The Post-Gazette reports this morning that as of October 28, 2011, the Bev Smith Show – the only nationally syndicated black female talk show on radio – will no longer be on the air. The program is produced and distributed by Pittsburgh-based American Urban Radio Networks and airs locally on WGBN-AM (1150 New Kensington) and 30 AM stations across the country. Smith says she is not leaving of her own accord. AURN says its pulling the show for economic reasons but Smith says, “I see it as about being a certain age and gender. If you’ve ever listened to me, you’ll know I’m not afraid to tackle the truth. Is this something about black women’s voices? Because there are no other black women nationally doing what I’m doing.”
AURN’s Jerry Lopes, president of program operations and affiliations, says that the audience for The Bev Smith Show appears to be skewing older than the target demo of 25-54. Additionally, Lopes claims that the only other black talk radio hosts to do similar programming are Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine. Those programs are produced by Radio One Group – the largest owner of urban stations in the country. “So they end up putting their own people on their own radio stations, which puts them at a significant advantage,” Lopes said noting that AURN mostly produces content and only owns 3 AM stations since the sale of WAMO-AM/FM and WPGR-AM locally.
Meanwhile, Smith says she’s in talks with other broadcasters about resuming her show on another network. She is also writing a book she hopes to publish in 2012 called “Talking While Black”. She’s taken this topic to her Facebook Fan Page and her website – bevsmithtalks.com.