PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of Portland’s most popular radio personalities opened up about having stage 4 cancer and why he was thankful until the end.
Steve Pringle, a Portland radio star for 26 years playing jazz and the blues at KINK, KMHD and KGON, died Sunday, November 3. He was 56.
In an interview with KOIN 6 News just days before he died, Pringle spoke about his life, his career and how recent support left him awe-struck.
“What came from all my years at KINK was being able to record and interview people,” he told KOIN 6 News. “That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely loved radio because I got to talk to people like that.”
Pringle was also known for introducing artists at the annual Waterfront Blues Festival.
“You could talk to everybody else across the nation and they knew about Portland’s strong scene,” he said. “They all want to play the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival.”
But the music and the interviews are now memories. He was diagnosed with cancer in his lower back in June.
“It was a solitary fibrous sarcoma, shot down everything. Now it’s moved all the way up in the brain,” said Pringle.
He didn’t let his diagnosis defeat his positivity.
“I know this is kind of a weird thing to say, that I’ve been given a gift, but I have,” Pringle said. “I get to say goodbye to my loved ones. I get to say goodbye with a smile, with loved ones around me, and I get to do it on my own terms.”
Still, Pringle’s cancer has been emotionally and financially hard on his wife, Caryn. So his friends in the music community are holding a fundraiser on Nov. 24 at the Roseland Theater to help.
Pringle said the outpouring of support left him awe-struck. That support included students he mentored at Mount Hood Community College, where he taught radio broadcasting for 17 years. Many of those former students now have radio careers of their own.
“I wanted kids to have the ability to do what they’ve always wanted to do, and so many of them want to be DJs,” said Pringle.
Pringle passed away knowing he made a difference in the city where he was born by showcasing music that hadn’t previously been played much on Portland radio.
“That’s what I think I’ve pulled from this whole thing is that what I’ve been doing for 26 years has been listened to and it’s been loved,” he said.