The Los Angeles-based radio and TV host announced today that he's dropping his nightly NPR show aimed at African Americans. In an email to NPR stations posted at Romenesko, Smiley explains that he chose not to renew his contract:
I know the ridicule many of you had to endure when you decided to take this journey with me by adding my program to your line-up. I will always be appreciative of your confidence and trust.
With your support, I have come to care even more for public radio and its social, cultural and intellectual potential. Yet, after all that we've accomplished towards our goal of seeking a broader, more diverse and younger audience for public radio, NPR's own research has confirmed that NPR has simply failed to meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio, but simply don't know it exists or what it offers.
In the most multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial America ever --- I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future.
His last show is set to air Dec. 16. Smiley was recently in the news for accepting a free car from Daimler-Chrysler and for donating $1 million to Texas Southern University.
* Tony Cox will host for several weeks, NPR VP Bruce Drake says in a memo at Romenesko.