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Tavis Smiley Announces KBLA Line-up at Talk Station



At the stroke of midnight on June 19,2021 – that is, Juneteenth 2021 – Los Angeles will have its first and only “Unapologetically Progressive” talk radio station for the African-American listening audience!! Helmed by media personality, author and philanthropist Tavis Smiley of Smiley Audio Media Inc.,  KBLA Talk 1580, is the only Black-owned and operated talk station in Southern California! 

tavis smiley

After almost four years off the air, Smiley is back on the airwaves, with his own show, “Tavis Smiley,” plus, he’s introducing a great line up and giving folks something to talk about!!

With award-winning hosts like Dominique DiPrima and political commentators and comics D.L. Hughley and Alonzo Bodden, KBLA Talk 1580 boasts an all-star lineup of hosts who can speak candidly and passionately to the challenges people of color face daily trying to navigate life and realize their California hopes and dreams.

KBLA Talk 1580 intends to serve an audience long ignored by talk radio in Los Angeles – that is, people of color and progressives. Interestingly, KBLA 1580 AM is a heritage station and the original home of the iconic hip-hop station KDAY.

It’s a natural fit for Smiley to return to the airwaves as an owner of a talk radio station – the only Black-owned talk station West of the Mississippi. “There’s a difference to be ON a radio station and to OWN a radio station,” he said. “At KBLA Talk 1580, I wear many different hats, and all of my broadcast experience in radio and television has prepared me for this next chapter.”

He added, “I have spent my entire career educating and empowering Black people, and it was the next logical step for me to own something, based in the community, continuing to make impactful change as our country goes through its reckoning for social justice and change. The timing for KBLA Talk 1580 couldn’t be better.”

Smiley began his radio broadcast career in Los Angeles under the tutelage of African American radio pioneer and industry giant Bill Shearer, owner and operator of  KGFJ 1230 AM. His one-minute commentary, The Smiley Report, in morning and afternoon drive led to various stints, including a slot on the  #1 radio show in LA as a commentator on the “Ken & Barkley Morning Show” on TalkRadio 790 KABC. Still in his twenties, he eventually landed his own show, “Twenty-Something Talk,” co-hosted with another GenXer at the time, Ruben Navarrette Jr.. Talking race and politics, Smiley and Navarrette were the first African American and Latino radio team in the city – long before people were talking about a Black/Brown coalition. 

After making a splash in local radio, Smiley became a familiar voice to African American listeners on the nationally-syndicated radio show, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Later, he would expand from urban radio to mainstream, and host his own radio program on NPR, “The Tavis Smiley Show,” making Smiley the first African American to host a signature daily talk show in the history of NPR. Eventually, Smiley would segue into television with appearances and shows on BET, CNN, ABC and PBS

In addition, Smiley has tapped Elston Howard Butler to serve as president and general manager of KBLA Talk 1580. Butler will also serve as president and COO of the holding company, Smiley Audio Media Inc.

A 33-year seasoned radio executive, Butler has long been one of the market’s top leadership executives, known for generating exponential growth across multi-media platforms. Most recently, Butler served as market manager for Taxi Productions’ Radio Free 102.3 KJLH — overseeing a staff of 53 employees. Over the course of his broadcast media career, Butler has also been a winner for ABC/Disney and iHeart Media.  

The studios of KBLA Talk 1580 are located in historic Leimert Park, directly adjacent to Destination Crenshaw’s “Sankofa Park,” a 1.3 mile open-air museum along the new Crenshaw/LAX Metro rail line, presently under construction

KBLA Talk 1580 | at a glance

·       After 16 years, award-winning radio host Dominique DiPrima left Radio Free 102.3 KJLH-FM to anchor morning drive with the new show, “First Things First With Dominique DiPrima.” She’s the only African American woman in Los Angeles to host her own commercial talk radio show!

·       Don Amiche, a longtime fan favorite returns to the LA radio scene, bringing his boldness and brashness to late night talk, focusing on news, politics and pop culture. Get ready!

·       Comic and political commentator D.L. Hughley finally lands in Los Angeles. Although his afternoon show is heard around the country, listeners can now tune into Hughley in the City of Angels.

·       A regular on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” and the season three  winner  of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Alonzo Bodden brings his comedic commentary to KBLA Talk 1580 with his own show, “Alonzo Bodden: Who’s Paying Attention?”

·       After an almost four-year absence, Tavis Smiley is back on the air with his own show. But, this time he’s not just talent, but owner of LA’s first Black-owned talk radio station. He’s built a career empowering, enlightening and encouraging fellow citizens, and is excited to bring an “Unapologetically Progressive” talk radio stationto African American and progressive listeners.

KBLA Talk 1580 | The Line Up ·      

  • “First Things First With Dominique DiPrima” | M-F, 6 to 9am·       
  • “Tavis Smiley” | M-F 9 a.m. to 12noon·       
  • “Middays With Danny Morrison” | M-F 12 to 2pm ·      
  • “The D.L. Hughley Afternoon Show” | M-F 2 to 4 p.m.·      
  • “Alonzo Bodden: Who’s Paying Attention?” | M-F 4 to 7pm·       
  • “Let’s Get Intimate with Dr. Jeshana Johnson” | M-F 7 to 9pm·      
  • “Don Amiche vs. Everybody + Crysta and Kiara” | M-F, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m./midnight ·       
  • “The Best of KBLA Talk 1580” | each night/overnights from 12 a.m./midnight to 6 a.m. ·      

 Weekends will be anchored by Black Lives Matters’ “This Is Not A Drill,” featuring Melina Abdullah along with “The Best of State of the Black Union,” heard exclusively on KBLA Talk 1580

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