Published on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 08:51
Early this morning, Tavis Smiley made the announcement that "Smiley & West," the weekly radio show that he does with Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West, will be returning to the Chicago airwaves on two different stations. Smiley and West will also be coming to town in just over a week for a live public event.
At the start of October 2010, Chicago Public Media's WBEZ-FM was among the first radio stations in the country to sign on to air the PRI-distributed show "Smiley & West." At the start of October this year, WBEZ canceled the show. The reason for cancellation was said to be low ratings, low interest, and the increasing political agendas & causes of the hosts, which ran counter to most of the rest of the station's non-partisan programming.
Even though WBEZ-FM's cancellation wasn't the first for "Smiley & West," this particular cancellation hurt Tavis Smiley more than others. Not only that, Chicago Public Media's CEO Torey Malatia's explanation of the reason for the program's removal in a letter to WBEZ-FM listeners angered Smiley greatly. It caused Smiley to write a ten-paragraph rant
aimed at Torey Malatia, which he publicly posted on his website and sent out via a widely-seen press release.
It also caused his company, Smiley Radio Properties, Inc. (SRP), to actively seek out other radio outlets in the city of Chicago. Those efforts netted SRP, not one, but two local affiliates willing to air the weekly program.
Starting this coming Sunday, November 4th, WCPT-AM/Chicago's Progressive Talk will carry "The Tavis Smiley Show" from 2:00pm-3:00pm, followed by "Smiley & West" from 3:00pm-4:00pm. This will be the regular time slots for these two SRP radio shows. WCPT-AM 820 also simulcasts on 92.5 FM, 92.7 FM, and 99.9 FM, however, for the remainder of this year, the three FM stations will be airing Dial Global-syndicated NFL games, preempting the AM simulcast. The Sunday AM simulcast on the FM band will resume in 2013.
Starting November 10th, WVON-AM 1690 will also carry "Smiley & West." WVON-AM will air the show each Saturday morning at 11:00am.
In other good news for SRP, Tavis Smiley's radio company has announced that it has picked up support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and other underwriters, ensuring that "Smiley & West" and "The Tavis Smiley Show" can continue on for the next year.
On Thursday, November 8th, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, along with broadcaster/journalist Amy Goodman, will host a free, live town hall event, which is open to the public. Entitled "Poverty, Power, and the Public Airwaves: Post Election Analysis and Commentary," the event will look at the election results from the day before and have the hosts share their thoughts on the role the media plays in our democracy -- both good and bad. It will take place at Thorne Auditorium at Northwestern University's Law School, located at 375 East Chicago Avenue, in Chicago. The event begins at 7:00pm, with the doors opening at 6:00pm. Seating capacity is only for 720 people. Register in advance to attend at this link HERE