Philadelphia Community Shocked By E's Passing - New York News

Philadelphia Community Shocked By E's Passing

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PHILADELPHIA -

Philadelphia says goodbye to one of the city's most prominent radio hosts and community activists. E. Steven Collins suddenly died of a heart attack, overnight.

The unmistakable voice of E. Steven Collins on WRNB radio was suddenly silenced forever. Deena Williams struggled through her broadcast today on WRNB FM, where Collins was director of urban marketing and external relations. He also hosted a show called "Philly Speaks."

Shock and disbelief came from countless callers like Dr. Mark Lamont Hill.

"I was hoping, somehow, that it was a miscommunication," he tells the hosts.

His reaction echoed those heard over and over around the Philadelphia region from RNB to WDAS FM, where Collins worked for decades.

"E," as we all call him, was not only a giant behind the radio mic, but also a political mover and shaker and an arm twister for what was right for the community.

"They don't make them like him anymore," says an activist.

He was an activist in the community in front, but he worked mostly behind the scenes in ways many people are just finding out.

"Any time you ask him to do anything, E. Steven Collins was right there," says Mayor Nutter.

"Totally committed to the city..." says another.

He was on the front line for education for all.

"He was a tremendous supporter for the young people here in Philadelphia," says superintendent Dr. Hite.

He was instrumental in bringing all people together on the Parkway for Unity Day.

"We started out in college," says Vince Hill.

KYW Radio's Vince Hill attended Temple University with Collins. E gave Vince his first job at what radio.

"He will fight for you," says Hill.

Collins was a powerful force for equality when he led the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalism. He was also to be inducted into Temple's hall of fame next month.

Collins has probably mentored, in some way, every journalist who's come through Philadelphia over the last 30 years, becoming close friends to many people.

"He let me know very early on that it was okay to be myself," says FOX 29's Sheinelle Jones.

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