In 2011, nationally known radio personality Bev Smith signed off as host of the “The Bev Smith Show” on American Urban Radio Networks after more than 10 years with the station and a four decade career in radio. Some might’ve decided it was time to retire, but not Smith.
Instead she took her savings, built a radio studio in her home, and began soliciting radio stations around the country to get back on the air. In 2012, Smith’s show was on three stations, but by the end of this month, she’ll be featured on more than 20.
“I feel immensely blessed because women who are in my age category, we don’t get second chances. Show me other women locally or nationally, other than Barbara Walters,” Smith said. “I’m very thankful to God because I feel blessed. I’m blessed to be able to do something I really want to do.”
Now, the New Pittsburgh Courier has selected Smith as the Legacy honoree for their 2013 50 Women of Excellence. When asked about her legacy, and the highlights of her life, Smith said she’s most proud of her daughter.
However, she also reflected on a trip to Haiti where she brought children school supplies, and another experience where she helped families suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Other highlights included her trip to Israel and meeting President Barack Obama and the First Lady.
Smith began her career in 1971 when she was named Pittsburgh’s first African-American consumer affairs investigative reporter for WPXI Television. In the time since, she’s received nearly 300 awards and recognitions for her contributions to radio and television.
Next, Smith is planning a convention for 1000 women to come to Pittsburgh in August to address their role in the problems facing the African-American community. United States Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee has already agreed to take recommendations from the convention to the Congressional Black Caucus.
“We as Black women have fallen down on the job. We have to do better,” she said. “We want women to take the challenge. I want the women to unite. I want the women to come together.”
Smith is also passionate about childhood literacy and has been involved in the Reading is Fundamental and Head Start organization. In her spare time Smith is also writing a book “Interview with Jesus,” which she categorizes as spiritual mystery fiction.
“I have nothing to complain about. Broke yea, but who isn’t,” Smith said. “When people say you can’t do it, I think of the poem by Edgar Guest and the beginning of it says, ‘Somebody said that it couldn’t be done. But he with a chuckle replied that maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin on his face. If he worried he hid it.’ Get ready.”
The 2013 50 Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon will be held June 20 at the Omni William Penn Hotel from 12-1:30 p.m. Celebrity host Robert Hill will be the master of ceremonies.