Jay Smooth Quits NYC’s Longstanding Hip-Hop Show Over Controversial Hire


WBAI’s historic “The Underground Railroad” radio program has lost its familiar voice after a recent decision. According to Okayplayer, host of 29 years Jay Smooth parted ways with the station when it hired the controversial Leopard Lopate. The latter was fired from WNYC in 2017 for improper conduct towards the station’s women employees, The New York Times reported.

News of his return to the city’s airwaves was announced earlier this month, but the actual premiere of his show on July 16 prompted Jay Smooth to take a stand. In an initial statement issued to the Columbia Journalism Review, Jay Smooth said, “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?”

In 1989, Jay Smooth, born John Randolph, founded “The Underground Railroad.” It has since been deemed the city’s “longest-running hip-hop radio program.” When he publicized his parting, Randolph described the moment as “incredibly painful” while WBAI responded with: “It’s so good to see you involved with WBAI. Management so rarely sees or hears from you. Perhaps you could use some of this extra time to get some BAI Buddies for your program.”

As noted by SPIN, Jay Smooth still keeps up with the popular demand of his rap-centric “Ill Doctrine” video series, which can be viewed here.