Three years after workplace misconduct allegations cost veteran TV and radio talk-show host Tavis Smiley his job and a national forum, he’s ending his silence.
Smiley, who continues to deny the claims of unwanted sexual behavior that led PBS to drop his long-running show, is attempting to rebound with the purchase of a Los Angeles radio station that will offer a Black and progressive perspective on the city and nation.
Sidelined during a period of landmark racial upheaval, Smiley decided to make his own opportunity with reformatted station KBLA Talk 1580 Los Angeles. It debuts with a preview on Saturday, the Juneteenth holiday commemorating when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free.
“While I was watching this racial reckoning last summer, it was so clear to me that people were being heard to some degree, but there were no African American-owned platforms where people had their voice on a regular basis,” Smiley said. The media can lose interest when protests stop, he said, but the issues “that matter to us don’t go away.”