In the Spring issue of Monarch magazine, Cathy Hughes, the founder and chairperson of Radio One is featured. She is appropriately dubbed as “the first lady of media” in the 3 page spread. The article documents the humble beginnings of Radio One and the equally humbling spirit of Hughes.
In the interview, Hughes, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, recalls how radio first inspired her. “Growing up [in Omaha] there wasn’t a lot of entertainment, so radio was a major source of not only entertainment, but also information,” she said. This was an ideal that carried into the start of her career in 1969 at the first Black station in Omaha, KOWH. Originally an investor in the fledgling station that ran out of capital, Hughes got into the trenches and began to volunteer at the station. In the article, she calls the twist of fate as, “the greatest blessing.”
When she made the move to Washington, D.C. to lecture at Howard University’s School of Communications, Hughes also worked at the area’s local stations. Shortly after, she and her then husband took the next step and purchased AM station, WOL, which is now the flagship station of Radio One.
Today, that first purchase has parlayed into one of the nation’s largest radio broadcasting companies and the largest radio broadcast company that targets African American and urban listeners. The article states that Radio One also “owns and/or operates 53 radio stations located in major urban markets,” a few being Atlanta, Baltimore, Columbus, and Washington, DC. Radio one is also the head of eight other brands: TV One, Interactive One, Distribution One, Syndication One and Reach Media, Inc., which owns the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
In addition to becoming the first and only African American female to lead a publicly traded company, Hughes also is the host of TV One’s, One on One, where she has interviewed Nelson Mandela and then-Senate candidate, Barack Obama. She was also nominated for the NAACP Image Award for her interview special with Louis Farrakhan.
Despite all the amazing feats and accomplishments in her lifetime, she manages to maintain a simple yet meaningful definition to success: “Success is judged in your final hour and it is whether you’ve helped more people in your lifetime than you’ve hurt.”
The spring 2011 issue of Monarch is available on newsstands now. The article is featured on pages 55-58.