By Hannington Dia
E. Steven Collins (pictured), a legendary radio and media personality, passed away Monday morning after suffering a fatal heart attack, according to Praisephilly.com
Collins was largely known as the host of “Philly Speaks” on Old School 100.3 in Philadelphia, where he regularly featured local and national guests every Sunday. His influence in the city earned him the nickname “Unofficial Mayor of Philadelphia,”as he was friends with governors, senators and city council members from the area.
He also served as Radio One’s Director Of Urban Marketing and External Relations. However, Collins was also well known beyond Philly boundaries. He’d been featured multiple times on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews” during the 2008 presidential election. Collins was also a guest on CNN Midday, CNN American Morning With John Roberts, CNN Weekend and PBS News Hour. He was also a member of Clear Channel Communications at WDAS 105.3 FM, where worked for 30 years before coming to Radio One.
Regional Vice President of Radio One, Christopher J. Wegmann, called the passing “a tremendous loss for the Radio One Family; a true leader who cared immensely about his family, his community and his co-worker.”
Radio One Operations Manager Elroy Smith focused on Collins Philly legacy:
E. is a true institution in the City of Philadelphia. He spent a number of years at WDAS where he helped spearhead the success of “Unity Day.” He could have literally run for Mayor of this city and would have become a strong contender. He was the heartbeat of this city and Radio One, Philadelphia. For those that knew E, he was joyful, supportive, genuine and a pleasure to know. There is only one E. Steven Collins and I had am proud to have called him friend.
Collins passed at midnight at Chestnut Hill Hospital. He was surrounded by close friends and family at the time. Old School 100.3 preempted the Tom Joyner Morning Show Monday to allow listeners to call in with their condolences. Calling in, State Rep. Jordan Harris cited Collins as ”truly a legend and a giant in the industry.”
“He always gave encouragement, he always gave advice,” he added. “That’s the kind of leadership that we need.”
American academic Marc Lamont Hill posted on Twitter that “this is insane. I literally just heard from him Saturday.”
Collins is survived by a wife and two sons.