Listen Now

About Tavis

From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders; as a broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI).

In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 15 books. His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times best seller, and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times' best-sellers list.

His latest book, FAIL UP: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure was released May 1. In FAIL UP, Smiley steps from behind the curtain of success to recount 20 instances of perceived "failures" that were, in fact, "lessons" that shaped the principles and practices he employs today. Readers will find a kinship in Smiley's humanness that inspires, informs, and reminds us of our inherent ability to achieve and grow in spite of life's inevitable setbacks.

In his forthcoming title, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, Smiley along with his co-author Dr. Cornel West take on the "p" word—poverty. In this new, game-changing book due out this April, they challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America—what it really is and how to eradicate it.

Smiley is the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint. This unprecedented traveling museum exhibition, which debuted in January 2009, will tour the country for four years, celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world, as told through rare artifacts, memorabilia, and multimedia.

Smiley's most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in his passion to inspire the next generation of leaders. The nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation was established to provide leadership training and development for youth. Since its inception, more than 6,000 young people have participated in the foundation's Youth to Leaders training workshops and conferences.

His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues and serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums, and the Internet.

Smiley's achievements have earned him numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees, including one from his alma mater, Indiana University. In 2009, Indiana University named the atrium of its School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) building "The Tavis Smiley Atrium." Smiley is also the recipient of the prestigious Du Bois Medal from Harvard University and the 2009 Interdependence Day Prize from Demos in Istanbul, Turkey.

About Public Radio International

PRI is public radio's leading source for innovative programming and audio content. The Minneapolis-based network provides over 400 hours of programming each week, content that is broadcast and streamed online by its 727 public radio station affiliates nationwide, who reach 31 million listeners each week. PRI is the managing partner of the satellite radio company American Public Radio, LLC, established with Chicago Public Radio® and WGBH Radio Boston. PRI's cultural programming is available via XM Public Radio. Its news and information programming is available via Sirius Satellite Radio.

PRI is known for driving innovation in public radio through partnerships with stations, independent producers, and other organizations, and for working collaboratively to pool resources and share risk, cultivate new talent, and bring diverse voices and perspectives to the public airwaves. Its best known offerings include Marketplace®, produced by American Public Media™ in association with the University of Southern California; This American Life, produced by Chicago Public Radio®; PRI's The World, a co-production of BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH Radio Boston; Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?®, produced by Wisconsin Public Radio; PRI's From the Top®, produced by From the Top in association with WGBH Radio Boston and New England Conservatory of Music; and PRI's Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, produced by PRI and WNYC, New York Public Radio.

About Public Radio International

The Tavis Smiley Show Staff Bios

Sheryl Flowers (1966-2009)
Sheryl Flowers was the guiding force behind Tavis Smiley's public radio career. Her own career spanned nearly 20 years, during which she worked in almost every facet of media. Since 2001, she, along with Smiley, was committed to bringing substantive, insightful, and provocative conversations on issues that matter most to everyday people. She passed away in 2009 after a two-year battle with triple negative breast cancer.

In memory of Sheryl Flowers, The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI) is now recorded and mixed in the "Sheryl Flowers Radio Studios" in Los Angeles. For more information about Sheryl, visit

Vanessa Rumbles
Vanessa Rumbles is the Producer / Editor for The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI. Vanessa joined The Tavis Smiley Show in 2009 from the Emmy award-winning KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles where she had been a technology correspondent, Segment Producer and eventually, a morning News Writer.

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, her career began in 2004 when she served as Associate Producer and Field Reporter for a national kids sports show. Vanessa's work as a sports reporter landed her on the front page of the Daily Times newspaper, while covering the Connie Mack World Series Baseball Championships in Farmington, NM.

Bookmark and Share

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI appreciates the support of its national underwriters. The program is produced by Smiley Radio Properties, Inc. and distributed by PRI.

    | Listen Now | Radio Listings | Tell Tavis | About the Show | Sponsorship | Archives | | Home |

© Copyright 2011 Tavis Smiley Radio

© Copyright 2012 Tavis Smiley Radio