Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes is a dynamic, media pioneer who demonstrates the power of one – one woman, one vision, one company – Urban One. Urban One, Inc., formerly known as Radio One, is the largest African-American owned, diversified media corporation in the nation. It reaches more than 80-percent of the African-American market through its subsidiaries: Radio One, an urban market leader with over 55 broadcast radio stations; TV One and CLEO-TV, two cable television networks; Reach Media, Inc., a syndication company that produces the “D.L. Hughley Show” among others; iOne Digital, a digital platform that offers social content, news, information and entertainment; and One Solution, a cross platform marketing company.

Hughes began her radio career in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska at KOWH (AM). In 1971, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she served as a lecturer in the newly established School of Communications at Howard University and created the radio format known as the “Quiet Storm.” The format revolutionized urban radio and was broadcast on over 480 stations nationwide. In 1980, Hughes purchased her flagship station WOL-AM, in Washington D.C., and pioneered yet another innovative format – “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective.” She served as the station’s morning show host for 11 years.

In 1999, Hughes and her son and business partner, Alfred Liggins III, took the company public, making Hughes the first African-American woman to chair a publicly held corporation. She has earned myriad prestigious awards and recognitions including: induction into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2019, the naming of Cathy Hughes Boulevard in her hometown of Omaha in 2018; and the naming of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University in 2016.

Hughes is a champion for the homeless, a mentor to countless women and an advocate dedicated to empowering minority communities. Her passion for education is evident in her efforts to continue her family’s work and legacy at The Piney Woods School, established by her grandfather in 1901, in Piney Woods, Mississippi. The Piney Woods School is the longest standing independent boarding school in the United States that was established for the education of African-American students.