Cathy Hughes: A Lifetime of Leadership


Radio Ink is proud to announce that the 2016 recipient of its Lifetime Leadership award is Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One. An in- depth profile of Ms. Hughes and her professional accomplishments will be featured in the annual Top 40 issue of Radio Ink, which will be published on July 25. The award will be presented to Ms. Hughes during the luncheon at the annual Forecast conference, November 16 at the Harvard Club in New York City.

“Cathy Hughes has demonstrated a lifetime of excellence in leadership, vision, and


commitment to the industry. And she has been an especially compelling role model to minorities and women, who can look to her story and be inspired to see that they, too, can achieve their dreams – that perseverance and dedication to goals make the difference. We are honored to recognize the remarkable Cathy Hughes,” Deborah Parenti, Publisher, Radio Ink, stated in making the announcement.

The list of “firsts” that Cathy Hughes has managed to accomplish over her career to date has put a fair share of distinctive cracks in that frequently cited glass ceiling. Following her first radio job in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, the dynamic media pioneer went on to eventually found the largest African- American owned- and- operated broadcast company in the nation. It was those roots in Omaha, Nebraska, however, that first fueled her ambition to empower African Americans with information, and to tell stories from their perspective.

By 1971, her dreams and ambition took her to Washington, D.C., where she eventually became the first woman to hold the position of VP/General Manager of a radio station in that market. She went on to create the format known as the “Quiet Storm,” which revolutionized urban radio and was aired on over 480 stations nationwide. In 1980, Hughes purchased her first radio station, WOL-AM, in Washington D.C., and pioneered yet another innovative format – “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective.” With the theme, “Information is Power,” she served as the station’s morning show host for 11 years.

In 1999, Ms. Hughes became the first African-American woman to chair a publicly held corporation. Since that time, she and her son and business partner, Alfred Liggins III, have grown Radio One, Inc. into a multi-media company that includes 56 radio stations.

Cathy Hughes joins a distinguished list of Lifetime Leadership recipients, including:
2003 Ralph Guild
2005 Lowry Mays
2007 Gary Fries and Eddie Fritts
2008 Gordon Hastings
2009 Bill Burton
2010 Ed McLaughlin
2011 Jerry Lee
2012 Dick Clark, Frances Preston (both posthumously)
2013 Jim Thompson
2014 Charles Warfield
2015 Dan Mason

Information about Forecast registration, which includes admission to the luncheon and the “Top 40” reception immediately following the conference, is available HERE


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