When the news came yesterday, I was rocked. Elane Stein, long the trailblazing grande dame of Baltimore broadcasting, was among my heroes and one of the reasons my career path took the path it did. She has been missed sorely since she retired to New Mexico a number of years ago, and though the news of her passing causes great sadness, it makes me happy that she lived such a long, accomplished and inspirational life. Godspeed, Elane!
From the Baltimore Sun:
Elane Stein, a prominent figure in Baltimore broadcasting whose career in radio and television spanned more than three decades, died Sunday at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M., from injuries she suffered in a fall at her home a day earlier.
The Baltimore native and Forest Park High School graduate began her career as music director at WCBM-AM in 1961. She moved to WBAL in 1975, where she was public service director and broadcast a short interview program three times daily.
Ms. Stein also appeared on WJZ-TVs “Square Off” as a panelist for 14 years and Maryland Public Television’s “The Critic’s Place” for many years.
… Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL vice president and general manager, worked with Ms. Stein for many years.
“For women in local broadcasting, Elane was truly a pioneer. There were two names from those early days: Elane and Mollie Martin,” Mr. Beauchamp said.
“Elane had a unique niche and style. She was well-connected in the art and theater community in New York and Washington,” he said. “When Princess Diana got married, we sent her to London and she just loved it. She did a terrific job, and it was the kind of thing that she always excelled at.”
Ms. Stein, who stood 6-foot-1 with dark hair pulled backed from her angular face and piercing brown eyes behind oversize tortoise-shell glasses, could be an intimidating presence.
“Well, I tell ’em off and they hate me and it’s wonderful because they know who I am and they tell their friends, ‘Don’t listen to her. She’s a real bitch,'” Ms. Stein told The Sun in a 1980 interview.
“Not only was she intimidating to those she interviewed but also to her co-workers and those who managed her,” said Mr. Beauchamp, with a laugh.
“But she had a big heart, and one thing about Elane was when you did battle with her, once it was over, it was over,” he recalled. “Five minutes later, we’d be laughing and talking about something else.”