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For immediate release
January 2, 2002
Contact: NPR
Jessamyn Sarmiento ,
202-513-2307
jsarmiento @npr.org



Tavis Smiley Brings a Bold, New Voice to NPR

Washington, DC-On January 7, NPR premieres The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, a daily one-hour magazine that will engage national radio audiences with new voices and fresh perspectives. NPR's first show to originate from Los Angeles, The Tavis Smiley Show offers intelligent talk, news, and ideas presented by one of America's most exciting, young personalities.

An accomplished author and broadcaster, host Tavis Smiley has gained national attention as a smart and deftly skilled interviewer. His trademark passion and energy fuel the show, which features substantive and provocative discussions, commentary and reports on everything from politics to pop culture.

"We're thrilled to have Tavis on NPR. He is going to bring people into a conversation that they don't often hear," said Kevin Klose, NPR President and CEO. "The conversations are going to open up a different world for many of our current listeners and, are sure to attract new listeners to public radio."

Every day The Tavis Smiley Show will feature an assortment of voices and regular guests including Cornel West, Harvard University philosophy of religion professor; Omar Wasow, technology guru and executive director of blackplanet.com; Michael Eric Dyson, author and DePaul University religious studies professor; and Johnetta Cole, former president of Spelman College. On Fridays the show will take a lighter tone, with guests such as comedians Paul Mooney and Sheryl Underwood, offering humorous takes on current events.

"For as long as I have listened to NPR, I have been enlightened, encouraged, and empowered by the information which comes forth. My other radio outlets allow me to voice my own opinions, personal and political. This NPR show allows me the chance to probe others about their feelings, beliefs, ideas, and passions," said Smiley. "We'll discuss everything - politics, money, relationships, race, class, culture, and more. If it's being discussed, or better yet, if it's not being discussed, we'll be talking about it."

Time magazine selected Smiley as one of America's 50 most promising young leaders while Newsweek profiled him as one of the "20 people changing how Americans get their news" and dubbed him one of the nation's "captains of the airwaves." The New York Post screamed "Look out Larry King - here comes Tavis Smiley!"

As the former host of BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley on Black Entertainment Television, Smiley became known as Black America's favorite talk show host, honored with the NAACP Image Award for Best "News, Talk or Information Series" for three consecutive years. He is also the recipient of the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award from the National Association of Minorities in Communications.

Smiley is the author of five books. His most recent book, How to Make Black America Better, is a clarion call to African-Americans to take control of their own destiny. Smiley offers political commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and is a contributing editor for USA Weekend magazine. He is also a correspondent for CNN and an ABC-TV special correspondent for Good Morning America and Primetime Thursday.

The show's Web presence at www.npr.org will allow users anywhere in the world to find information on show topics and guests, listen to the latest broadcast and hear archived versions of previous shows.

The creation of The Tavis Smiley Show is the result of an ongoing collaboration between NPR and a consortium of African-American public radio stations, including WCLK-FM in Atlanta, Ga.; WNCU-FM in Durham, NC; WJSU in Jackson, MS; and WEAA in Baltimore, Md.

The Tavis Smiley Show is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of more than 16 million Americans each week via more than 640 public radio stations. NPR Online at www.npr.org brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.