Urban One Founder Gets NAB Hall Of Fame Nod


What do Elvis Duran and the founder and chairperson of what is today known as Urban One have in common?

Come April 8, they can each say that they are inductees into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Cathy Hughes, who grew Urban One into the largest African-American owned media company in the U.S., will be inducted during the Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner on April 8 at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

Founded as Radio One, Hughes took a company focused on radio in Washington, D.C., and has seen it grow to an entity with 59 AMs and FMs across the U.S., in addition to MVPD-distributed TV One and national radio arm Reach Media.

The company, today run by Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III, is also a casino owner, thanks to its investment in the MGM National Harbor resort.

Then, there is Urban One’s digital platform, which includes iOne Digital, and the marketing firm One Solution.

Hughes began her radio career at KOWH-AM in her hometown of Omaha. In 1971, she became a lecturer at the newly established School of Communications at Howard University in Washington. During her tenure, Hughes served as GSM at WHUR-FM, Howard University’s Urban AC. Under Hughes, WHUR increased its stations revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. She also became the first woman VP/GM of WHUR. 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 is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”

In addition to her professional career, Hughes continues her family’s work and legacy at The Piney Woods School in Mississippi, which was established by her grandfather in 1909. The school is the largest of only four African-American boarding schools in the country. She also advocates on behalf of the homeless and minority communities, in addition to mentoring countless women.

Hughes was awarded the NAB Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Last year’s NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee for radio was nationally-syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran.