SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Two weeks after he apparently vanished in Kentucky, the whereabouts of an iconic Bay Area radio talk show host remain a mystery.
New surveillance video shows the last time Bay Area radio legend Ray Taliaferro was seen in public. On the evening of November 10th, he knocked on the door of a church in Paducah, Kentucky, and spoke to the music director.
The video shows him talking for about 15 or 20 minutes
Award-winning journalist Bryan Monroe is a friend of Taliaferro’s family. He spoke to the church music director seen in the video with Taliaferro, who told him the retired radio host seemed confused.
“He seemed a little disoriented, but explained who he was; he said that he was a prominent San Francisco Bay Area radio host and was very talkative,” said Monroe. “He tended to repeat himself a few times. They stood by the door and chatted for a bit. And then he left at 5:01 p.m. on Saturday, Nov 10. That was the last time Taliaferro was seen.”
The longtime Bay Area radio host was a mainstay on KGO News Talk Radio 810 beginning in the late 1970s through his retirement from radio in 2011. Taliaferro is a broadcasting trailblazer, the first African-American major market radio talk show host in the country.
He was a leading voice among progressives and often focused on political issues affecting the U.S. and the state of California on his talk show. His family told authorities he had become forgetful lately.
Monroe said when Taliaferro disappeared, he was out of state in Bridgeport, Illinois — near the Kentucky border — visiting a property that his wife’s family owns. He drove off in their rental car shortly before the two were set to leave town.
At around 11:30 a.m., he crossed into nearby Paducah, Kentucky and stopped at a branch of Independence Bank and spoke to a clerk.
When the bank closed at noon, he went across the street to the Mellow Mushroom Pizza Parlor where he briefly chatted with the manager.
Hours later at around 4:45 p.m., he knocked on the doors of the West End Baptist Church.
The Massac County Sheriff’s Department told KPIX there have been no leads on Taliaferro’s disappearance. Monroe says the family remains hopeful.
They’re optimistic, said Monroe. Hopefully he’s on a bus to San Francisco or asleep on a kind stranger’s couch in Paducah.