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Museum Of Broadcast Communications To Honor Don Cornelius

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Museum of Broadcast Communications will honor "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius with a special tribute Wednesday night.

The tribute is planned for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the museum's new location, 360 N. State St. It will also be broadcast live on WVON-1690 AM.

Doors will open at 5:15 p.m.

Cornelius, 75, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted this past Wednesday morning at his Los Angeles home.

A former Chicago police officer, Cornelius began his broadcasting career at WVON in the 1960s. He originally worked as a newscaster and reporter.

But Cornelius had an idea and WCIU-Channel 26 bought it: an afternoon teen dance show for the African-American community. "Soul Train" quickly became a phenomenon. Cornelius started "Soul Train" on a shoestring budget as a daily show on black and white TV on Aug. 17, 1970.

As the show got off the ground, local high school kids came to the WCIU studios in the Board of Trade building to dance to the latest R&B hits.

The program moved to national syndication in October 1971, and production for the program also moved to Los Angeles at that time.

"Soul Train" went on to become the longest-running first-run, nationally syndicated TV show ever. New episodes were produced until 2006.

Cornelius stopped hosting the show in 1993, by which time he was an icon.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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