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For immediate release
May 28, 2002
NPR: Laura Jenny Lawhorn,
KCRW: Sarah Spitz, Debbie Adler
KPCC: Cindy Young,

Tavis Smiley Brings a Bold, New Voice to
Los Angeles Airwaves

LOS ANGELES, CA - On June 3, 2002, The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR will premiere on two Southern California radio stations, airing Monday-Friday from 5-6am on KCRW Santa Monica (89.9 FM and and evenings from 8-9pm on KPCC 89.3 FM. The Tavis Smiley Show, a weekday, one-hour magazine, offers intelligent talk, news, and ideas presented by one of America's most exciting, young personalities. It is also the first NPR-produced program to originate from Los Angeles.

An accomplished author and broadcaster, Tavis Smiley has gained national attention as a smart, lively interviewer. His trademark passion and energy fuel the show, which features substantive and provocative discussions, commentary, exclusive interviews (Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have been recent guests) and reports on everything from politics to pop culture.

"I'm delighted and excited to be able to hear my own show -not once, but twice a day-in Los Angeles, my hometown," said Smiley. "I'm a listener and fan of both KCRW and KPCC, two wonderful public radio stations in Southern California, and I am proud and honored that they have committed to bring The Tavis Smiley Show to their listeners."

KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour decided to add the program to the station's morning line-up after hearing Smiley speak at the May Public Radio Conference in Washington, DC. "Tavis is a force," said Seymour. "He's smart, funny and engaging. He brings an urban sensibility that's been honed in this town. I wanted to put him on in the morning-and now. He's a terrific fit for the KCRW audience."

"NPR is the cream of the crop when it comes to dissemination of in-depth, provocative and intelligent information," continued Smiley. "I'm not sure if this is true or not, but working on my NPR show sure makes me feel smarter. My other radio outlets allow me to voice my own opinions, personal and political, but The Tavis Smiley Show gives me a chance to probe others about their feelings, beliefs, ideas and passions. We cover everything-politics, money, relationships, race, class, culture and more. If it's being discussed-or better yet, if it's not-we'll be talking about it, and we'll be breaking news."

Bill Davis, president of KPCC/Southern California Public Radio, said, ""Tavis Smiley is a wonderful personality, lands big interviews, has a great regular cast of characters, covers a huge range of topics, and brings an important Los Angeles voice to public radio. We're thrilled to have him join the other L.A. voices on KPCC."

The Tavis Smiley Show debuted in January 2002 on pilot public radio stations across the U.S. Since then, Smiley has interviewed newsmakers and personalities from Bill Cosby to Bill Clinton to Senator John McCain and Halle Berry. His show includes regular guests, including professor Cornel West, who recently announced his departure from Harvard for Princeton on Smiley's program; Omar Wasow, technology guru and executive director of; Michael Eric Dyson, author and University of Pennsylvania professor; and Johnnetta Cole, president of Bennett College. On Fridays the show takes a lighter tone, with guests such as comedians Chris Tucker and Sheryl Underwood offering humorous takes on current events.

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 new book, Keeping the Faith: Stories of Love, Courage, Healing and Hope from Black America is due out in September 2002. 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 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 show's Web presence at allows users anywhere in the world to find information on show topics and guests, listen to the latest broadcast, hear archived versions of previous shows and find stations that broadcast the program.

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

KCRW-FM, licensed to Santa Monica College, is National Public Radio's flagship station for Southern California. The station serves Los Angeles and Orange Counties at 89.9 FM, Ventura County at 89.1 FM on KCRU/ Oxnard-Ventura, the greater Palm Springs area at 89.3 FM on KCRI/Indio-Palm Springs and Kern and Northern LA Counties at 88.1 FM on KCRY/Mojave/Antelope Valley. Translators carry the signal to the Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley areas at 90.7 FM, Gorman at 89.7 FM, Banning at 90.9 FM, the Ridgecrest area at 107.1 FM, the Santa Paula, Moorpark, and Fillmore areas at 102.3 FM, Ojai at 102.1 FM, and Lemon Grove/Spring Valley in San Diego County at 89.9 FM. Every week, more than 460,000 listeners tune to the station for its eclectic and innovative non-commercial program schedule. KCRW can be found on the World Wide Web at and at Radio@AOL

89.3 (FM) KPCC - Southern California Public Radio - reaches more than 350,000 Los Angeles and Orange County listeners weekly with its award-winning combination of NPR news, local news and intelligent discussion programming. Public Radio's signature national programs, including Marketplace, Fresh Air, Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion, round out the schedule. Weekdays, Larry Mantle's AirTalk and Talk of the City with Kitty Felde provide a civic forum for thoughtful discussion of important issues in Southern California, along with Talk of the Nation, hosted by NPR's Neal Conan.

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 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.