Media mogul Cathy Hughes will seal her legacy as one of the greatest media personalities in American history on April 8, when she is officially inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Hughes, the founder and chairperson of Urban One, Inc., has made a resounding impact on black media throughout her 30-year career. She launched the broadcasting network formerly known as Radio One in 1980 with her then-husband Dewey Hughes, and grew it into the largest African American owned, diversified media corporation in the nation. In 1999, the company went public, making Hughes the first African American woman to head a publicly traded corporation.
“Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith in a statement. “We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”
Hughes began her radio career at KOWH-AM in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. In 1971, she became a lecturer at the School of Communications at Howard University — which has since been renamed after her. During her tenure, Hughes served as general sales manager at WHUR-FM, Howard University Radio, increasing the station’s revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. She also became the first woman vice president and general manager of a station in Washington, D.C. She went on to create the format known as the “Quiet Storm,” which has revolutionized urban radio, as well as “24-Hour Talk From a Black Perspective.”
The media titan told BLACK ENTERPRISE back in 2017 that she launched Radio One in order to give voice to the black community. “I felt that our opinions, desires, needs, likes, and dislikes were not being adequately addressed except by black newspapers on a weekly basis or black magazines on a monthly basis. We needed a daily outlet to talk about what’s important,” said Hughes. “My mantra is information is power, and unfortunately, by the time black folks got the information it was black history not current events.”
Today, Urban One operates 59 radio stations across the country. It also owns the television network TV One, the digital outlet iOne Digital (formerly Interactive One), and the marketing firm, One Solution. The company has repeatedly appeared on the BE 100’s list, an annual ranking of the largest black-owned businesses in the country.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Hughes boasts a staggering net worth of $460 million, making her one of the wealthiest African American woman in the nation alongside business magnates like Oprah Winfrey and Sheila Johnson. Hughes has also been listed among the BE 75 Most Powerful Women in Business.