Joyner was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and received a degree in sociology from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). While a student at Tuskegee Joyner joined the fraternity Omega Psi Phi.
 Radio career
He began his broadcasting career in Montgomery, Alabama immediately upon graduation, and worked at a number of radio stations in the American South, before moving to Chicago at WJPC (AM) (now WNTD).
In the mid-1980s, Joyner was simultaneously offered two positions: one for a morning show at KKDA-FM (K104) in Dallas and one for an afternoon show at WGCI-FM in Chicago. Instead of choosing between the two, Joyner chose to take both jobs, and for years he commuted daily by plane between the two cities, earning the nicknames “The Fly Jock” and “The Hardest Working Man in Radio.” He later told Radio Ink magazine that he racked up 7 million frequent flyer miles over the course of his employment at both stations.
In 1994, Joyner was signed by ABC Radio Networks to host a nationally-syndicated program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, featuring Joyner and a team of comedians and commentators reporting and discussing the latest news and sports of the day, and playing popular R&B songs from the 1970s through the 1990s as well as contemporary R&B hits. Also featured are celebrity guests, on-site remotes (called “Sky Shows”), and an on-air soap opera, It’s Your World. Southwest Airlines is a prominent sponsor of the radio show, especially Joyner’s “Sky Shows,” and free round-trip airfare to any destination that Southwest flies to is a recurring giveaway on his show.
 The Tom Joyner Show
In 2005, a nationally syndicated television show, The Tom Joyner Show, was launched with Joyner as emcee of a one-hour comedy/variety show, combining sketch comedy featuring the Tom Joyner Show Players (his co-hosts from the radio show), talent contests, and musical performances by such artists as Earth, Wind and Fire, Brian McKnight, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Toni Braxton. The show attracted advertisers such as McDonalds, Chrysler Corporation, WalMart and Southwest Airlines.
While the program achieved top ratings for a weekly syndicated program themed to African American viewers “” even taking the number one show position, although it was in a late night time slot “” in such markets as New York and Atlanta, affiliates in other markets were reluctant to upgrade the show to prime time for a targeted audience. Without the opportunity to reach a larger audience in earlier time slots and achieve greater revenues, the show had limited ability to offset the residuals and music clearances required by the many performers appearing on the show. Despite award recognition, in May 2006, Joyner decided not to continue due to production costs related to the music variety show concept. Re-runs are shown on TV One cable channel.
 Books and other media
In 2005 Warner Books published “I’m Just a DJ but … It Makes Sense to Me” written with his longtime writer, Mary Flowers Boyce. The book chronicles his childhood and early days in radio as well as offers Joyner’s thoughts on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (“HBCUs”), the power of the black consumer and fatherhood. In February 2009, Amber Books published Tom Joyner Presents How to Prepare for College, a primer for parents and their children offering specific suggests and advice. The book features a foreword written by Joyner with writers Wil and Thomas LaVeist.
He appeared with his father and grandfather in the documentary “Rising from the Rails: The Story of the Pullman Porter” crediting his family with passing down important values which he passed down to his sons as well. His grandfather Oscar “Doc” Joyner was a Pullman porter who became a medical doctor.
Tom Joyner has had cameo roles in two films-The Gospel (2005) and Madea Goes to Jail (2009). He also had another television show, The Tom Joyner Sky Show (2003), and has appeared on many other television programs.
 Personal life
With his first wife Dora, Tom is the father of two sons, Thomas Jr. and Oscar, whom he calls “Killer” and “Thriller”. He is currently married to celebrity aerobics instructor/fitness expert Donna Richardson.
Joyner has been an advocate for voter registration and throughout the year promotes voter registration over the air, on his website and during his live ‘Sky Shows’ broadcasts. To improve healthy living, Joyner holds a ‘Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day’ every April or September. On that day, he rallies families and friends to go to the doctor to get a check up to prevent any health problems, and particularly treat any existing issues.
 Tom Joyner Foundation
Joyner has also founded The Tom Joyner Foundation to provide financial assistance to students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since 1998, it has raised more than $55 million to help keep students enrolled at HBCUs. The Tom Joyner Foundation also hosts an annual cruise named the Fantasic Voyage which also raises money for HBCU’s.