November 23, 2020

Tavis Smiley Buys Los Angeles' 1580 AM KBLA Set to Launch Local Progressive Talk Radio Format

Tavis Smiley is set to return to a media platform with the purchase of KBLA 1580 AM radio station in Los Angeles. Smiley has signed a deal to buy KBLA from Multicultural Radio Broadcasting for $7.15 million.  He will launch a new progressive talk format in Southern California. Smiley will position KBLA as “Unapologetically Progressive” according to the station's website.

KBLA has a 50,000-watts day and night signal that stretches from Thousand Oaks to San Clemente. It is currently airing ethnic brokered programming. The deal will include an eight-year non-compete agreement in which Multicultural Radio pledges it will not help any other broadcaster to develop urban format in the Los Angeles market. Urban stations in the L.A. include music format stations 102.3 KJLH, 94.7 The Wave, and 93.5 KDAY. 
Smiley was ordered to pay PBS $2.6 million for violating a morals clause in August related to multiple harassment cases. His interview program on PBS stations nationwide garnered a large audience and recognition among viewers. Smiley was also well known for his appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show as the show's first political and social commentator.

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