Cathy Hughes, the founder of Urban One, Interactive One (iOne), and Radio One’s unstoppable broadcast media network, is marking not only her 75th birthday but her many years of excellence as an exemplary media maven!
In celebration of her special day, we’re paying tribute to her lofty list of accomplishments and highlighting several that prove she’s undeniably an absolute boss!
The Cathy Hughes School Of Communications At Howard University
Imagine the honor of having a School of Communications named after you, now imagine that honor happening somewhere you once worked! In 2016 Howard University, where Hughes served as General Sales Manager of the university’s radio station, WHUR-FM, honored the media maven by renaming the third largest of Howard University’s 13 academic schools and colleges, The Cathy Hughes School of Communications (CHSOC).
Howard boasts that CHSOC graduates are known at the local, national, and global levels for their “leadership within and across diverse communities through communication research, professional practice, innovation, job creation, social justice, and service via cutting-edge knowledge, skills, and technology”, and they’re doing so under this trailblazer’s name.
To mark the historic occasion, the unveiling ceremony was held on October 23, 2016, at The Mecca, and leading up to it, Howard held “Cathy Hughes Week” and streamed the “Best of the Cathy Hughes Morning Show” and aired a “Cathy Hughes One on One – A News One Special.”
Not only that but an exclusive, star-studded extravaganza was held to commemorate her lifetime commitment to excellence. Attendees included University and public officials Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President, Howard University; [the now late] Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD 7th District); Gracie Lawson-Borders, Ph.D., Dean of Cathy Hughes School of Communications; Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD 8th District); actor Anthony Anderson and Civil Rights Leader Rev. Al Sharpton.
Lifetime Achievement Award From NYC Mission Society
In 2018 the Chairwoman was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from New York City’s oldest charity, the NYC Mission Society. Huges was honored for her work as a “transformer” and a “trailblazer” during the NYC Mission Society’s annual Champions for Children Gala where she was lauded for embodying the company’s mission of “making the world a better place, one full of promise and of opportunity, particularly for our younger generations.”
During her acceptance speech, Hughes credited her parents for emphasizing the importance of education in her life and credited her mother for instilling in her the spirit of ‘Why not?” which has led to her success.
“It was important for Black people to get an education, we were called negroes then, to free us from bondage and the residual effects of slavery,” said Hughes per HelloBeautiful.
Induction Into The NAB Hall Of Fame
In 2019 Cathy Hughes was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The media maven made history as not only the second woman but the FIRST African-American woman to be honored in the radio category.
“Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry,” said Gordon Smith, CEO, and president of NAB ahead of the ceremony about the first woman to own a top-ranked radio station in a major market. “We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”
U.S. Senate Recognizes Cathy Hughes’ Achievements In Media
In 2020 Ms. Hughes was honored by Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia and the Honorable Chris Van Hollen of the State of Maryland on the 40th Anniversary of Urban One’s founding.
“Mr. President, I rise today to honor a tenacious entrepreneur, visionary radio personality, and powerful advocate for the African-American community, Cathy Hughes. This year, her pioneering radio company, Urban One, celebrated 40 years on the air,” said Senator Van Hollen during his speech while noting that Hughes “has left an indelible mark on the State of Maryland and inspired millions of listeners across the country.”
“Cathy Hughes revolutionized radio by rebuilding WOL from the ground up, literally, and brought on grassroots volunteers from the neighborhood to develop her station’s headquarters on H Street and 4th Northeast, just a short walk from the U.S. Capitol. Her innovative broadcasts captured the attention of the African-American community and attracted a wide audience of devoted listeners.”
Ms. Hughes also spoke and said she was “deeply humbled” by the recognition.
Induction Into The Cablefax Cable Center Hall Of Fame
In 2021 Cathy Hughes and Alfred Liggins III, CEO of Urban One and TV One, were inducted into the Cablefax Cable Center Hall of Fame.
The prestigious honor was bestowed upon the dynamic mother-son duo for their significant impact on the cable industry. In particular, Hughes and Liggins were honored for their work in diversifying cable television with the success of TV One in 2004 and Cleo TV in 2019.
Ever the proud son, Liggins spoke on being inducted alongside his mother who made crucial sacrifices for him during his childhood.
“I don’t know life without radio. It’s been a constant in my life because it was my mom’s dream to provide an opportunity for Black people to have our own voice and tell our own stories,” Liggins said in a Q&A with Cablefax, per NewsOne. “She sacrificed and put everything she had into her business. I grew up walking the hallways of WHUR at Howard University, being babysat by staff, attending events with my mom, and watching her carve her own path in what has always been a male-dominated world.”
I’m grateful our collective ideas and passions have allowed us to have a place in these industries and enabled us to be of greater service to the Black community.”
As you can see, this chairwoman, founder, and #BlackGirlMagic maker is an absolute boss indeed!
Happy Birthday Ms. Hughes!