A childhood friend to Frank Matthews-Lester, the two could have not been more ideologically different growing up.
Frank Matthews-Lester and Rennis Rinke both grew up in Seattle. They both attended O’Dea School, and both went to the University of Washington. However, Matthews-Lester was a died in the wool staunch conservative, and Rennis Rinke was a progressive.
“We got into arguments all the time” recalled Rinke, “And could never get into agreement politically. But I didn’t give up on him. Despite our differences, we were lifelong friends. It took many years, but I was able to finally get through to him over time. Now, you could argue that Frank is the most progressive person around, even more than me.”
It was Rinke’s influence on Matthews-Lester that ultimately led to the creation of Public Radio Seattle. However, Rinke had no interest at first in joining the new radio operation. “I was perfectly content with my job at Microsoft. I didn’t want to rock the boat.” But then Rinke saw what was happening at Public Radio Seattle, and had no choice but to ask to be hired on. Matthews-Lester knew this day would come and had already created the role for Rinke, Vice President of Operations, a role in which Rinke still serves in today. “It’s been great.” remarked Rinke.
Rinke still works at Microsoft to this day, having climbed the ladder at the company. But he treasures his weekends and his weekend program, “The Rennis Rinke Experience”, which can be heard Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. “It’s a calm program. I try to remain calm. But that doesn’t mean I am not passionate. A lot of people falsely equivalate getting loud and angry to passion. It can be. But I still feel like a passionate progressive despite remaining calm, and its up to my guests to bring the fire.”
Rinke has a biological son, Rennis Jr., and two step daughters.