Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He was a veteran broadcaster on Baltimore’s airwaves since the 1970s. Ron Smith, who many called the Voice of Reason, has died.
Jessica Kartalija reports this came just two months after announcing on air he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“I owed it to my audience to be honest with them as I try to be honest about political and social matters,” Smith said.
“I think he’s very brave to share this. It’s hard for people to share news like this,” said one fan.
Two weeks after sharing his diagnosis with listeners, Smith announced he was retiring.
“The decision has been made by me to stop appearing on the radio shows. I’m retiring. I basically can no longer do it,” Smith said.
On home hospice care after deciding to end his treatment, Smith heard from hundreds of loyal fans and friends who expressed their thanks.
“Thank you so much, Ron, for all of the most wonderful years we’ve had. You are an inspiration,” one said.
In one of his last columns in the Baltimore Sun, Smith wrote, “How humbling it has been to learn how much I’ve meant to other people in my business, to be told of the positive impact I’ve had on them. I really didn’t fully understand that, so what a blessing it is to learn of that while I’m still among the living.”
Smith had one of the highest-rated talk shows in the Baltimore/Washington area and called his radio show his “highest calling.”
“I basically can no longer do it,” Smith said. “It’s time to pull the plug.”
“We really thank you for what you did in Baltimore, keeping us informed with a good heart and good attitude,” a fan said.
He was 70.
June Smith said “Ron may no longer be on the airwaves, but he will forever speak to her in her heart and soul.”
There will be no service and no memorial. If you would like to honor Ron, you can donate to pancreatic cancer research at Johns Hopkins in his memory.