Cathy Hughes, born Catherine Elizabeth Woods in Omaha, Nebraska on April 22, 1947, is an African-American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. Hughes founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One, the company went public in 1998, making Hughes the first and only African-American female to head a publicly traded corporation at the time. In the 1980s, Hughes created the urban radio format called The Quiet Storm.
After working for KOWH, Hughes was offered a job as a lecturer at the School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1975, she became general manager of the university’s radio station, WHUR-FM. In 1979, Hughes founded Radio One, and with then-husband Dewey Hughes, bought AM radio station WOL 1450 in Washington, D.C.After the previous employees had destroyed the facility,she faced financial difficulties and subsequently lost her home and moved with her young son to live at the station. Her fortunes began to change when she revamped the R&B station to a 24-hour talk radio format.
Radio One went on to own 70 radio stations in nine major markets in the U.S. In 1999, Radio One became a publicly traded company, listed under the NASDAQ stock exchange. As of 2007, Hughes’s son, Alfred Liggins, III, serves as CEO and president of Radio One, and Hughes as chairperson. Hughes is also a minority owner of BET industries.
In January 2004, Radio One launched TV One, a national cable and satellite television network which bills itself as the “lifestyle and entertainment network for African-American adults.” Hughes interviews prominent personalities, usually in the entertainment industry, for the network’s talk program TV One on One. Both Cathy Hughes and her son, Alfred Liggins have been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the company Ernst & Young. She is an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority.
“It is not enough for you to do your very best. You must do what is required of the situation.”
– Cathy Hughes