Tavis Smiley picks Dominique DiPrima to lead new radio station

Dominique DiPrima

By Wyllisa R. Bennett, Exclusive to Inglewood Today

At the stroke of midnight on June 19, 2021 – that is, Juneteenth 2021 – Los Angeles will have its first and only “Unapologetically Progressive” talk radio stationfor the African-American listening audience!! Helmed by media personality Tavis Smiley of Smiley Audio Media,  KBLA Talk 1580 will be the only Black-owned and operated talk radio station in Southern California.

Smiley tapped award-winning veteran radio host Dominique DiPrima as the signature voice for the new KBLA Talk 1580. She’s set to host morning drive with her new show, titled “First Things First With Dominique DiPrima,”  that will air from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays. “When I thought about a host for morning drive, Dominique was my first and only choice,” said Smiley.

Since 2005, DiPrima has served as host of “Front Page With Dominique DiPrima,” on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH, which ran from 4:30 to 6 a.m. weekday mornings. The urban adult contemporary radio station is also Black-owned and operated by living legend and Grammy winning recording artist Stevie Wonder’s Taxi Productions.  “For years, people have been asking me if I could  come  on later and  have a longer show. Unfortunately, due to the format, it wasn’t possible. But now with KBLA Talk 1580, I will have three hours in drive time,” said DiPrima.

DiPrima will get a chance to sleep in a little bit with her new gig at KBLA Talk 1580. Considered a cultural icon, DiPrima left the KJLH airwaves on Friday, June 4, 2021. “I am excited to make history as the first Black woman in  Los Angeles commercial talk radio to host her own morning  drive show,” she said. “It’s actually amazing that Los  Angeles — a supposedly liberal city that is often at the forefront of political and cultural change from  Watts in 1965 to Black Lives Matter in 2020 — has neverhad a Black-owned talk  radio station. Now is definitely the right time.” 

KBLA is a heritage station and the original home of the iconic hip hop station KDAY. At 50,000 watts, day and night, KBLA serves a coverage area of nearly 12 million listeners. It will boast an all-star lineup of hosts who can speak candidly and passionately to the challenges people of color face daily trying to navigate life and realize their California hopes and dreams. KBLA Talk 1580 intends to serve an audience long ignored by talk radio in Los Angeles – people of color and progressives. “Amplifying Black voices is one of the demands of our movement. With  KBLA Talk 1580, Tavis is doing just  that,” said DiPrima.

DiPrima – the quintessential California girl – was born in New York City; but, grew up in San Francisco. Her mother is the late Beat poet/icon Diane  di Prima, and her father is the late, acclaimed poet Amiri Baraka, who is considered the Father of Black Arts Movement. With those genes, DiPrima really didn’t have a choice. She was born to talk. To be an activist.  And to be socially conscious. It’s in her DNA, like her other siblings, including her brother, Ras J. Baraka, who is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. “I’m the dumbest one in a family of geniuses,” she joked.

DiPrima got her start on the mic as a rapper at the age of 13, which eventually led to the nickname of “Lady D.” She landed her first tv hosting gig on “Home Turf” on KRON-TV in San Francisco. “Home Turf” was a pioneering television show, coming out of NBC’s San Francisco affiliate, long before MTV’s “Yo MTV Raps” or BET’s “106 & Park.” DiPrima also worked as a writer/segment producer and later a producer on the show. She hosted the show for eight seasons, garnering five Emmy Awards, a SAG/AFTRA American Scene Award and 10 Parents Choice Awards.

After graduating from San Francisco State University, she headed to Los Angeles, and nabbed her first radio show on KKBT-FM – that is, 92.3 The Beat, called “Street Science with Dominique DiPrima.” Winning a Best of LA Award, from “LA Weekly,” it ran for eight years on 92.3 and then 100.3 The Beat when the station switched frequency and ownership from Clear Channel to Radio One. With the show, she won the coveted National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award (NAB). And when Steve Harvey joined 100.3 The Beat in 2000, DiPrima was promoted to news anchor/co-host for “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” in Los Angeles in limited syndication. Five years later, she moved on to Radio Free 102.3 KJLH, where she’s spent the last 16 years, cementing her role as the voice of the community on “Front Page.”

“I hope the folks who have  been  with me since “Home Turf” on KRON-TV;  “Street Science” on The Beat; as well  as my ‘Front Page’ family on KJLH will keep walking the walk  and talking the  talk with me  on  KBLA Talk 1580,” she added.

In addition to five Emmy Awards, a National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award (NAB), a SAG/AFTRA American Scene Award and several Parents Choice Awards, DiPrima has received plenty of recognition for her work,  including a GRACIE Award and an LA City Council Pioneer Woman Award.

Smiley acquiredKBLA from New York-based Multicultural Radio Broadcasting. And after almost four years off the air, Smiley will host his own show, “Tavis Smiley” as well.

The studios of KBLA Talk 1580 are located in historic Leimert Park, directly adjacent to Destination Crenshaw’s “Sankofa Park,” a 1.3 mile open-air museum along the new Crenshaw/LAX Metro rail line, presently under construction.



KBLA Talk 1580 | at a glance

  • After 16 years, Dominique DiPrima left Radio Free 102.3 KJLH-FM to anchor morning drive with the new show, “First Things First With Dominique DiPrima.” She’s the only African American woman in Los Angeles to host her own commercial talk radio show!!
  • Don Amiche, formerly of KJLH-FM, brings his boldness and brashness to late night talk, focusing on news, politics and pop culture. Get ready!
  • Comic and political commentator DL Hughley finally lands in Los Angeles. Although, his afternoon show is heard around the country, listeners can tune into Hughley in the City of Angels.
  • A regular on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” and the season three  winner  of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” Alonzo  Bodden brings his comedic commentary to KBLA Talk 1580  with his own show, “Alonzo Bodden: Who’s Paying Attention?”
  • After an almost four-year absence, Tavis Smiley is back on the air with his own show. But this time, he’s not just talent but owner of LA’s first, Black-owned radio talk station. He’s built a career educating and empowering his people, and is excited to bring an “Unapologetically Progressive” talk radio stationto African American listeners.

KBLA Talk 1580 | The Line Up

  • “First Things First With Dominique DiPrima” | M-F, 6 to 9am
  • “Tavis Smiley”  | M-F 9 a.m. to 12noon
  • “Middays With Danny Morrison” | M-F 12 to 2pm 
  • “The DL Hughley Afternoon Show” | M-F 2 to 4 p.m.
  • “Alonzo Bodden: Who’s Paying Attention?” | M-F 4 to 7pm
  • “Let’s Get Intimate with Dr. Jeshana Johnson” | M-F 7 to 9pm
  • “Don Amiche vs. Everybody + Crysta and Kiara” | M-F, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m./midnight 
  • “The Best of KBLA Talk 1580” | each night/overnights from 12 a.m./midnight to 6 a.m. 
  • Weekends will be anchored by Black Lives Matters’ “This Is Not A Drill,” featuring Melina Abdullah along with “The Best of State of the Black Union,” heard exclusively on KBLA Talk 1580.


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