Contrary to popular belief, there is indeed royalty in this land of ours. Over the last 30 years, Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg has reigned over the airwaves of radio stations in six states, and her loyal following grows larger each day. Since 1967, a group of dedicated followers known as "The Queen's Community Workers" has been in civic service involving penal institutions, senior citizens, youth scholarship and tutoring programs, and also working with housing authorities throughout Michigan.
"The Queen"'s career in radio began at the Tennessee based station WDIA, the first 50,000 watt Black oriented station in America. Broadcasting through five southern states, Martha Jean took on the role of "town crier", and alerted her listeners to impending legislation, civic, cultural and religious events that were upcoming in the area.
The year 1963 had her moving to Inkster, Michigan, on WCHB, but it was in 1966, after a move to Detroit to WJIB, that she found her true calling. Electing to dub herself a voice of the people, she was an immediately respected spokeswoman of the community at large. She had an instrumental part in quelling the 1967 civil disturbance due to her appeals for non-violence and her personal appearances at vigils to restore peace in the riot torn neighborhoods of her listenership. Following the uprising, she originated a program entitled, "Buzz the Fuzz", which featured then police Commissioner John Nicholas. The program was nationally acclaimed, and helped to re-establish a trusting relationship between the police and the citizens of Detroit.
Such efforts and accomplishments did not escape national attention—the "Queen" has been the guest of both Presidents Nixon and Carter, and was also asked to give the opening prayer for Congress' 1993 session. Her contributions to such national organizations as the March of Dimes, where she held a post as an Executive Committee Member, and the NAACP, which has awarded her an Outstanding Service Award at the annual Freedom Fund Dinner, are further testament to the altruism that belies her every effort.
The respect that the African-American community holds for her has had influence on the private sector as well. The National Bank of Detroit, A&P Supermarkets, the City National Bank, Lane Bryant and the City National Bank have all called upon her for consultation regarding public relations in the black community. Such a well rounded career has garnered her a place in the Detroit Historical Museum's prestigious Black Women's Hall of Fame.
Martha Jean 'The Queen" Steinberg is still on the airwaves, with her program "Inspiration Time" which is broadcast twice daily on WQBH, the Detroit station of which she is Vice President and General Manager. We salute the Queen's contributions thus far, and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
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