Cathy Liggins Hughes

“Cathy Hughes,” has been Chairperson of the board of directors and Secretary of Radio One since 1980, and was Chief Executive Officer of Radio One from 1980 to 1997. She was one of the founders of Radio One’s predecessor company in 1980. Since 1980 Ms. Hughes has worked in various capacities for Radio One. Radio One is the largest African American owned and operated broadcast company in the United States. There are now 53 radio stations in sixteen markets and a cable network, TV One. Radio One Inc.’s chief executive Alfred Liggins III agreed to buy a controlling stake in radio personality Tom Joyner’s media company for $56 million, furthering his attempt to turn the radio company his mother began out of a trailer 24 years ago into a diversified media group aimed at the Black community.

Americans In Focus: Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes Interviews Louis Farrakhan

In May of 1999, Cathy Hughes and her son Alfred Liggins (President & CEO) took their company public. Hughes made history again by becoming the first African American Woman with a company on the stock exchange. Radio One’s value is currently in excess of $2 Billion. In 2000, Black Enterprise named Radio One, “Company of the Year,” Fortune rated it one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and Radio One was inducted into the Maryland Business Hall of Fame.

Radio One is recognized for its intense community involvement–the trademark of Cathy Hughes. Her pioneering work has led Essence to name her one of the “100 Who Have Changed the World,” and one of the “100 Most Powerful and Influential Person” by Washingtonian magazine. Radio Ink continues to list her as one of the “20 Most Influential Women in Radio” and Ebony cites her as one of the “10 Most Powerful Women in Black America.” Cathy Hughes and her son Alfred Liggins III have been named Entrepreneur of the year by the company Ernst & Young. Ms. Hughes is also a notable member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

The Washington Post describes Hughes as “the Voice of the Black community.” Her stations now reach more than 18 million Black listeners daily. She is committed to keeping Black broadcast ownership alive and her goal of building a broadcast empire with a solid foundation in the African American community has come to fruition. The result has been an increase in revenue and opportunities for minorities and women. Hughes currently has more than 1,500 Black broadcasters on staff at Radio One, Inc.

Hughes’ dedication to minority communities, entrepreneurial spirit and mentoring of women are manifested in every aspect of her work and life. As such, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and The Seventh Congressional District Humanitarian Award. In 2001, she received the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington’s Silver Medal Award.

Most recently, Hughes was presented with the highly coveted Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters’ Foundation, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and a 2002 Essence Magazine Award. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1971 and became a lecturer in the newly established School of Communications at Howard University. She entered radio in 1973 as general sales manager at WHUR, Howard University Radio, increasing station revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. In 1975, Hughes became the first female vice president and general manager of station in the nation’s capital and created the format known as the “Quiet Storm”– the most listened to nighttime radio format, heard in 50 markets nationally. Purchasing her first station in 1980, WOL-AM(D.C.), Cathy Hughes pioneered yet another innovative format–“24 hour Talk from a Black Perspective.” With the theme, “Information is Power,” WOL is the most listened to talk radio in the nation’s capital.

Radio One’s newest venture, TV One, Inc. launched on January 19, 2004 in partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest pay-television provider. TV One caters to the adult lifestyles of African Americans by offering quality programming such as “227″, “Amen,” “Good Times,” “Lincoln Heights,” and an array of original programming. Cathy Hughes sits on the board of TV One and is Executive Producer of “The Gospel of Music with Jeff Majors” which also airs on TV One.

Cathy Hughes Founded Radio One in Washington, D.C. and though it is now a public company, for Cathy Hughes, the foundation of Radio one is still based on the spirit of a family that strives to reach the heart of community and remain the nation’s #1 urban radio specialists!