BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The wife of Ron Smith is speaking out about his battle with pancreatic cancer. The Baltimore radio icon passed away Monday, and now his family is sharing his story.
Weijia Jiang has their message to Smith’s fans.
No matter how difficult the words, veteran Baltimore broadcaster Ron Smith was not afraid to say them.
“I owed it to my audience to be honest with them on my comments on political and social matters,” Smith said.
And so Smith spared no details when he told listeners nine weeks ago he was dying of pancreatic cancer. On Monday night, he lost the battle.
“He was ready to go on his journey,” said June Smith.
In her first interview since losing her husband, June Smith shares with WJZ his story, which is a tale of love between Smith and his audience.
“He loved his work; he loved his audience. He would boast to me that he had the best and smartest audience in all of talk radio,” she said.
Smith, known on WBAL Radio as the “Voice of Reason,” dropped out of high school and joined the Marines. Listeners were constantly baffled by how much he knew about everything.
“He was a truth teller. He had a Ph.D. in conversation,” June Smith said.
See more of June’s conversation:
A conversation still going. Devoted callers spent Tuesday remembering.
“We’re all gonna be faced with what do you do when you can’t see your friend anymore or talk to a friend you’ve known for years? That’s how I felt driving around or in my office. I felt I always had a friend on the radio,” said one caller.
Asked what Smith wants from his fans, June said this: “He wants them to wake up, to know what’s going on and to keep up the good fight. Ron is no longer broadcasting on the airwaves but he will forever speak to me in my heart and soul.”
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) issued the following statement on the passing of Ron Smith:
“I join Baltimore in mourning the loss of Ron Smith. He was a talented and well-informed broadcaster who became one of our most beloved radio icons. Known for being a straight-shooter, he was honest and direct with his listeners. Ron truly loved his audience. And they loved him. We often disagreed, but I respected him for being knowledgeable and fair.
“Ron faced his illness with his usual dignity and vigor. Despite his grave illness, he shared his final days with his listeners on his radio show. He will be missed by his many fans. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin also shared his thoughts:
“I have been on Ron Smith’s show many times over the years and he had a unique voice that made him a Baltimore radio icon. While Ron and I often disagreed, he was always fair, he was always insightful and he was always honest with his listeners. Today, I join the many, many fans of Ron Smith in mourning the passing of someone I had enormous respect for and who I counted as a true friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, June, and his family.”
Smith was 70.
There will not be a funeral service for Ron Smith. Instead, his family is asking that donations be made in Smith’s name to the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.