With today's news that Tom Joyner's morning show has aired for the last time on Clear Channel-owned WMXD-FM 92.3 and is bound for Radio One's Kiss FM, it becomes clear that Detroit's urban radio landscape is in for big time changes. Radio One, which owns a portion of Joyner's show, is moving it to its own property - essentially eliminating competition with itself.
Tom Joyner's move to Kiss FM, which will be shifting to from 102.7 to 105.9 sometime before Joyner's first airing on his new home Monday, will displace John Mason who shifts to afternoons 2-4pm. To make room, midday host Randi Myles loses the 2-3pm hour from her air shift and afternoon drive jock Lady BG drops her 3-4pm hour. This move isn't without risk however. Mason has plenty of loyal listeners and is given credit for pulling the station's ratings up to respectable levels since his arrival from Clear Channel's WJLB-FM 97.9. He also helped shape the station's current R&B Oldies sound. Mason's popularity is probably at all time high in Detroit and across the country due to the his exposure as the Pistons' PA announcer at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Questions that will be answered soon include whether or not Mason will be happy in a role with greatly reduced visibility and if existing listeners will stay with the station with all the upcoming changes. Joyner's syndicated program has done extremely well on WMXD - it'll also be interesting to see how WMXD tries to keep those listeners from following the popular host to 105.9.
Rumors continue to circulate about possible changes to the current format of 105.9 Jamz as it shifts to 102.7. There has been speculation that a Gospel format may wind up on 102.7, giving WJLB sole possession of the mainstream urban format in Detroit. Radio One does operate Gospel stations on FM in some of its other markets - so such a move isn't beyond the realm of possibilities.
WMXD will now have to search for its new morning show host. For the next ten weeks, Mix 92.3 will feature various national celebrity guest DJs hosting morning drive. Listeners will then have the opportunity to cast their vote on line at www.mix923fm.com for their favorite celebrity to be the next new morning show host. Summer is a good time to try such an experiment - radio listenership is typically soft due to vacations and outdoor activities.
WMXD program director Jamillah Muhammad commented that "Mix 92.3 is Detroit’s #1 Adult Radio Station. A change in morning drive deserves a nationwide search to find the best talent available to entertain the audience every morning. The input of the listeners is key to our success."
Next week’s celebrity guest DJ on WMXD will be Gerald Levert, starting June 28th.