The question being mentioned in urban radio these last couple of weeks is this; is comedian Steve Harvey preparing to step down in a year or two while he grooms Sheryl Underwood as his replacement?
Why is this question coming up you ask? Well, there are several things happening in the urban radio landscape that you may not be aware of, and while these things are happening, Program Directors are all looking at the overall change of programming and making their own judgments of the situations and we are hearing all of their rumblings.
Now lets look at the facts, and we will let you decide;
Several weeks ago comedian Sheryl Underwood surprised EVERYONE- and we do mean EVERYONE by quitting the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Actually, we hear that no one was more surprised than Tom Joyner because after she quit the show she was picked up by the Steve Harvey Morning Show. To be fair we should say that we heard reports that Underwood quit abruptly and we also heard that she left after giving Joyner the appropriate amount of time before she resigned. We have not been able to confirm either as of yet. Either way, Underwood is gone.
Anyway we know that Underwood joined The Steve Harvey Morning Show, which airs in 64 markets and has more than 7 million listeners.
Since Underwood joined the show, in some markets there have been a significant growth with the ratings and these Program Directors have taken notice. There have been several markets who despite the growth of the Show, have decided to go in another direction and have replaced the show with Rickey Smiley’s Morning Show. That can be said for KPRS for one, and as the demand for Smiley is picking up in other markets, it seems that Harvey has been giving Underwood more time to do her “thang” to create more of demand for her to create more competitive radio. This should also slow down Smiley creeping in on Harvey’s territory while his attention has been on his books, ABC with his morning reports and his new Family Feud gig.
Now we have to also be fair and report that while there have been some growth in the markets for the Steve Harvey Show, the rumblings are saying that the show is losing it’s steam and that Rickey Smiley’s Show will eventually catch up.
According to several sources, the writing is on the wall for Harvey to pass to torch, the question the PDs are asking will be just when? When will he feel Underwood is a big enough name to substantiate the syndication deal with Citadell, and for him not to worry about losing market share to Rickey Smiley? We can’t say for certain, but we do know this; only time will tell.
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