Ray Taliaferro

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Ray Taliaferro
Born Raphael Vincent Taliaferro
(1939-02-07) February 7, 1939 (age 79)
United States
Occupation Radio host, Talk show

Raphael Vincent "Ray" Taliaferro (born February 7, 1939) is an American radio host and liberal political commentator. His early-morning talk show, simply called The Early Show, formerly aired on KGO News Talk 810 in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1977 until December 2, 2011.

Broadcast career[edit]

Taliaferro was an on-air personality for KGO NEWSTALK AM 810. His principal role was as the host of a Monday through Friday phone-in radio talk show that aired between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The program was simply known as the "Early Show" and primarily consisted of lively (and sometimes confrontational) discussion of contemporary issues in American politics, culture, and current events. The program was on the air in this format and time slot since 1986. Taliaferro also routinely participates in charity and promotional events as a spokesman, moderator and panelist.

Taliaferro has been in broadcasting for over 40 years. He started in talk radio in 1967 at San Francisco's KNEW (AM). Shortly thereafter, he also got into television, commuting every day to Burbank to host a show on KHJ-TV (KCAL-TV) before accepting a news anchor position at San Francisco's KRON-TV. Taliaferro joined KGO Radio in 1977, when he also co-hosted KGO-TV's AM Weekend program.

Taliaferro is claimed to be the first African American talk show host on a major market radio station in the country.[1] He helped found the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975, and was honored by the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce in 1994 with the Black Chamber Life Award, recognizing him as a "forerunner in broadcasting." Taliaferro was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 2011 at the Newseum Washington,D.C.[2]

Taliaferro aired the last interview (a 58-minute interview) done with Walter Cronkite on his Monday, July 27, 2009 program, following the news of Cronkite's passing.[3]

Broadcast persona and format[edit]

Taliaferro's nighttime talk show mainly dealt with political issues affecting the United States and the state of California. He can best be described as a progressive Democrat and is one of the most prominent left-wing talk show hosts in the United States. He is known for his consistently strong (and often strident) criticisms of George W. Bush and other prominent conservative politicians, as well as conservatives who call his show. The Taliaferro show rarely featured guest interviews, but periodically featured special broadcasts related to poetry and music.

Taliaferro discussed "scary" callers in a November 1988 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, noting that several women have shown up at the station to meet him and he has had to get security to stop them.

Taliaferro is a lifelong Democrat, and endorsed Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and election.

Public service[edit]

Although Taliaferro is widely known for his role as an on-air radio personality, he has also been personally acknowledged for his active involvement in the arts and community service. A native San Franciscan, Taliaferro has dedicated considerable time and energy to public service.

Among his many achievements, Taliaferro served as president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, and the Frederick Douglass Symposium. Because of his tremendous efforts to help raise money for leukemia research, he was named board president of the Northern California Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America for 1995 through 2000. He was the Mayor's Commissioner of the War Memorial Trustee Board from 1992 through 2000, and he headed up the San Francisco Art Commission for 16 years. He has hosted events and currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of The Commonwealth Club of California.

Personal background[edit]

Taliaferro grew up in the Hunters Point district of San Francisco. An accomplished musician, Taliaferro conducted the "Ray Tal Chorale" and served as director of music for the Third Baptist Church.

Taliaferro was president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP from 1968 to 1971.

Cultural impact[edit]

An aircheck of Taliaferro, from KGO, was sampled by Brian Eno and David Byrne and used on "America Is Waiting", the first track on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The album was recorded at Wally Heider Studios, around the corner from the KGO radio studios, then at 277 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ray Taliaferro's show on KGO at the Wayback Machine (archived May 3, 2011)
  2. ^ "Longtime Bay Area broadcaster Ray Taliaferro notches another honor". eastbaytimes.com. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Cronkite's Final Interview, in San Francisco, Now on KGO - mediabistro.com: BayNewser". wayback.archive.org. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "David Byrne, Speaking of Music at the Exploratorium in 1991 (October 8, 1991)". archive.org. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 

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