The announcement was made on Friday during “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” which began over two decades ago. Smiley will take over the reins in January 2020, and he’ll be joined by Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea as co-hosts.
“I’m happy to see the landscape of Urban AC morning radio continue to expand with Rickey, and I’m proud of the doors the ‘Tom Joyner Morning Show’ opened,” said Joyner in a press release.
“Twenty-five years ago, there was no template for a syndicated Urban radio show and we worked hard to prove that we could successfully produce and market a national platform that would entertain, inform and empower African-American listeners,” he added.
“Yeah, we’ve done a lot but there’s still a lot left to be done,” Joyner continued. “I’m confident that Rickey’s activism along with his love for radio, the community and HBCUs will pick up where we left off.”
Although the 69-year-old just named Smiley as his successor, he announced his retirement back in 2017 and said he’d walk away after the show reaches its 25th year.
Reportedly, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” has more than 8 million listeners each morning in over 100 markets, making it the most popular radio show in the Black community.
In that same press statement, Smiley also spoke about taking over for Joyner and explained what the Alabama native means to him.
“It’s an honor to continue the legacy of my boss and frat brother Tom Joyner,” said Smiley. “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.”
Smiley also shared the news Friday on Instagram, and people said they were really happy for him.
“Congrats Rickey and the whole gang. I think you guys will do great👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾,” someone wrote beneath his post.
Fans also sent their well-wishes and thank yous to Joyner.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” one person wrote on Instagram. “Good luck Tom and what you have done for Black people can never be measured.”