In that capacity, he was CBS' emissary to morning programming, interviewing heads of state and movie stars, authors and sports figures. Smith also broadcast with the "Morning News" from locations throughout the world, including Cuba, Jordan, Moscow, Poland and Hungary. Additionally, during the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics, Smith and co-anchor Paula Zahn were the hosts of the morning broadcasts.
Smith began his career in radio, as both a host and disc jockey, working at such stations as WLW in Cincinnati, and both KHOW and KIMN in Denver, from 1983-81. In 1981, he moved to TV, joining the Denver PBS outlet, KRMA-TV, as host of a local talk show. KMGH-TV in Denver hired Smith as a news reporter and, eventually, anchor in 1982, and he remained there through 1985 when he joined CBS News as the Dallas-based reporter in January 1986. In March 1987, he was named a correspondent, contributing mostly to the "CBS Evening News". The anchor slot on the "CBS Morning News" followed in November. Smith has also participated in numerous CBS News documentaries and specials, including "Catholics in America" (1987), "America's Toughest Assignment: Solving the Education Crisis" (1990), and "Remembering Pearl Harbor" on the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack there in 1991. He also covered the San Francisco earthquake in 1989, and the 1988 and 1992 Republican conventions. In March 1999, Smith was tapped as host of the A&E information series "Biography".