For Black History Month 2019, MetroMorphosis will do weekly tributes to African American figures and/or movements that align with the core principles of our organization and its programming. Focusing on the pillars of social advocacy (Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge), education (Our Schools Our Excellence), economic empowerment (Launch BR) and urban transformation (MetroMorphosis in general), these posts will highlight past and present Black contributors to culture.
Today’s spotlight is on Cathy Hughes (1947-) is the Founder and Chairperson of Urban One, Inc., the largest African-American owned and operated, broadcast company in the nation. Hughes began her radio career in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, at KOWH (AM), a station owned by a group of African-American professionals. In 1971, she moved to Washington, D.C., and became a lecturer in the newly established School of Communications at Howard University. During her tenure, she served as General Sales Manager at WHUR, Howard University Radio, increasing the station’s revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. She also 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. Along with her son and business partner Alfred Liggins, III, she grew what was Radio One into a multi-media company that became an urban radio market leader with more than 60 stations across the country comprised of hip hop, R&B, gospel and talk radio formats. It became the first African-American company in radio history to dominate several major markets simultaneously, and Hughes became the first woman to own a radio station that was ranked number one in a major market.
As a philanthropist her passion for education is evident in her efforts to continue her family’s work and legacy at The Piney Woods School in Piney Woods, Mississippi. She is a staunch supporter of the school, which was established by her grandfather in 1909 and is the largest of only four African-American boarding schools in the country.
Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson- Urban One, Inc.
In Baton Rouge, MetroMorphosis initiative, Launch BR, seeks to grow business ownership within underrepresented populations and under- invested communities by providing access to training, coaching, mentoring and contracting support. It is the hope of Launch BR to provide several urban businesses in various industries with the necessary tools to achieve as big as Cathy Hughes and others. For more info on Launch BR visit its website HERE
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