Dominique Di Prima Exits KJLH for Tavis Smiley’s New Talk Radio Station

| lafocus | | 9 Comments


On June 19, Tavis Smiley is set to launch KBLA Talk 1580, L.A.’s first and only “Unapologetically Progressive” Black owned and operated, talk radio station in Southern California. But Smiley won’t be the only one making history.

Dominique DiPrima, long time host of KJLH’s highly popular Front Page, will also make history as the first black woman to host a morning drive talk radio show. The three-hour long show, dubbed First Things First, will air from 6am to 9am weekdays and tackle issues of interest and urgency in the African American community.

“There’s not been a black talk radio station in la and there’s never been a black woman with her own morning drive talk radio show in Los Angeles as far as commercial radio and I’m really excited to be the first one to do it,” said DiPrima.


“We all want the opportunity to grow and expand and make history and I think what Tavis is doing with KBLA is historical,” she continues. “When you think about Los Angeles being such a catalyst for change —whether it’s the Watts Uprising or the ‘92 civil unrest or the Black Lives Matter Movement—we are an epicenter of change and black voices and we’ve never had a talk radio station, that’s significant.”

For many of those longtime fans of DiPrima’s work with KJLH’s popular early morning one hour talker, the move is an answer to their prayers.

“For years, they’ve been asking ‘Can you be on later’ or ‘can you have a longer show?’ I would have to explain to them that KJLH is a music station”, said the New York native. “Stevie has dedicated it to the community so it feels like so much more than that, but it is a music format. So, this [opportunity] allows me to do something they’ve been asking me for years.”

Not surprisingly, saying goodbye was hard to do, for Di Prima, who has been at KJLH for 16 years.

“I love Stevie,” declares the five-time Emmy Award winning talk show host. “[He’s] one of the only celebrities I’ve ever met that lives up to his legend. KJLH is like a family. It’s been such a great opportunity.” 

She knows all too well the risk of startups in a city like Los Angeles.

“If it were easy for black people to own radio and television stations, a lot more of us would”, DiPrima says. “L.A. is very particular. These streets know who you are and you’re going to get credential checks whether you know it or not. But Tavis has a long history of educating and uplifting. He has a high standard in terms of the quality of what he does and I think he has an amazing track record.” 

And as DiPrima sees it, the timing couldn’t be better. 

“We’re in the middle of a global reckoning around diversity, equity inclusion, black life, anti-racism”, she observes. ”I feel like this is the moment for it.”

As to what DiPrima brings to the table?

“I think that God has blessed me with the ability to talk to anybody and I like talking to anybody. I like finding out what their story is. I like laughing with them, arguing with them…trying to change their minds.” 

Following DiPrima weekdays will be Tavis Smiley who will be back on the air after a four-year absence. The station lineup will also include Comic and political commentary host DL Hughley, the the season three  winner  of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” Alonzo  Bodden, former radio DJ Don Amiche and Black Lives Matter Melinda Abdullah.

Comments (9)

  • Congratulations “Madam President” Ms. Dominque Di Prima, all the best to you as you pioneer a whole new era in early morning Talk Radio from a genuine :PROGRESSIVE point od View. Thanks also for all of the exposure that you gave to my area of Activism:

  • REPARATIONSin Memoryof Our Ancestors . Congratulations to Dominique DiPrima, Don Ameche, ((Blessed to have met , followed and called in regularly with both of them ) .D L Hughley, ( I use to talk to his mother regularly and love him as an outsatading comic ) Alonzo Bodden and of course Tavis Smiley , long time Activist . Also loved The Covenant, back in 2006. Thanks LA Focus . My first time on line with your (article / newspaper ) Pick up all The Hard Copies regularly. I am Mollie Bell and Straight Outta Compton. The Struggle Continues , always to God be the Glory. It’s a new day . I am excited about this new venture for all.

  • Congratulations to the entire KBLA Team especially Dominique DiPrima and Melinda Abdullah
    This past year showed us the importance of pivoting, digging deep and the necessity to grow, adapt and change. I look forward to what is to come.

  • Amen” Praise da Lord” !!!! We will certainly miss you , waking us up with enlightenment so early, but because of intent personal research, getting up & “bringin it’”dayafter day year after year , look at what you have built over time . A signature voice and temperament. Speaking on the large platform is like breathing to Ms. DiPrima. I was looking for her to Grace Media platforms like CNN , long ago . So happy for you & your family Dominique. Maybe you can get another hour
    Of rest in the morning now . Continue to load the wagon in your own unique fashion my brave Sista . I know you come from “ good stock” & that has helped prepare you for whatever blessings come next. We will be listening , with great anticipation. We will be receiving you with great interpretation!

  • Praise the Lord for the great things He has done. Sista Dominique DiPrima, you have been such a blessing to our community at large. You have been sounding the alarm for 16 years. We have heard you early in the mornings to get a jumpstart on what was happening. One morning I heard the alarm but THE PROUD BIRD was closing with no effort to keep it open. With all of the historical artifacts Of the Teske Gi Airmen, we got busy and to God be the glory it is still standing. We thank God that you did not miss the moment change. We will continue to pray for you knowing that I’ve said it many of times before, Proverbs 3:5-6 read and believe and the best is yet to come. Pastor Prince (RFCV) Royal Family Christain Village.

  • The best part about being an early bird is my morning cup of coffee – and you Dominique. KJLH has definitely got some hard shoes to fill. Though this news is bittersweet, I’m so grateful that Los Angeles can still hear your voice on the radio. Our community needs you and I look forward to listening to the exciting new content on KBLA. Congratulations and I wish you all the best in your new journey. This is going to be fun!

  • I am with you MOLLIE BELL in wishing nothing but love and congratulations to Dominique DiPrima, and the rest of her new family radio talk show! I miss her in the mornings on KJLH, and I must admit, I never agreed with everything she said, but she ALWAYS said it with grace and dignity! She educated us through the voting rights and our best interest! Wonderful blessings to your feet and growth our sister! Your voice and intelligence is a gift we will hold on to and celebrate in your new beginnings! As Mollie Bell says…. Always, to God be the glory!

  • I will truly miss Dominique and what her show brought to KJLH. I was devastated when Don left and now Dominique this really is heartbreaking..I wish them continued success and hope to hear broadcast from New York..Blessings and prayers..

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