Radio mogul, Catherine L. Hughes was born 1947 in Omaha, Nebraska. At the age of 8, she received her first transmitter as a gift from her parents. She would lock herself in the bathroom and sing into her tooth brush. This is when her love of radio began. Cathy became pregnant with her son Alfred at 16. Instead of letting this stop her, she used it as the fuel to her entrepreneurial spirit.
Cathy’s radio career began in 1969 at a black radio station, KOWH in Omaha. Shortly after, she was offered a teaching position with Howard University School of Communications. In 1975, Hughes was hired as general manager of WHUR-FM. She was offered this position after serving two years as the general sales manager of the station. During this time, she increased the station’s sales to $3.5mm up from $300k.
In 1979, Cathy and husband, Dewey Hughes wanted to buy a radio station. After being denied by many banks, they secured a lender and purchased WOL-AM in Washington, D.C. A year later, she was divorced and her business suffered as a result. Eventually, Cathy had to give up her home and live in the station with her son. At the time, it was 24/7 business and had 14 employees. Sleeping at the station proved to be beneficial. After 7 years of laser focus and determination, she was out of the financial hole. Cathy never considered herself homeless because her son participated in all activities and later became an UCLA graduate.
On May 5th, 1999, RadioOne made an initial public offer of common stock. This strategic move made Cathy Hughes the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded company. The IPO raised $172mm. RadioOne headquarters are in Silver Spring, Maryland. It currently serves 17 markets across the country and owns/operates 55 radio stations. RadioOne acquired Comcast’s stake in TVOne in 2015.
- You can’t stop if someone tells you no. Nor does it matter how many times you fall. Fall 7, get up 8.
- Humble Thyself. Success is a humbling journey. We have to give up who we are to become who we are meant to be.
- You usually go broke before you make the millions. Trust the process and grow through it.