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Cathy Hughes: Series Of Firsts Has Made Her One Of The Wealthiest Black Women In The U.S.

Cathy Hughes
Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes is recognized as the first African-American woman to manage a company under NASDAQ. She acquired over 70 radio stations and created a multimedia empire called Radio One Inc. Radio One is the country’s biggest black-owned media company where Hughes sits as the founder and chairperson.

Her media empire reaches 82% of black households. Radio One Inc. is now known as Urban One Inc. Hughes took it into public in 1999 and the deal sealed her as the first African-American woman to lead a publicly traded corporation.

Urban One Inc. is currently the most diversified media company which primarily targets the black American consumers. When the company first went public, Wall Street went crazy. In fact, Radio One became one of the most successful IPOs of any black-owned company. The company’s market value reached $1.8 billion, thus making Radio One a part of the fastest-growing companies in the radio broadcast segment.

In 2000, Radio One was named by Black Enterprise as Company of the Year. The company acquired 12 more stations in various cities including L.A., Houston, Cleveland, Miami, Dallas, Greenville, and South Carolina.

The company also bought three radio stations in Indianapolis and a TV station

. Add to that, they also got six radio stations in North Carolina and Georgia. These major acquisitions propelled the company to the forefront of the radio broadcast business. The revenues rose up to nearly double from the previous year.

Cathy Hughes
Cathy Hughes & son, Alfred Liggins III

Hughes along with her son Alfred Liggins III, the president and CEO of the company, created a program to build a media empire by providing a variety of products and services for the urban market. In 2004, they launched TV One, a cable network, in partnership with Comcast.

The network became the only cable channel that is black-owned. Currently, the network reaches 59 million homes in the U.S.

The company also expanded its market with an online medium, the Black America Web. In 2008, they also got Interactive One, an online community that operated 70 digital sites including Black America Web.

However, the company also had its fair share of setbacks. In 2006, they announced that they are selling radio stations in markets that are underperforming. With the economy down in 2008, the mother and son sold some of the broadcast stations such as KRBV-FM to other companies.

Now, Urban One operates 57 stations across the U.S., including WFXC (Foxy 107/104), WNNL (103.9 The Light) and WQOK (k97.5 in Raleigh, NC. With a net worth of $460 million, Hughes is one of the country’s richest African-American women.

Read the original story via Black Enterprise.


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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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