Friday, March 07, 2008
Sybil Wilkes of the TJMS- Don’t Become Robin Quivers!
Plenty of bloggers out there have called Tom Joyner and his sidekick J. Anthony Brown to the carpet for their coonery and buffoonery on the syndicated radio program The Tom Joyner Morning Show. Cincinnati-based attorney and activist Nathaniel Livingston, Jr. even went so far as to file a complaint with the FCC a few years back. Livingston tired of Joyner and Brown’s “jokes” in which Black folks were regularly referred to as “coons” and “jiggaboos.”
The one voice of reason for many years was “news anchor” Sybil Wilkes. Wilkes offered a “different side of issues”—her contributions were always coonery-free. When Joyner and Brown reduced important issues to the utterly absurd, Wilkes would jump in to remind listeners of the more serious, key debates. When a distinguished guest came on the radio program, it was Wilkes who conducted the interview. Wilkes could be counted on to ask the serious and smart questions.
But no more. Today, Wilkes laughs the hardest and the loudest. She no longer leads the way as the smart, informed, news anchor. Instead, she is often the first one to rile Joyner and Brown up with her own highly questionable jokes. The sole voice of reason and wisdom has ceded to the jokey joke atmosphere of the TJMS. Today, Joyner rarely teases Wilkes for using “big A words.”
There was a time when I had my students tune in to the TJMS just to listen to Wilkes. I held her up as someone who carved out a unique radio career while provided a good community service to listeners. Wilkes has been in radio since 1985 in markets such as Chicago, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Charlotte. She earned degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies from Northwestern University. But I must remind Wilkes of her own motto, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
Indeed, we expect much from Wilkes. The TJMS needs her wisdom and relevancy more than ever—these are very serious times. Soon, one will wonder if there is significant difference between Wilkes’ performance of “news anchor” and that of another famous “news anchor”—that of Robin "selling out women on a daily basis" Quivers of the Howard Stern Show.
Will the old Sybil Wilkes please come back!
(Image: Brown, Joyner, and Sybil Wilkes)