters.

  4. Young people want to hear that rap stuff and they don’t give a damn about news.Joyner dose a good job with raising money for black colleges but I wish he would stop his cooning on the air waves.Steve Harvey do a good job talking to God for about 15 to 20 minutes but the rest of his show goes to the Devi.Young people like Jeff Johnson and he’s a smart dude and he’s up to date on issues and alot of them from the Hip Hop world respect this dude and he will step to them about issues on things.Baisden’s show,nothing but sex and Wilborns dumb jokes,there no young people in large number listening to this coon either.

Comments are closed.