Celebrating 42 Years of Radio One & The Legacy of Founder Cathy Hughes

by Jhanaya Belle

October 3, 2022

Photo by: Derek White/Getty Images

Today calls for a celebration!

Urban One is celebrating the 42nd anniversary of Radio One, and TV One joins the rest of the company’s media entities in celebrating our founder and chairperson Ms. Cathy Hughes.

On October 2, 1980, Hughes created the company we now know as Radio One. She purchased its first and pioneer station, WOL-AM 1450, in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Hughes harnessed the power of radio and directed its reach toward the Black community in major communities across the nation.

“I give praise and thanks to God from Whom all blessings flow for the opportunity to be of service to my community for these 40 years,” she said while expressing her gratitude for the company’s anniversary.

The Urban One maven continued.

“I always say that Radio One is my second baby next to my son and business partner, Alfred Liggins. I am immensely grateful for the men and women who have worked to help make Radio One a success. It started as a single radio station and is now a media family with two cable television networks and various digital media platforms. I look forward to celebrating this milestone and recognizing others who are doing phenomenal work in their industries.”

Photo by: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

Ms. H started her media career more than 50 years ago at the Omaha Star newspaper in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. She made her radio debut in 1969 at KOWH, the city’s first radio station.

In 1971, the media mogul made her move to DC, accepting a position as an administrative assistant and professor at Howard University’s School of Communications.

While working there, Hughes advanced through the ranks to take over as general sales manager of WHUR-FM, the campus radio station. As the first female vice president and general manager of a station in Washington, DC, she had an illustrious career at WHUR-FM.

It was there at WHUR-FM that Ms. H popularized the “Quiet Storm” programming idea, which is still in use today.

Photo by: Brian Stukes/WireImage

Urban One later expanded to include television networks and multiple digital media platforms. Also, in collaboration with Reach Media, the company would bring stars like Rickey Smiley and others to over 50 radio stations serving the African American community nationwide.

The company prides itself in being the leading distributor of urban material in the U.S.

Urban One offers programs aimed at hearing and amplifying the voices of the people. A celebration of Black greatness, history makers, change makers, and more was introduced by the corporation in 2019 with honorees like Jamie Foxx, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, and others.

The United States Senate and House of Representatives honored our beloved found and chairperson earlier this year at the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame in Atlanta. She was inducted for her contributions to the Black community and work in radio.

Photo by: Prince Williams/Wireimage

Please join us as we celebrate the tremendous 42 years that Radio One has represented for the culture! 

Like TV One on Facebook and be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

MORE BLOGS