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Tavis Smiley’s KBLA Marks Its One Year Anniversary as the Most Trusted, Credible Information Source for Black Angelenos

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CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA – JUL 08: seen at KBLA 1580AM Media Influencers Brunch on Friday July 8, 2022 at Blackbird House in Culver City, California. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Eclipse Content/KBLA)


Media personality/author Tavis Smiley celebrated the one year anniversary of KBLA Talk Radio with an intimate gathering of staff and Black influencers—including County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, CNN commentator Areva Martin, Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, and LADWP President Cynthia McClain Hill.

Highlighting the luncheon was the presentation of an independent survey that found the station to be the “most trusted, credible and reliable source of information” for African Americans in Los Angeles. In a competitive radio market, the findings are a big win for Smiley, who launched the city’s first and only “Unapologetically Progressive” talk radio station for the African American listening audience just one year ago on Juneteenth 2021. KBLA Talk 1580 serves an audience long ignored by talk radio in Los Angeles – namely, people of color and progressives. Interestingly, KBLA 1580 AM is a heritage station and the original home of the iconic Hip-Hop station KDAY.

The findings were the result of a survey of 400 Black/African Americans in the Los Angeles media market (June 4-12, 2022) conducted by Evitarus, a Black-owned, L.A.-based public opinion research and public policy consulting firm. The survey revealed the habits and attitudes toward the media landscape and trusted sources of news and information.

The independent survey found that KBLA Talk 1580 fills a void in providing relevant programming and content to the Black community. Furthermore, in comparison to other talk stations, Smiley’s KBLA consistently emerged as “the station of choice” for the African American listener.

The survey also found that KBLA Talk 1580’s listening audience was not only concerned about the lack of Black-owned talk radio stations nationwide – there are only 5 – but also, the “ideological imbalance of talk radio” – i.e. political and news-oriented coverage that leans conservative.

88% were more likely to listen to a station with black content. 93% followed news and information at least somewhat closely. 52% reported that they followed news and information very closely.

KBLA Talk 1580 has steadily increased its market share by offering fresh, diverse voices on the air in contrast to the “all day, all night, all white” right-wing rhetoric found on most talk stations around the country. More importantly, in amale-dominated talk radio space, KBLA Talk 1580 has given a home to more than 17 female radio hosts who amplify their voices on a variety of topics, ranging from headline news, entertainment news and pop culture to relationship and financial advice.

“I am humbled by the response we have received from our target audience in this first year of operation. One never knows how the audience is going to receive a new concept, but I believed then as I do now that Black folk and progressives deserve better from talk radio. The amazing findings of this independent survey confirm our efforts and empower us to stay on the wall and keep building,” said Smiley, who is among the stations on-air personalities.

Also on hand for the anniversary luncheon was award winning talk radio veteran Dominique DiPrima who hosts the station’s morning drive segment. The stations all-star lineup of hosts includes political commentator and comic DL Hughley, Los Angeles Hip-Hop icon YoYo, comedienne and talk show host Loni Love civil rights attorney Areva Martinand BLM/LA co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah.

      KBLA Talk 1580 is located in Leimert Park adjacent to Destination Crenshaw’s “Sankofa Park.


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