Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg, 1969

THE WAY IT WAS


Published:

1969

 

 

Long before she acquired her regal sobriquet, Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg was born with the “commoner” name of Martha Jean Jones in Memphis, Tenn., in 1930. It was in that city where, in 1954, she nabbed a job at radio station WDIA. There, a fellow DJ tacked on “The Queen” after her given name. Steinberg — she married Luther Steinberg, whom she later divorced — was among just a handful of women radio hosts at that time. She spun R&B records and offered household tips. In 1963, she came north to Inkster, where she took a job at WCHB. Three years later, she was hired by WJLB, where “The Queen” held court until the early ’80s. At WJLB, Steinberg played music, but she also hosted guests and became an inspirational voice to many. While the riots tore the city asunder in 1967, Steinberg stayed on the air for 48 hours straight, urging people to remain calm and stay off the streets. Later, to foster better relations between the black community and the Detroit Police Department, she hosted a call-in program called Buzz the Fuzz. In 1972, she became an ordained minister and founded a church, “The Home of Love.” A decade later, she and partners started WQBH, a talk and gospel station, which she later bought. Steinberg was inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. She died in 2000.


If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Archive »Related Content

Web Exclusive: Meeting the Beatles

Fifty years ago, a Detroit-area teenager won a contest to meet The Beatles.

The Way It Was - Olympia Stadium

The Way It Was - State Fairs

Picnics Plus

Rose’s Fine Food stakes out a reclaimed diner near Belle Isle.

Déjà Food

Exotic Chinese food, circa 1960

Most Popular

  1. 2014 Best Dressed List
    They come from all walks of life — from automotive, hospitality, and health to politics and...
  2. Staying Power
    Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italia restaurant group celebrates its 25th anniversary
  3. Hour Detroit's Best Dressed Celebration 2014 Video Invitation
  4. All That Jazz
    A full-swing resurgence is drawing on Detroit’s rich music culture
  5. Rockford Brewing Company Brewery Profile
    Embracing the outdoors and the creative spirit, Rockford Brewing Company works to promote a...
  6. Takashi, Take Two
    Slurping Turtle offers hip takes on traditional Japanese dishes.
  7. Ludington Area Beer Scene
    Ludington, Michigan represents the Michigan Craft Beer Scene
  8. Portrait of a Collector
    Robert Hudson Tannahill’s bequest left the DIA a priceless visual legacy
  9. It's About Family
    Downtown Plymouth’s Nico & Vali is a slice of Italiana — with some twists
  10. Taking Root
    Growth is slow but steady for family-owned, Michigan-centric The Granola Tree