Martha Jean Steinberg

(1929 – 2000)

Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg, a black radio pioneer and scholar, helped set the guidelines and standards for black radio in America. “The Queen” started her radio career in 1954 at WDIA, Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1963, radio station WCHB in Inkster, Michigan invited her to the Detroit area where she became an instant success. In 1982, “The Queen” went to WQBH radio as vice president and general manager. Fourteen years later, “The Queen” purchased WQBH (Queen’s Broadcasting Corporation) and became president and general manager.

“The Queen” contributed to much of the scholarship and development of black radio. She was one of four black radio pioneers at the New York City Museum of Television and Radio’s first-ever seminar on “Black Radio, Yesterday and Today.” She was featured in the Radio America series “Passing It On: Voices from Black America’s Past,” broadcast in 1995. She narrated the documentary on Barry Gordy and the early years of the Motown Sound, entitled “The Music & The Story,” for The Henry Ford.

“The Queen” was inducted into the prestigious State of Michigan Black Women’s Hall of Fame at the Detroit Historical Museum and she was featured in Radio Smithsonian’s “Black Radio: Telling it Like it Was.”

“The Queen” received a number of awards for her outstanding achievements. The School of Social Work, Alumni Association, Wayne State University presented her with the U.S. Citizen of the Year award for her extraordinary contributions to the community. She also received the Michiganian of the Year award, an award recommended by Detroit newspaper readers and news staffs in recognition of contributions to the community and to the betterment of life in Michigan.

Martha Jean Steinberg was the single mother of three daughters, all of whom graduated from college and into successful careers. She was also a minister and founder of the nondenominational Order of the Fisherman Ministry.

Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg was a radio legend, an outstanding human being, an inspiration and a powerful voice for peace, progress, prosperity and goodwill toward all.