Open main menu

Catherine Liggins Hughes (born Catherine Elizabeth Woods; April 22, 1947) is an American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. Hughes founded the media company Radio One (now known as Urban One), and when the company went public in 1999, she became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation.[1] In the 1970s, Hughes created the urban radio format called "The Quiet Storm" on Howard University's radio station WHUR with disc jockey and fellow Howard student Melvin Lindsey.

Cathy Hughes
Born
Catherine Elizabeth Woods

(1947-04-22) April 22, 1947 (age 72)
ResidenceWashington, DC
Alma mater
OccupationEntrepreneur, radio and television personality
Spouse(s)
Alfred Liggins Jr.
(m. 1965; div. 1967)

Dewey Hughes
(m. 1979; div. 1987)
ChildrenAlfred Liggins III
Parent(s)Helen Jones Woods (Mother), Williams Alfred Woods (Father)

Early lifeEdit

Cathy Hughes was born to Helen Jones Woods, a trombonist with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm at Piney Woods School, a private boarding school in Mississippi,[2] and William Alfred Woods, who was the first African-American to earn an accounting degree from Creighton University. The family lived in the Logan Fontenelle Housing Projects while Hughes' father attended college.[3] Hughes was far from an only child, growing up with a household of siblings. She found her love for music at a very young age, while repeatedly each night laying in bed listening to Everly Brothers and the Platters.[4] In the early life of Cathy Hughes, things were not easy for her because her parents did not have much money. At this young vital age she struggled to feed. In fact, she lied about her age to get her first job at the age of 14 years of age.

Hughes went to the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University taking Business Administration courses, her fathers alma mater, but was not able to complete and receive a degree,[5][6][7] which led to her getting a job as a sales manager at Howard University's radio station, WHUR-FM.[8]

CareerEdit

Before radio, in the mid-1960s, Hughes worked for an African American newspaper called the Omaha Star.[9] Hughes began her career in 1969 at KOWH in Omaha, but left for Washington, D.C. after she was offered a job as an administrative assistant with Tony Brown at the School of Communications at Howard University.[5] In 1973, she became General Sales Manager of the university's radio station, WHUR-FM, increasing station revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year.[5] In 1975, Hughes 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," which revolutionized urban radio and was aired on over 480 stations nationwide.

During her marriage with Dewey Hughes in 1979, they set out to purchase a radio station. Successfully finding a lender after being denied thirty-two times by banks,[10] in 1980 Hughes and then-husband Dewey founded Radio One, subsequently buying AM radio station WOL 1450 in Washington, D.C.[11] After the previous employees had destroyed the facility,[citation needed] 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 with the theme, "Information is Power." Hughes served as the station's Morning Show Host for 11 years. In 1982 the bank had threatened to cease payments to Hughes investment unless she agreed to airing music. She decided to keep her station as a talking format in the AM and music throughout the day. WOL is still the most-listened-to talk radio station in the nation's capital.[12]

In 1987, Hughes bought radio station WMMJ with her company Radio One (now Urban One).[13] In 1995, Radio One bought radio station WKYS.[14]

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 a notable member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[15]

In 2015, a local business organization unofficially named the corner of 4th Street and H Street NE in Washington, D.C. "Cathy Hughes Corner".[16]

Hughes' life story is featured on the documentary series Profiles of African-American Success. In 2016, Hughes was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

Personal lifeEdit

Hughes was married to Alfred Liggins Jr from 1965 to 1967. Together they had one child, Alfred Liggins III, born January 30, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska.[17][18] She got pregnant when she was sixteen and her mom threw her out of her house. Hughes married Dewey Hughes in 1979 and divorced him in 1987. They had no children together.[10] She lost her home in 1986 when her company, Radio One, was in financial ruin. Hughes and her son lived in WOL and slept on the floor.[19]

AwardsEdit

Cathy Hughes has titled many awards. Granted an honorary doctorate from Sojourner Douglass College in Baltimore in 1995. That accomplishment drove Hughes back to school 2 years later. In 1988, she was awarded the first woman to receive to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the twelfth annual ceremony. Hughes is also a part of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame. Jumping to the year 2000, She awarded the First Annual Black History Hall of Fame Award. Following that she was presented the National Action Networks "Keepers of the Dream" award, which is an award that spotlights role models who contribute an honor and contribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.[20]

Radio One is number nine on BET 100, with a net worth of $450.8 million for 2015.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Herrick, Dennis F. (June 28, 2012). Media Management in the Age of Giants: Business Dynamics of Journalism, Second Edition. University of New Mexico Press. p. 43. ISBN 0826351638.
  2. ^ Speace, Geri. "Hughes, Cathy c. 1947-". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Owning the airwaves - Cathy Hughes buys radio stations for African-American programming." Essence. Jones, C. October 1998.
  4. ^ Speace, Geri. "Hughes, Cathy c. 1947-". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Harris, Janelle (February 9, 2011). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, CATHY HUGHES, FOUNDER OF TV ONE AND RADIO ONE?". Mediabistro. United States: Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Kelly, Michael (May 16, 2018). "Kelly: Omaha native Cathy Hughes, the 2nd-richest black woman in U.S., is 'thrilled' to come home". Omaha World-Herald. Omaha, Nebraska: Berkshire Hathaway. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Holston, Paul (October 5, 2016). "Howard University To Announce Cathy Hughes School Of Communications". The Hilltop. Howard University. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Goldman, Leslie (September 11, 2015). "Media Mogul Cathy Hughes Knows What It's Like to Suffer From Hunger". Woman's Day. New York City: Hearst Communications. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Forss, Amy Helene (2014) Black Print with a White Carnation: Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
  10. ^ a b "Cathy Hughes". The HistoryMakers. Chicago: The HistoryMakers, Inc. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  11. ^ The Reeler (July 9, 2007): "Talking the Talk - Is the biopic over? Talk to Me's Don Cheadle on life, liberties and pursuing a hero", by S.T. VanAirsdale
  12. ^ "Hughes, Cathy c. 1947–". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  13. ^ Horsburgh, Susan; Smith, Kyle (August 9, 2004). "From Rags To Riches". People. Vol. 62 no. 6. Time Inc. / Meredith Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  14. ^ Fisher, Marc (March 6, 1995). "She's Got The Whole Town Talking". The Washington Post. Washington, D. C.: Nash Holdings. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  15. ^ [1] Archived October 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Cathy Hughes honored at a street-naming ceremony on D.C.'s H Street". Rolling Out. 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  17. ^ "Alfred C. Liggins III 1965–". Reference for Business. United States: Advameg, Inc. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  18. ^ "Alfred Liggins, III". The HistoryMakers. Chicago: The HistoryMakers, Inc. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  19. ^ Chun, Janean (September 26, 2012). "Cathy Hughes, Radio One: From Teen Mom To Media Mogul". HuffPost. New York City: AOL. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  20. ^ "Hughes, Cathy c. 1947–". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  21. ^ "Radio One Founder Cathy Hughes Produces New Movie About A Black Media Family Dynasty". Black Enterprise. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  22. ^ [2] Archived November 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit