Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes Is an American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. She has been listed as the second-richest Black woman in the United States. She founded the media company Radio One (now known as Urban One), and when the company went public in 1999, she became the first African American woman to head a publicly traded corporation. In the 1970s, Hughes created the urban radio format called “The Quiet Storm” on Howard University’s radio station WHUR with disc jockey and fellow Howard student Melvin Lindsey.

Cathy Hughes was born to Helen Jones Woods, a trombonist with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm at Piney Woods School, a private boarding school in Mississippi, and William Alfred Woods, who was the first African-American to earn an accounting degree from Creighton University. Her grandfather Laurence C. Jones was a successful Mississippi educator and lynching survivor. The family lived in the Logan Fontenelle Housing Projects while Hughes’ father attended college. Hughes grew up with a household of siblings. She found her love for music at a very young age, while repeatedly each night lying in bed listening to Everly Brothers and The Platters. In her early life, her parents did not have much money. She struggled to eat. In fact, she lied about her age to get her first job at the age of 14.

Hughes attended Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha before her first pregnancy. She also went to the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University taking Business Administration courses, her father’s alma mater, but was not able to complete and receive a degree, which led to her getting a job as a sales manager at Howard University’s radio station, WHUR-FM.

Hughes, born and raised in Omaha, is an entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. Prior to leaving Omaha for a job in Washington D.C., Ms. Hughes worked for the Omaha Star newspaper and KOWH radio station in the 1960s. After working various jobs during the 1970s, Cathy founded the media company Radio One in 1980. When Radio One went public in 1999, Cathy Hughes became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation. Ms. Hughes currently serves as Chairperson of Radio One, which along with its subsidiaries, is the largest African-American owned multi-media company in the United States.

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