Hughes, the founder and Chairperson of Urban One, will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2019 NAB Show. The induction will occur during the Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner on Monday, April 8 at the Encore in Las Vegas.
Hughes grew Urban One, formerly known as Radio One, into the largest African-American owned, diversified media corporation in the nation. The company is an urban market leader with 59 broadcast stations across the country. As such, Hughes became the first woman to own a radio station that was ranked number one in a major market. Today, the company is run by Alfred Liggins III, Hughes’ son.
Hughes began her radio career at KOWH-AM in her hometown of Omaha. In 1971, she became a lecturer at the newly established School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, DC. During her tenure, Hughes served as General Sales Manager at WHUR-FM, Howard University Radio, increasing the station’s revenue from $250,000 to $3 million in her first year. She also became the first woman VP and GM of a station in the nation’s capital and created the format known as “Quiet Storm,” which revolutionized urban radio and was aired on over 480 stations nationwide. In 1980, Hughes purchased her flagship station WOL-AM in Washington DC. and pioneered another innovative format known as “24-Hour Talk From a Black Perspective.”
“Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”
In addition to her professional career, Hughes continues her family’s work and legacy at the Piney Woods School in Mississippi, which was established by her grandfather in 1909.
Hughes was awarded the NAB Distinguished Service Award in 2001.