Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:27
Don Cornelius, the late Chicago-born broadcasting legend, who shockingly died earlier this year
from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, will be honored twice in the coming months. Next month, Cornelius will be inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame, and in October, Cornelius will be named as one of the "Giants of Broadcasting" by the Library of American Broadcasting.
Cornelius, a native of Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, started in radio and television here in Chicago in the 1960s, becoming a DJ/news anchor on WVON-AM and then a television announcer on WCIU-TV. He was the host, creator, and producer of a local music & dance television program for WCIU-TV called "Soul Train," which soon after became nationally syndicated. By the early 1970s, Cornelius become a national and international superstar, not to mention one of the most important and iconic cultural figures in America.
The Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA), located in Springfield, IL, plan on saluting the legacy of Don Cornelius by adding his name to their Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place on August 17th, which is 42 years to the date that "Soul Train" made its Chicago debut.
Just days before his death, the IBA informed Don Cornelius of the honor they planed on bestowing him this summer.
Dennis Lyle, President and CEO of the IBA, said in a statement: "Sadly, our previously planned 2012 induction of Mr. Cornelius will now be a posthumous induction. That said, his well-deserved induction allows us to formally recognize the genius behind 'Soul Train' and celebrate his countless contributions to our industry."
IBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are not open to the public. Only a limited number of IBA members can attend the downstate event. Members interested in tickets can contact the IBA at 618-985-5555.
The other honor recently announced for Don Cornelius will take place on October 18th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. There, the Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) will hold their 10th annual "Giants of Broadcasting" luncheon -- their equivalent to a Hall of Fame.
The LAB, located inside the University of Maryland outside of Washington, DC, has been an institution since 1972. In 2003, the LAB began inducting distinguished honorees into their "Giants of Broadcasting" collection. In the last ten years, 140 men & women have been named as a broadcasting "Giant."
This October's "Giants of Broadcasting" induction ceremony will add nine more broadcasting professionals to the group, including Chicago's Don Cornelius. He will now join the ranks of greats already inducted, including Guglielmo Marconi, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, and Paul Harvey.
As the man himself would say in his deep baritone voice as he ended his weekly "Soul Train" program: "...And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey. I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"
Don Cornelius in Chicago - 2011
Photo credit: Paul Natkin