Cathy Hughes, Broadcast Trailblazer and Founder of Radio One, Inc., Named to the Board of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Cathy Hughes of Radio One, Inc., was named to the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), announced TMCF Chairman, Jim Clifton.
Hughes is the Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, Inc., located in Silver Spring, Maryland — the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation. Radio One is the parent company of TV One, a partnership with Comcast, and Syndication One, the media home of several entertainers and TV personalities such as Rev. Al Sharpton, Yolanda Adams, Russ Parr, and Rickey Smiley; and, Reach Media, the home of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Music One, home of Harpist Jeff Majors.
Radio One is also the first African-American company in radio history to dominate several major markets simultaneously and possesses the first woman-owned radio station to rank #1 in any major market. It is now a public company, making Hughes the first and only African American woman to chair a publicly held corporation.
“As we continue to help future leaders get the most from their education, Cathy will bring forth a mastery of skills and leadership that will further grow our strategic direction,” said Clifton.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Hughes moved to Washington, DC in 1971 and became a lecturer in the newly established School of Communications at TMCF member-school, Howard University. She entered radio in 1973 as the General Sales Manager at WHUR Radio, increasing station revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year.
In 1975, Cathy Hughes became the first woman Vice President and General Manager of a station in the Nation’s Capital. Later, in 1980, she purchased her first station in 1980, WOL-AM (D.C.) and pioneered the innovative format of “24-hour Talk from a Black Perspective”; and, with the theme, “Information is Power,” she served as the station’s morning show host for 11 years.
“Knowledge, particularly through higher education, is a gateway to success. I am honored to be joining the Board of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, named after a man who used his education and talents to fight for the rights of others and became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice,” said Hughes. “Since its inception, TMCF has awarded more than $200 million dollars in scholarships and has been instrumental in cultivating the leaders of tomorrow by connecting high performing students with employment opportunities. I look forward to lending my support to such a worthy organization.”
Cathy Hughes’ dedication to minority communities, entrepreneurial spirit, and mentoring of women are manifested in every aspect of her work and life. As such, she was honored with the Lifetime of Achievement Award from the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and the Seventh Congressional District Humanitarian Award.
“Cathy is a pioneer and her innovative vision has changed the business of broadcast and business for all Americans and women,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF’s President & CEO. “Her story from an entrepreneur to Chairman of the first woman-owned radio station to rank #1 in any major market is a perfect message for our students. I am looking forward to what she will bring to TMCF.”
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