Ron Smith, ‘Voice of Reason,’ Dies

Baltimore Sun, December 19, 2011

Ron Smith, who came to Baltimore 38 years ago as a weekend TV anchorman but found his greatest success on radio as WBAL’s “Voice of Reason,” died Monday night of pancreatic cancer at his home in Shrewsbury, Pa.. He was 70.

Mr. Smith spent more than 26 years on WBAL’s airwaves, most of it in the afternoon drive-time period until a move to mornings last year, passionately talking politics from a conservative point of view. But it is not his politics for which he will likely be remembered as much as the informed conversation he helped create on Baltimore radio–and the way he publicly shared his final days with listeners of WBAL and readers of The Baltimore Sun.

On Nov. 28, after continuing on-air for more than two months despite having been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized throughout his body, Mr. Smith signed off at the 50,000-watt news-talk station for the last time in his signature straightforward, no-nonsense, radio style.

“I’m retiring,” the former Marine said in a live broadcast. “I basically can no longer do it. I’m getting weaker every day, and it’s time to pull the plug. I’m just not up to it. So, you have to face that kind of thing. Basically, the curtain is coming down right now. I’m bidding everyone a very fond farewell.”

Clarence Mitchell IV, a colleague at WBAL, says that while he always admired Mr. Smith as a talk-show host, he was in awe of the public and powerful way that Mr. Smith handled his final days.

“The dignity and the manner with which Ron Smith has dealt with his illness, sharing it with his audience and the world, has really gained the respect of everyone who has followed his travail,” Mr. Mitchell said. “Since the understanding of his illness in the last few weeks and months of his life, he has gone out more gloriously as a man than he even was a talk-show host.”

Mr. Smith was a very good radio host, according to Towson University Professor Richard Vatz.

“Ron Smith, simply put, was the best radio talk-show host I have ever known,” said Mr. Vatz. “I can sum up even as brilliant and well-informed a talk-show host as Ron in a sentence: He hated insipid conversation. What are the qualities at which he excelled? Knowledgeability and lack of deception. He never faked knowing something he didn’t know.”

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An estimated 120,000 listeners a week tuned in to Mr. Smith–an audience that put WBAL among the top five stations in the market during his weekday show right up to his sign-off.

{snip}

The way the Baltimore community reached out to Mr. Smith since he announced his diagnosis of cancer on-air made him feel “very lucky,” his wife said.

“Ron thought it was just great that he got to read and hear his eulogies in recent weeks,” she said Monday night. “Ron’s comment on all the recognition: ‘My life has been completely ratified by affirmation. If there were a referendum on it, it would have won resoundingly.'”

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: Ron Smith’s May 2011 interview with Jared Taylor is available here.]

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  • Tim Mc Hugh

    One year our backyard Luau got out of hand. The police showed up and recognized me from the doughnut shop. “Oh! It`s you…” they said. And I said, “What do we need to do, and when do we need to do it by?” They responded, “You need to shut it down immediately!!” At this point an interested bystander intervened without asking on my behalf. She told the police, “No! That`s NOT gonna happen. Here`s what we WILL do!” And the police turned back to me and asked, “Why is SHE negotiating YOUR arrest?!?”…

  • Bob Weissberg

    I was a guest on Ron Smith’s show many, many times. It was always fun and he was a perspective interviewer. Not many others with his willingness to face reality. He will be missed.

  • William Hendershot

    Ron Smith must have been the radio host I heard whilst visiting relatives in Baltimore in the late 90’s. He was interviewing Jared Taylor. That was the day it all came together for me. I am thankful to both men; the world finally made sense.

  • WHITEMIGHT

    Ron Smith was the only talk show host in radio that would defend white people and white civilization, and he did it for 27 years in a city that is about 70 percent black, he was a great man, full of courage and truth, if more white people were like him this would be a different country.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Sorry to have lost another, well, voice of reason. Judging from the Taylor interview, Smith was obviously willing to cover topics no other broadcaster would lay a hand on. How sad that there are so few like him…and now there is one less.

  • Question Diversity

    WBAL is a Hearst station. That someone who would have Jared Taylor on so often and be an open defender of whites could stay on a radio station for so long, one that is conglomerate-owned, is surprising to me. Then again, I don’t think Hearst is as big into radio as other well known chains.

  • Robb

    I’ve lived in Boston the past 20+ years and I’ve never heard of Ron Smith. If this interview with Mr. Taylor is what his show was like daily, wow! The closest we come around here is Savage, and I can’t imagine his rating are all too high.

  • Anonymous

    “city that is about 70 percent black”?

    Damn thats almost white. Where else can you find any big city in Anerika with only 70% blacks?

  • truthbetold

    Probably more than anything else Ron was best known for his keen insight of inconsistency and hypocrisy about conflicts of interest in economic and political events. His practical logic earned him the label as the “voice of reason”. Of course inconsistency and hypocrisy is no more omnipresent than in racial matters and antiwhite affairs. He favored truth over political correctness.

    Ron also spoke out against the hypocrisy and scam tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He pointed to the SPLC’s hustle and drew attention to how the organization frightens Jewish people as a fundraising tactic through invented fabrication of antisemitic activity.

  • John Engelman

    The loss of anyone who gives Jared Taylor the ability to express his insights is a loss indeed.

  • Anonymous

    While generally the people who get to the very pinnacle of

    success in any competitive field are detectably abler than those

    who are the runners-up—the national media may be an exception.

    There is every reason to believe that those who get the network

    slots (and thus immediately start improving in ways that those

    never in such a slut can ever really manage to do ) are no abler

    in talent and ability than a great many who end up in local / regional/ media. There is an ability glut at the upper level. This certainly makes it convenient to select those getting the slots on some political equivalent of the Hollywood “couch casting”. Happening? Maybe. Maybe not. Nobody headed upward in MSM is going to grease their career trajectory by commenting publicly about such a naughty thought.

  • Anonymous

    I was lucky enough to have a job that enabled me to listen to him on a regular basis. One day, I heard an interview with Jared Taylor, and found this site. I have been a regular visitor ever since. It was, as poster #3 put it–very eye-opening.

    While driving back and forth on the beltway, I see many cars with “Team Reason” bumper stickers. He was a Baltimore (conservative) institution, and was truly The Voice of Reason.

  • Wellington

    I listened to Ron Smith’s interview with Jared Taylor on May 27, 2011. I have been an Amren reader ever since. The interview completely dispelled the negative view I had of Jared Taylor and Amren. That negative view was solely the result of reading Dinesh D’Souza’s “The End of Racism” in the mid 1990s, one part of which was highly critical of an Amren conference he attended. I now know just how mendacious is Dinesh D’Souza. Unfortunately few in the media have the courage of Ron Smith to put Jared Taylor on the air. RIP Ron, you will be missed.

  • IndridCold

    Great interview on both sides. Ron Smith was one of a kind and he is missed. He didn’t blindly subscribe to political agendas or accept any ideologies lock stock and barrel. He supported things that were sensible, realistic and reasonable. Hence the voice of reason.

  • Question Diversity

    13 Wellington:

    D’Souza is the one who essentially got Sam Francis fired from the Washington Times. In that same book, D’Souza implied that western Africa was qualitatively superior to western Europe in 1500.

    Yeah, that’s what “conservatism” has become this days, a constant parade of arrogant subcontinentals who moan about the “racism” of white people wanting livable white societies and household sustaining livable wages and salaries.

  • Thor Larsen

    The irony with that arrogant uppity Indian conservative Dinesh Dsouza was that he even dated another neo-con “uber-conservative” blonde blue eyed white Aryan Christian woman – Laura Ingraham. It makes me sick to my stomach that a beautiful Aryan White American Christian girl would fall for such an ugly toad simply because he labels himself a “con-servative”!

    Were there no able bodies white Aryan men left that she had to settle for this arrogant Indian nerd?

  • Garrett Brown

    So sad. Was a great man