MYRTLE BEACH — Steve Porter, who started the morning news and talk program at WRNN in Myrtle Beach, died Friday at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. Porter of Myrtle Beach was 73.
“He was a character who was larger than life,” said Debbie Harwell, who co-hosted the morning talk program with Porter. “He would make everyone enjoy the radio show and make them feel like they’d come to his house. … People turned the radio on to see what was going to happen next.”
Harwell said she received numerous calls from people who were stunned at the news of Porter’s death.
“People believe that he’s large than life and that he can’t be gone,” she said.
Porter’s step-son, Jedediah Keck, said Porter has been in his life since 1998 when he began dating Keck’s mother, Robbie Sloan. The two were married in 2000.
“The minister [Dr. Howard Hansen] who’s performing the funeral service is the one who married Steve and my mother in 2000,” Keck said.
Keck described Porter as a kind, warm and fun-loving guy.
“He was incredibly humble and spoke matter-of-factly when he talked about his time [as a press pool correspondent] traveling with Secretary of State [James] Baker,” Keck said.
Keck said when his sister was in eighth grade she had to write a report on Barbara Walters.
“Steve said, ‘Do you want me to call her? I can call her right now,’ ” Keck said. “Just matter-of-factly like that.”
Keck said Porter was very talented and a “Jack of all trades,” citing Porter’s gourmet cooking abilities and his well-known, extravagant cheesecakes.
Porter had heart surgery on Sept. 23 and was expected to make a full, though long, recovery, Keck said. After spending the week in intensive care, Porter died Friday morning.
“It was the kind of thing where after the surgery we thought he’d be fine,” Keck said. “He was such a resilient guy and he was so tough.”
A broadcaster across the country for decades – where his work led him to Washington, D.C., to cover national politics, Porter moved to Myrtle Beach in 1992. He became host of WRNN’s morning show in 1995 and most recently provided a weekly commentary to the station.
People can pay their respects to Porter’s family at McMillan-Small Funeral Home, 910 67th Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church, 1300 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Porter’s memory to the Long Bay Symphony, Parkway Center, 950 48th Ave. N., Suite 202, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. Porter served on the symphony’s board of directors.
Those wishing to share condolences with the family can sign an online guestbook at www.msfh.net.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.