Many tributes are being planned this weekend and in the coming week in light of Don Cornelius’ death on Wednesday:
– WCIU and new diginet Bounce are both simultaneously airing a seven-hour Soul Train marathon this Saturday night starting with the first syndicated episode from October 2, 1971, which featured musical guest Gladys Knight & The Pips and his final episode as host from June 26, 1993 with the Commodores as the special musical guest. Bounce is an Atlanta-based diginet targeted to the African-American audience in the 25-54 demo, and is carried locally on WWME 23.2, a sister station of WCIU. Cornelius’ television carrier started at WCIU in 1967, and is where he created Soul Train in 1970. For the complete description of shows Bounce and WCIU are airing Saturday, click here.
– On Sunday, WVAZ-FM radio personality Herb Kent will air a tribute to Don Cornelius on his show from Noon to 7 pm (which happens to be on Super Bowl Sunday, so you might want to drag out the ol’ stereo with the audio tape recorder to catch the last two hours if you don’t want to miss the game.) Cornelius and Kent were both co-workers at WVON-AM in the late 1960’s. Scheduled to appear on the tribute include former Impressions group member Jerry “Iceman” Butler, WCIU/WGN-TV personality Merri Dee, and current WBEZ personality Richard Steele.
– The Museum of Broadcast Communications plans to hold a public memorial for Cornelius on Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm at its yet-to-open facilities at 360 North State Street in the City’s River North neighborhood, immediately north of The Loop. Doors open at 5:15 pm. Scheduled speakers include the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Central City Productions’ Don Cooper, Herb Kent, and others. If you can’t make it down there, the ceremonies will be carried live on WVON.
– Several cable networks have also planned/or have aired tributes to the late Soul Train founder. BET’s Centric channel is planning a 12-hour Soul Train marathon scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9am (CT). Centric on Saturday will air the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards, at 9pm (Earlier this week, BET to Cornelius, airing a tribute Wednesday during 106th and Park and re-broadcast The 2011 Soul Train Music Awards Thursday night.) VH1 plans to re-air Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America, a documentary on the history of the show tonight at 9 pm.
Finally, for an archive of all Soul Train articles (and mentions) written on The T Dog Media Blog over the last five years, click here. The archives include a rather hilarious faux pas former WFLD anchor Byron Harlan made live on the air on the night the Bears won the NFC Championship Game and went to Super Bowl XLII (hopefully, yours truly can come up with the video later.)