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Ron Smith (right), 70, WBAL radio's longtime talk show host, died December 19, 2011 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Smith was a fixture on Baltimore airwaves for nearly 40 years, first as a news anchor on Channel 11/WBAL, and then for more than 27 years as a talk show host on news talk WBAL radio, 1090 AM. A soft-spoken conservative who dubbed himself "The Voice Of Reason," Smith was never afraid to criticize those of his own political persuasion. He died at his home in Shrewsbury PA surrounded by his wife, June, and the rest of his family. He is also survived by five children and seven grandchildren. Funeral services will be private. A public memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. In October, Smith announced on his WBAL radio show that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Little more than a month before he died, he elected to stop his chemotherapy treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital and announced his retirement from broadcasting.

Ron Smith at Channel 11/WBAL in 1974...


Ron Smith at Channel 11/WBAL in 1978...


Ron Smith at WBAL radio...


Ron Smith at WBAL radio...


Mark Miller On Ron Smith - Mark Miller (left), the former longtime news director at WBAL: "Ron Smith is living proof that education doesn't come in a classroom. Ron wasn't college educated. He was LIFE educated. Every experience he had in his life was a learning experience. From his days in the Marine Corps, to local TV news, to a stint as a stockbroker, to his 26-year radio career, Ron saw an opportunity to learn in all he did. Ron is one of the smartest people I've ever met. He is a voracious reader. But beyond the reading, he is a retainer and a concept applier. Any conversation with Ron is usually sprinkled with quotes and tidbits - recited verbatim - of something he had read that stuck in his mind. What you see with Ron is what you get. He's a no BS guy. He's a guy who hated memos, hated meetings, hated any pretense of political correctness. When Ron gave you an opinion, it was his REASONED opinion, developed after a period of reading, research, reflection and introspection. He gave you his opinion of reasoned truth. You may not have always agreed with him, but you always respected him for his drive, his passion, and the process through which he read, studied, asked questions, learned, and came to an informed conclusion. He became an influential voice to me, personally, and to the community at large".....

Chip Franklin On Ron Smith - Chip Franklin (left), a former WBAL show host who now does mornings on San Diego radio talker KOGO: "Ron is more than a colleague. He is a friend. I recently visited Ron at his home in Shrewsbury, and we spoke of our time working together at WBAL. From OJ, thru 9/11, and the turbulent new century, we had a catbird's seat. I learned a lot from Ron. Know what you're talking about, and don't back down. He was there from the beginning, and made it easier for those of us who came along afterwards. But that's not my prevailing memory. Ron and I share an obsession with golf. One day he invited me up to play at his club near his home in Pennsylvania. His son joined us. Golf is often as revealing as as a psychiatrist's couch. Sportsmanship, frustration, discipline all come into play. The five hours I spent with them showed a Ron most don't know. Ron is a loving father, a devoted husband, and a good friend. And oh yeah, a tough competitor. But you already knew that".....

"Bulldog" On Ron Smith - Brian "Bulldog" Tilton (with Ron, right), a former WBAL producer who now hosts a talk show at WTPL radio in Concord NH: "There have been many wonderful and touching tributes about Ron Smith from a listener's perspective. I'd like to offer one as someone who worked with Ron for several years as his producer, known to most as 'Bulldog.' Ron was the best person anyone could work with. Always kind, supportive, a good listener and dispenser of sound advice to all around him. He was a superb mentor. Ron's ability to quickly boil down a long story into a clear and concise summary without losing sight of the important details is unmatched, as well as an ability to communicate directly with the listeners (not talk at them), to reason with and even learn from them. And oh yes, those classic rants!... Listeners knew Ron had their backs. Even if they didn't agree with him, they knew Ronís arguments were based on well-reasoned, sound facts that challenged conventional thinking. His discussion of topics and solutions were all to make Baltimore and all of Maryland a better place, to offer a beacon of light in even the darkest places for anyone who would take it. Ron always looked out for the 'little guy.' He even stood up for a man who was held without bail based largely on his unpopular political beliefs. Ron found faults in the process and exposed the injustice that was occurring, leading a team effort for which I am proud to share some awards with him. His relentless pursuit of the truth also inspired others to take action and ensure justice. Since leaving WBAL, we have remained friends, a gift I always treasure. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with the finest man in the industry. While there for a relatively short time in his long career, the lessons I learned from Ron will last a lifetime. Just as we all draw from life's experiences, my time spent working with Ron holds the biggest influence over my daily broadcasts in the 'Live Free or Die' state. But as hard as one may try, there can never be another Ron Smith. Ron - I can never say enough to thank you".....

Greg Bianco On Ron Smith - WTOP's Greg Bianco, who spent almost seven years as a producer and talk show host at WBAL: "Early in my first year at BAL, I filled in to produce Ron's show for the first time in 2004. By the time we hit the first bottom of the hour news update, he flips off the mike and says, 'You exude intelligence. I can tell you're going very far in life.' This radio veteran has worked with me for a mere modicum of time, and had those compliments. I was humbly amazed. Ron always had something to say, but he didn't have to say something to me. As a radio rookie, I could have faded away like countless others. But he DID say something to me, and I made sure I listened. I hosted my first sports show in 2007. Ron was one of the first people to find me. 'Youíre going to have a future in this business if this business has a future,' he said, in only the seasoned, reasoned opinion Ron has. For the next 2 1/2 years I was there, he would always lend a critical, yet complementary ear. When I left BAL in the spring of 2010, I left knowing that I wouldn't be where I am today without the great people that helped mentor me. And Ron is one of the most important, and most brilliant, persons and mentors I will ever encounter. Not only was he forthright, genuine, steadfast, and an amazing devotee to his listeners, he was just the same to me. He has been just as mighty now as 'The Mighty 1090' on which he entertained for more than 26 years. I feel extremely fortunate to call him a co-worker, mentor, visionary, and friend".....

Jerry Coleman On Ron Smith - Jerry Coleman, who now is heard on 105.7 The Fan, WJZ-FM: "Although we never worked in the same studio - at the same time (except once via phone). Which will always be MY LOSS, there are no words I can say to express my gratitude and appreciation that Ron Smith always had for me. There were countless occasions in a hallway on the 3rd floor , during my seven years at 98 rock and WBAL (2000-2007) that we conversed , and it was always my pleasure. Ron, listened to me on both stations (yes KML, too), which I found amazing for guy who wasn't on air until the afternoon - that told me so much about Ron, he paid attention diligently. Ron is one of the few 'renaissance men' in the business who could tackle any subject and sound like an expert. I was consistently blown away by the man's knowledge of sports - and yes golf was always #1 for him. His talent was only exceeded by his kindness. He will be very much missed!".....

Aaron Harris On Ron Smith - Aaron Harris, a WBAL radio producer from 1993 to 1997, who later went to Maryland Public Television and now is at Stevenson University running the campus radio station: "It's hard for listeners to imagine Ron beyond his talk show, not being in full tilt political mode, but we used to sit around during commercials and talk and laugh about guy stuff, sports. Ron loved people, and when he talked to you he had a way of conveying that he was really interested in what you said. I tried to add some schtick into the show, politically tinged pieces and he loved doing funny stuff and laughing. When Olesker pegged him 'Talk Show Man' we made up a super hero theme song for him. I'd like to think that the one thing he taught me personally is to think for yourself, don't believe everything you hear, and thats just a general life thing not related to either political party. We traveled to the political conventions together and escaped a near riot at Loyola College during a student forum show we put on. He loved Miss June and she is such a terrific lady. (She brought me food... gotta love that.) Ron had these corny jokes and would just crack himself up, 'Don't let your meat loaf' and instead of cussing he would use the word "Manischewitz" whenever he felt like swearing, which I use to this day to keep from cussing in front of my kids. I will miss his voice on the air and hearing what he would have to say about big events the day after they happened."

Linda Kelly On Ron Smith - Washington and Baltimore radio veteran Linda Kelly: "I woke up this morning and knew Ron Smith was gone. No one had to tell me but a quick check of my email confirmed what I already 'felt.' Ron Smith was one of the most incredible human beings I have ever known. We had been friends for about 30 years. After anchoring 'Action News' on WBAL-TV, he would come do my radio show on WFBR. We raised some hell during those wonderful days. Later, he talked me into trying talk radio at WBAL, where I did weekends. Clearly, it was not my thing. So, back to rock-and-roll radio I went. When Ron met June, he immediately became happier than I had ever seen him. Their love was deep, intense and complete. June was the best thing that ever happened to Ron. He told me so. Old friend, rest in peace. Thanks for the gift of your friendship. June, thanks for sharing your beloved husband with the city of Baltimore all those years. Ron, you are deeply loved and are greatly missed."