Steve Harvey has hosted “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” since September 2000, but if it wasn’t for him jumping in for a since-deceased Chicago radio host 25 years ago it might never have happened.
“A lot of people ask how did I go from radio to TV. Well, radio almost didn’t happen 😁😂🤣,” read a portion of the Nov. 21 tweet accompanying Harvey’s online segment “Rolling with Steve Harvey.”
The comic said he was in Chicago in 1994 for a stand-up concert at the state theater that year when he was asked to fill in for Doug Banks, a noted radio personality at WGCI.
“I was supposed to just be a guest. I got there early, he got sick, and they said, ‘Well, go on in and announce your show.’ Then, I told a couple jokes,” Harvey recalled. “And then the phone rang … me and the caller had some banter [on-air]. Went to a commercial break, general manager of the station came in and said, ‘Hey, have you done radio before?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah. All the time.’ Never done s–t before.”
The general manager asked him to sit in for another hour and then asked Harvey to sit in for the rest of the morning. The following day, after Harvey had a sold-out show, the GM asked if he ever considered a career in radio. The hit comedian said no.
“I said, ‘How much does it pay?’ And then he told me and then I said, ‘Nah, I don’t want to do radio, man. I make a lot of money out here,’” Harvey recalled. Asked by the GM how much he would have to make, it turned out that wasn’t in the budget. Harvey headed to the elevator, but before he left the building the secretary told him he was asked to come back upstairs.
“[The general manager] says, ‘My boss said they’ll pay you that much money.’ I said, ‘Cool, I’ll do radio tomorrow,’” Harvey revealed to an audience that was astonished and amused. “That was my first radio gig at WGCI Chicago.”
Many fans applauded the move.
“the lesson from this, don’t be afraid to walk away from the table”
“That’s what’s up, Steve is a real one.”
By the time the 21st century was well underway, Harvey had his own radio program. “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” is currently broadcast from Los Angeles but is nationally syndicated in cities across the U.S., including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Chicago.