First Black Talk Show Host Ray Taliaferro, 79


Ray Taliaferro, the first Black talk show host on a major American radio station, died in Paducah Kentucky, weeks after he was reported missing Nov. 10 in nearby Massac County.
According to his family, he was suffering from dementia.
Taliaferro was born on Feb. 7, 1939 and grew up in the Hunters Point district of San Francisco. His talk radio career began in 1967 at San Francisco’s KNEW station and shortly thereafter, he also began his career in television, hosting a show on KHJ-TV.
Taliaferro was to become successful in both forms of media, his career progressing as he became news anchor at San Francisco’s KRON-TV. When he joined KGO radio in 1977, he was also asked to co-host KGO-TV’s AM weekend program.
However it was through talk radio, and particularly his daily program, “The Early Show” on KGO radio which began in 1986, that Taliaferro made his name. Discussing topics ranging from contemporary politics, culture, and current events, Taliaferro often aired his liberal views.
Through his strong criticisms of President George W Bush and consistent endorsement of Barack Obama during the 2009 Presidential election, Taliaferro earned a reputation as one of the most prominent progressive radio talk show hosts in America.
Taliaferro received high commendation from the media and journalist community and was awarded the Black Chamber Life Award in 1994 by the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce.
Aside from his successful career in radio and television, Taliaferro was also greatly involved in his local community and offers aid and support to a range of causes. He was a strong proponent for civil rights, having served as the president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) between 1968 and 1971, and in 1975, he also helped to found the National Association of Black Journalists.


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