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AKA Denounces Tom Joyner's Firing

March 30, 2009

Melody M. McDowell
Chief Information Officer
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
312-371-8917 - cell - e-mail


Barbara A. McKinzie

Chicago, IL ( - Alpha Kappa Alpha's international president, Barbara A. McKinzie, expressed outrage over Clear Channel Communications' decision to summarily remove Tom Joyner's show from the Chicago market. She characterized this as symptomatic of a narrow-minded "marketing mindset" from executives who view the black community as a monolith and who make decisions about the African-American consumer through their misguided perceptions about the urban market.

Dismissing it as a "bad business decision," McKinzie said the view that "all blacks think alike" is an extension of a bygone era of arrogance and ignorance.

In response to this decision, she dispatched an e-blast to Alpha Kappa Alpha's 225,000 members worldwide where she directed those in Chicago to use that time slot to log on to the to hear the show. She also advised members to shed their portfolios of Clear Channel stock (C C Media Holdings, on OTCBB under the ticker symbol CCMO) until this decision is rescinded and Joyner is restored to his place on Chicago's airwaves. She urged members to pen letters of indignation to Clear Channel principals, including those at the corporate headquarters in San Antonio. She said the flurry of letters would serve as a preemptive hedge to signal to other markets that this "type of disrespect" will not be tolerated.

"African Americans represent a wide spectrum of viewpoints and interests and cannot be lumped into one listening pool. Tom Joyner provides a unique mix of information, entertainment, provocative commentary and a forum to incite the community to action," she declared.

Echoing Joyner's self description as a voice who has "super-served" the community, she credits him for being the stimulus that inspired African Americans to vote. "His constant and repeated pleas inspired blacks to vote and played a key role in the election of the first black president," she noted.

She also cited Joyner's novel "Take A Loved One to the Doctor Day", as a valuable vehicle for raising awareness about the importance of being healthy. "It is a documented fact that there are wide health disparities in the African-American community," she stated. "This initiative has been effective in addressing and bridging the health care gap."

She noted that Joyner has single-handedly raised millions so that African-American students can attend historically black colleges and universities. He has also used the power of his platform, she said, to raise funds for HBCUs.

On a sentimental note, she praised him for using his show to raise the profile of courageous black females whose compelling stories inspire all African Americans.

She said that the positions Joyner advance parallel Alpha Kappa Alpha's positions on economic empowerment, health, political awareness, and education. For this reason, she called Tom Joyner "a partner in promoting Alpha Kappa Alpha's mission."

While acknowledging Steve Harvey's unique talent, and appeal, she said the demographic he attracts is completely different from Joyner's and that Clear Channel should embrace this diversity.

"Surely a market as vast as Chicago's can accommodate two different views and two different talents."

Chastising Clear Channel executives, McKinzie offered a basic lesson: "Knowing one's market is taught in Business 101. It's clear that these decision makers have dramatically departed from the principles taught in business school. The pushback against this decision -- and the callous manner in which it was executed -- will result in plummeting ratings, reduced share and a retreat from all of its properties."

"Through Alpha Kappa Alpha's infrastructure and quick-fire response, we will lead the way to make sure that those who issued this misguided decision learn the lesson and suffer the consequences."

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