Longtime KMHD host and champion of jazz Dr. Phil Brenes passed away on May 14th, 2023 after a short battle with cancer.
He was 82.
Brenes became a KMHD DJ after responding to a newspaper advertisement looking for new talent at the station back in 1997. He was quickly hired, and went on to broadcast at Mount Hood Community College for 12 years, then in 2009 came to OPB when KMHD’s operations moved there.
Throughout his tenure at KMHD, he hosted various shows examining the rich history of jazz – but was mostly known for hosting the Traditional Jazz Show on Sunday mornings. During the pandemic, he changed his focus to “Vintage Jazz,” allowing him to expand the story of the music on the radio to listeners of all ages.
In his 26 years broadcasting with KMHD, he continued to develop his craft – often adjusting or tailoring his presentation style to fit with new trends or new information that came to light about the music.
Brenes had a lifelong love of jazz – starting as a teenager in San Francisco with his brother Rog Brenes, who would often guest host with him on his program at KMHD. The two were true jazz fans, looking for any chance to experience the music whether it was live or recorded.
Phil Brenes, along with Judi Brenes, his wife of 56 years, were regulars at the famous Earthquake McGoon’s jazz club in San Francisco in the mid-1960s.
In his professional life, Brenes was a pediatrician, and his manner of interaction demonstrated his strengths both in that work and at KMHD. He was the sort of person that offered pleasant and rich conversations – a skill that no doubt served him well as a physician, but also translated into his work as a radio host. He had a sort of calmness to him that permeated his connections with people.
Dr. Phil Brenes is survived by his wife, their three children and their spouses, and six grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by KMHD’s staff and the listeners of the radio station.