Home > PUM Women's History Salutes: Bev Smith, National Radio and Television Talk Show Host, Diversity Expert & Global Social Entrepreneur & Speaker

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PUM Women's History Salutes: Bev Smith, National Radio and Television Talk Show Host, Diversity Expert & Global Social Entrepreneur & Speaker

"Woman, especially women of color must begin to understand that despite the advancement some have made the glass ceiling has been reinforced against women.  Of course one can argue that the fact that we have women in position of leadership in many of the fortune 1000 companies women are still the lowest paid in fields that range from degreed positions to skilled positions.  One must be able to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself and that might mean taking a job were one becomes a big fish in a small pond.  These kinds of positions can help women who face obstacles when they are trying to break into the national arena."  Bev Smith

As a radio and television talk show host for over three decades, it’s undeniable; Bev Smith has blazed a trail in the broadcasting industry that will stand the test of time for future generations.  Throughout her career, Bev has used her voice to advocate on behalf of African American citizens and people of all color globally. Never afraid to tackle controversial issues, Bev’s style is to get to the point in a straight up, direct and passionate manner. In fact, Bev’s mantra to her fans is to “Stand Up, Be Counted and Get involved.”

Looking at her resume through the years, you might even wonder what in the world is left for Smith to conquer in an industry where she has fought discrimination and injustice through the years every step of the way.    

Smith began her television and radio career in 1971 when she was named Pittsburgh’s first African-American Consumer Affairs Investigative Reporter for WPXI Television. In 1975, she was named News and Public Affairs Director for Sheridan Broadcasting and hosted a lively talk show on Sheridan's flagship station, WAMO. Since then, Bev Smith has taken her “fire brand” style of talk shows to KDKA and WTAE Radio in Pittsburgh, WNWS in Miami, WKIS in Orlando and WRC in Washington DC. Bev also worked at Black Entertainment Television for over thirteen years, as the host of the popular national television talk show "Our Voices."

In 2011, Bev signed off the air as host of "The Bev Smith Show" which was heard on the American Urban Radio Networks, where she was fondly known by many of her fans as "The Queen of Late Night Talk." She hosted the show since 1998, and was the only African American woman radio talk show host who had a nationally syndicated show in the country.

Today, Bev is busy traveling the country doing what she does best, using her voice to share knowledge and find ways to uplift and unite the African American community with people of color globally. Bev is also diligently working on her life story in a biography that will tell more about her experience working in an industry that didn’t always welcome her with open arms because of her color, gender and now her age.  She has launched her own syndicated talk show and can be heard in over twenty markets nationwide.

PUM One on One with Bev Smith- National Radio and Television Talk Show Host, Diversity Expert & Global Social Entrepreneur & Speaker

 (Photo by Brook Titus, from The Bev Smith Women's Leadership Conference-)

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

PUM:  Celebrating Women's History Month, what does that mean for you in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your career?

Smith:  What women's history month means that for a short period every year the accomplishment of women of color like Shirley Chisolm, C. Delores Tucker can offer me an opportunity to have mentors who pave the way thru the glass ceiling.  We celebrate these women by making their accomplishments known to our listening audience. 

PUM: You have been in the broadcasting industry as a radio and television talk show host for over three decades, what are the significant changes you have seen in your various positions and what role to you see women having in terms of careers in this field? You are unapologetic for being interested in issues impacting the African-American community and women overall, why is this important to you and your quest for making sure their issues are a part of the national conversation.

Smith: When I started in the business as a staff reporter chasing stories that include robberies and murders.  I was the only black female doing this on the 12, 6 and 11 o'clock news.  There were no black anchors when I started out.  Now every network has a female and male black anchor at some time during the news day anchoring the news.  This is a change from when I started but it is a fragile change for blacks in the media are still paid less than their white counter part.  They are still not given opportunities to do meaningful documentaries and they still are the first to be let go. What appears to be change is merely just movement toward advancement.  As it relates to my interest and issues impacting African- Americans and women, I can say that my commitment is more than just interest in seeing that the issues of our concern as well as though of underserved Americans being involved in these issues is my passion in what I believe is my GOD given mission in the field of communications.

PUM: What is your advice and recommendations to women as they break through the glass ceilings in their careers? How were you able to persevere?

Smith: Woman, especially women of color must begin to understand that despite the advancement some have made the glass ceiling has been reinforced against women.  Of course one can argue that the fact that we have women in position of leadership in many of the fortune 1000 companies women are still the lowest paid in fields that range from degreed positions to skilled positions.  One must be able to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself and that might mean taking a job were one becomes a big fish in a small pond.  These kinds of positions can help women who face obstacles when they are trying to break into the national arena.   I was able to preserver because I have understood that what I have been doing in my chosen field was not chosen by me.  But I firmly believe it was given to me as an assignment by GOD.   To get the information out to raise the level of understanding and information and working to solve the problems that face our community at large.  This is my passion and as long as I stay in the business I will be keep being used as a mouth piece for my community.

 

PUM: Balancing career and home life, what has worked for you on your path to success?

Smith:  What has worked for me is the support I have been given from my family and my close friends in trying to balance career and family life.  Also, what has worked for me is never altering from the mission to educate and inform African-American people and to understand that success doesn't always mean money as most of us believe. 

PUM: What are you most proud of as a woman who inspires other women every day?

Smith: Trying to find one answer to the question is most difficult because my reasons to proud of my accomplishment are many but I will narrow it down to three main events in my life.  One is being a mother and designing a career despite the sacrifices that allowed me to spend valuable time with my daughter as a separated single mom. The second is the fact that I have been able through my television and radio career to help people at every level in our community. To use my shows to help people in Haiti, to deliver vitality needed items for blacks who live in an old plantation in Mississippi today and to be instrumental in using my show to help the first black president of the United States get elected.

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