Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg, was a black radio pioneer and scholar. She started her radio career in 1954 at WDIA, in Memphis, Tennessee and went on to set guidelines and standards for black radio.
In 1963, radio station WCHB in Inkster, Michigan invited her to the Detroit area where she became an instant success. In 1982, Steinberg went to WQBH radio as vice president and general manager. Fourteen years later, Steinberg purchased WQBH (Queen’s Broadcasting Corporation) and became president and general manager. She was the first African American female to own a radio station.
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. She continued to host her noontime “Inspirations with the Queen” broadcasts on WQBH until two weeks before her death.
Steinberg was inducted into the prestigious State of Michigan Black Women’s Hall of Fame at the Detroit Historical Museum in 1993 and she was featured in Radio Smithsonian’s “Black Radio: Telling it Like it Was.” In 1998 she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Steinberg passed away on January 29, 2000.