Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg: First African American Female to Own a Radio Station

2 Posted by - November 15, 2023 - Black First, Black History, BLACK WOMEN, History, LATEST POSTS

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.




  • Diane Steinberg-Lewis May 24, 2020 - 9:56 am

    Thank you for remembering Martha Jean “The Queen”. Her Inspiration Time noonday show (aka Jesus Pulpit) knit the community in citywide (and suburbs she called her “closet listeners”) in fellowship. She addressed issues w a special eye to uplift the disenfranchised keeping them especially in the loop w not only spiritual, but political and just plain LIFE insights, advice and alerts. She invited on air dialogue once the “issue” of the day was set forth. Through several generations, black and white, The Queen raised a city, and as a Woman Pioneer and Icon in Radio, she paved the way for Oprah, Kathy, Wendy, and more. Just propers are way overdue. I know…as a daughter remembers forever!

  • Mary Williams January 2, 2021 - 7:26 pm

    I am so Godly proud of her paving the way for other black people and she’s from my hometown, Memphis. TN. She has been missed. ???May God rest her soul.❤