Home Web timeline A timeline of how Cathy Hughes built Radio One and Urban One

A timeline of how Cathy Hughes built Radio One and Urban One


We celebrate Radio One’s 42nd anniversary on October 3 in honor of our Founder and President Cathy Hughes. The vision began with WOL News Talk 1450 & 95.9 in Washington DC and has now grown into a network of over 50 radio stations serving the African American community nationwide.

We thank you for your continued support!

Take a walk down memory lane as you learn the history of Radio One from the very beginning in the interactive timeline below.

Hughes, who celebrated his 75th birthday in April, began building his empire as a 20-year-old in AM radio for KOWH. The following years would see a move to Washington, D.C., where she would become the first-ever female chief executive of a state radio station. Later, she would do other monumental things in the history of Radio One, including creating The Quiet Storm format, spearheading Cathy Hughes’ Morning Show for 11 years, helping introduce Urban Adult Contemporary as a radio format, and eventually partnering with her son, Alfred C. Liggins III, to reign as CEO with her as president. Then came TV One – now the largest black-owned television network – and REACH Media who brought you this website.

It was normal for her to be inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame earlier this summer, Hughes being honored as a founding inductee and respectfully receiving the title “Queen” on her plaque. Delighted to be placed next to her dear friend TD Jakes, Mrs. H said enthusiastically of the honour, “I couldn’t have a better position! I’m so thrilled to know it’s here in Atlanta, and how many people will walk past, look down, and read as it goes.

You deserve it all, queen!


The story of Cathy Hughes and Radio One is a truly inspiring story of black excellence, which came with many noes but lots of perseverance until it became the yes she needed to succeed . She once said The Baltimore Sun on the topic of overcoming adversity, “For every 99 people who say ‘no’ to you, there’s a good chance the 100th will say ‘yes’.” Adding later for reference, “My dad was an accountant and he always had to talk about the law of averages.

Considering his dad was the first black person to earn an accounting degree from Creighton University, we’re going to take a chance and assume he knew exactly what he was talking about.

Happy 42nd anniversary Radio One, and congratulations to its founder, the one and only Mrs. Cathy Hughes! Here is another half century and more.



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