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Cathy Hughes

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Information about Cathy Hughes

Profile image of Cathy Hughes

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
It Is Not Enough For You To Do Your Very Best. You Must Do What Is Required Of The Situation.

Birthplace

Born:
4/22/1947
Birth Location:
Omaha, Nebraska

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Broadcast Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
It Is Not Enough For You To Do Your Very Best. You Must Do What Is Required Of The Situation.

Birthplace

Born:
4/22/1947
Birth Location:
Omaha
See how Cathy Hughes is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Radio maven Cathy Hughes was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1947. Beginning her career in radio in 1969, Hughes’ first position was with KOWH, a black radio station in Omaha. Her successes there prompted the Howard University School of Communications to offer her a position as a lecturer and as Assistant to the Dean of Communications.

In 1973, Hughes was named general sales manager to WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C, and by 1975 was hired as the general manager of the station. Under her guidance, WHUR-FM, which had been struggling along with $300,000 in annual sales revenues, increased its annual revenues to more than $3.5 million. In 1978, Hughes left WHUR for WYCB Radio, where she served as the vice president and general manager of the station.

Hughes and her husband at the time, Dewey Hughes, decided they wanted to buy their own radio station in 1979, and after being rejected by thirty-two banks, they found a lender. With their loan, they purchased WOL, a small Washington, D.C. station and Radio One was born. While Hughes wanted a talk format for the station, the bank was pressing for music. A compromise was reached permitting Hughes to have a morning talk show program that was followed by music programming throughout the day.

Hughes’ marriage ended shortly after purchasing the station and she began her path as a single mother. She purchased her husband’s share in the station, but hard times soon forced she and her son, Alfred, to give up their apartment and move into the station to make ends meet. Over time, however, the station began turning a profit, largely due to the success of her talk show.

Since the early days of being a station owner, Hughes’ rise has been remarkable. Today, Radio One owns 65 radio stations throughout every major market in the country, making the company the largest black-owned radio chain in the nation. In January of 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African American community.

Today, Hughes has the distinction of being the first African American woman to head a media company publicly traded on the U.S. Stock Exchange, and she continues to serve as Chairperson of Radio One.

See how Cathy Hughes is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of Cathy Hughes' interview
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes lists her favorites
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes describes her father's education and career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls her father's accounting practice
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls moving to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes describes her paternal grandparents' lives, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes describes her paternal grandparents' lives, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon the need to preserve African American history
  • Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Cathy Hughes describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes describes her maternal grandfather's education
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls her maternal grandparents' founding of Piney Woods Country Life School
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes recalls her mother's estrangement from her grandfather
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes recalls her maternal grandfather's life and service
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls her maternal grandfather's appearance on television
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls her grandfather's interview for Johnson Publishing
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls dinners at her grandfather's home
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes describes African American women's sacrifices for their community
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes describes Piney Woods Country Life School's disciplinary policy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes describes her mother's personality
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes describes her mother's career with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls her mother's career with the Omaha Symphony
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes describes her mother's connections in the music industry
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls her mother's lessons in giving, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes recalls her mother's lessons in giving, pt. 2
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls her mother's community activism
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes recalls being arrested in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes recalls growing up in a closely-knit community
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls her early years living in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes describes her mother's service with the youth
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes describes her family's life in the projects in Omaha
  • Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes remembers moving to Piney Woods, Mississippi
  • Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Cathy Hughes recalls her schooling in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Cathy Hughes describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Omaha
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes describes the sights and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls her rebellious nature as a child
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes recalls becoming pregnant as a teenager
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes recalls filing for divorce from her first husband
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes describes how her son's birth changed her perspective on life
  • Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls her independence as a young, single mother
  • Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls her decision to relocate to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes recalls accepting a position at Howard University's School of Communications
  • Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes describes her role as a community activist at Howard University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls her challenges as the general manager of WHUR Radio
  • Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes remembers resigning from Howard University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes recalls her innovations in radio programming at Howard University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls how WHUR Radio was licensed to Howard University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes talks about her creativity as a radio programmer
  • Tape: 15 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls her early experiences of radio
  • Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes recalls her educational opportunities at Howard University's WHUR Radio
  • Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes describes her experience at Howard University's WHUR Radio
  • Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes describes the segregated community of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes describes her experience at WYCB Radio
  • Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls the reason for WOL Radio's distress sale
  • Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls her bid to purchase WOL Radio with Dewey Hughes
  • Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls purchasing WOL Radio in 1979 with the help of Herb Fame
  • Tape: 16 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes recalls her first night at the WOL Radio station
  • Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes recalls meeting her chaplain, Reverend Mozelle J. Fuller
  • Tape: 17 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls her chaplain, Reverend Mozelle J. Fuller
  • Tape: 17 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes recalls her business mentor Skip Finley
  • Tape: 17 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes recalls her hardships during the early years of owning WOL Radio
  • Tape: 17 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls hiring an accountant for WOL Radio
  • Tape: 17 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls the first time WOL Radio made a profit
  • Tape: 17 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls acquiring her second radio station
  • Tape: 17 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon her sacrifices to expand Radio One
  • Tape: 17 Story: 9 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon the success of Radio One and the launch of TV One
  • Tape: 18 Story: 1 - Cathy Hughes recalls acquiring a second radio station, Majic 102.3
  • Tape: 18 Story: 2 - Cathy Hughes recalls expanding Radio One into Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 18 Story: 3 - Cathy Hughes recalls purchasing Radio One of Atlanta
  • Tape: 18 Story: 4 - Cathy Hughes describes Radio One's expansion
  • Tape: 18 Story: 5 - Cathy Hughes recalls the establishment of TV One
  • Tape: 18 Story: 6 - Cathy Hughes recalls her son renaming her company Radio One
  • Tape: 18 Story: 7 - Cathy Hughes recalls her son's education at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School
  • Tape: 18 Story: 8 - Cathy Hughes recalls the initial public offering of Radio One in 1999
  • Tape: 18 Story: 9 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon her relationship with her son
  • Tape: 18 Story: 10 - Cathy Hughes describes securing her first loan for Radio One
  • Tape: 18 Story: 11 - Cathy Hughes describes her loan payment strategies
  • Tape: 18 Story: 12 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 18 Story: 13 - Cathy Hughes reflects upon her hopes for the African American community