A popular figure in various forms of media, Tavis Smiley is an American talk show host, radio presenter and bestselling author with a particular interest in politics and social issues. Smiley began his political career while still in college by interning at the office of Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, a spot that led to a position as an aide. Smiley later shifted to radio commentary and began contributing to national syndicated shows, with his growing presence leading to guest spots on the political programming of networks such as CNN and MSNBC. By the late 1990s, Smiley was hosting "BET Tonight" (BET, 1998-2001), a show that discussed social issues from the African-American perspective, but he left the network over controversy related to his interview with a member of a 1970s revolutionary group. In 2004, his career truly kicked into high gear when he began his televised talk show, "Tavis Smiley," for PBS, along with "The Tavis Smiley Show," a radio program for Public Radio International (PRI). Continuing to juggle both series, Smiley found time to write a number of well-received books, making him something of a 21st century multi-media Renaissance man.