Faithful listeners of the Tom Joyner Morning Show got some bittersweet news Friday morning. The radio legend who has been at the helm of his eponymous show for a quarter of century announced will be retiring at the end of the year. However, the person tapped to take the morning show hosting baton is fan favorite Rickey Smiley, news that probably helped to soften the blow of Joyner leaving the airwaves.
Smiley is no stranger to Joyner’s morning show and should make for a smooth transition starting at the beginning of the new year. While the name of the show had yet to be determined, Smiley will be joined by familiar on-air talent Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea, according to a press release.
Joyner said he was confident that Smiley would carry on the morning show’s tradition.
“We broke some ground, raised the bar for what audiences expected from Black radio all while partying with a purpose,” he said in a brief statement. “Yeah, we’ve done a lot but there’s still a lot left to be done. I’m confident that Rickey’s activism along with his love for radio, the community, and HBCUs, will pick up where we left off.”
Smiley, who has used his radio platform to express his belief that “we are responsible for each other,” said he was excited about all the possibilities that lay ahead for the show.
“It’s an honor to continue the legacy of my boss and frat brother Tom Joyner,” Smiley said referencing their Omega Psi Phi bond. “Not only has he been a friend to my family and me over the years, but we consider him family. Tom’s mentorship has instilled in me valuable wisdom that I will carry with me through this new morning show.”
The news came Friday after speculation about who would be taking over for Joyner.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution predicted that the new show would likely be a success.
“This is a clear generational shift without a lot of strategic risk,” the news outlet wrote. “Smiley is already a known national figure and the hope is his older fans will move with him.”