Cathy Hughes Illustration

Cathy Hughes


Cathy Hughes grew Urban One into the largest African-American owned, diversified media corporation in the nation. As such, Hughes became the first woman to own a radio station that was ranked number one in a major market.

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Urban One, Inc. also owns TV One, a television network serving more than 60 million households, and maintains controlling interest in Reach Media, Inc. ( The company also provides social content, news, information and entertainment through its digital platform, iOne Digital.

Hughes began her radio career at KOWH-AM in her hometown of Omaha, Neb. In 1971, she became a lecturer at the School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, D.C. 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 the nation’s capital and created the format known as the “Quiet Storm.” In 1980, Hughes purchased her flagship station WOL-AM, in Washington, D.C., and pioneered yet another innovative format known as “24-Hour Talk From a Black Perspective.”

Cathy Hughes in studio

Cathy Hughes in studio 1984

Cathy Hughes with NAB Hall of Fame award

Pictured: (left to right) Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group Cathy Hughes and Steve Newberry, Chief Executive Officer at QUU. After the Achivement in Broadcasting dinner at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas.