Since 1991, Jay Smooth has been the host of The Underground Railroad, the longest-running hip-hop radio show in New York.
As of Thursday, July 19th, the show is no more.
Jay Smooth announced that he was resigning from WBAI, The Underground Railroad’s home for the last 27 year. The reason? In protest of the fact that WBAI hired Leonard Lopate, a longtime host of WNYC who was fired last year for “inappropriate conduct.”
WNYC did an investigation and found multiple complaints against Lopate, which ranged from inappropriate comments to bullying.
That didn’t stop public radio station WBAI, which is based in Brooklyn, from hiring him. The station is also paying Lopate and his producer, something that is unusual for producers and hosts at WBAI. On Monday, July 16th. the first episode of Lopate at Large premiered. During the show, the allegations were barely touched or addressed.
After the show aired, Smooth let his frustrations be known. He told the Columbia Journalism Review:
“If this show is still airing as of Friday, I’m definitely not going back on Friday…The question for me is, have we gone past the point that I want to go back at all?”