Home » 5 companies owned by Cathy Hughes, first Black woman to lead a publicly traded company

5 companies owned by Cathy Hughes, first Black woman to lead a publicly traded company

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes, a media maven, and pioneering American entrepreneur, is an influential figure who has reshaped media, entrepreneurship, and entertainment.

As the founder of Radio One, now Urban One, she achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first African-American woman to lead a publicly traded corporation in 1999.

Her journey began in the 1970s when she revolutionized radio with the “Quiet Storm” urban radio format, which originated at Howard University’s WHUR in collaboration with Melvin Lindsey.

Hughes is one of the wealthiest Black women in the United States and a force to be reckoned with in business and entertainment. Her groundbreaking ventures have left an indelible mark on the industry. Alongside her son, Alfred Liggins, she controls more than 90 percent of the Urban One empire.

Billionaires.Africa has observed Hughes’ impact on five companies, showcasing her exceptional business prowess and her role as a trailblazer in the corporate world. 

  1. Urban One
    Urban One Inc., originally founded as Radio One in 1980 by the pioneering Hughes, stands as the largest African-American-owned broadcasting company in the United States. With a remarkable portfolio encompassing 55 radio stations, Reach Media, Interactive One, and TV One, Urban One specializes in media properties catering to African Americans and proudly stands as the only Black-owned publicly traded media company led by a Black woman. Its diverse offerings include a television network, a radio group, a digital division, and a creative content agency.
  1. TV One
    TV One, a cable television channel proudly under the ownership of Urban One, was acquired by Comcast in 2015. Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, it has consistently served as a prime destination for African-American adults, offering a compelling blend of original series, documentaries, films, music performances, and iconic sitcoms spanning from the 1970s to the 2000s. As of February 2015, it reaches approximately 57 million pay television households in the United States.
  2. CLEO TV
    CLEO TV, a sister channel to TV One, is a part of the Urban One family, targeting African-American women. This American cable television network caters to young millennial and Generation X African-American women. Launched on Jan. 19, 2019, CLEO TV primarily features lifestyle programming, syndicated sitcoms and dramas, and Black film telecasts, with its initial launch partners being Comcast Xfinity and Charter Spectrum.
  1. Reach Media
    Under the visionary leadership of Hughes, Urban One acquired a 53-percent stake in Reach Media, a Texas-based media company owned by renowned radio host Tom Joyner, for $56.1 million in 2004. This monumental deal granted Urban One ownership rights to Joyner’s syndicated Morning Show and BlackAmericaWeb.com, marking their first significant presence on the internet. A year later, Urban One and Reach Media joined forces to establish an African-American-focused talk radio network. By 2012, Urban One had increased its ownership stake to 80 percent and unveiled ambitious plans to integrate its Syndication One urban programming lineup with Reach Media.
  2. iOne digital
    In 2008, Urban One introduced Interactive One, a digital brand portfolio featuring NewsOne, The Urban Daily, and Hello Beautiful. In 2011, a partnership with NBC News connected NewsOne with NBC’s The Grio, enhancing its reach and influence. By 2013, a strategic alliance with Global Grind spotlighted African-American and Hispanic pop culture and music content. In 2015, HB Studios, a video production studio centered on women’s experiences, was successfully launched. Today, Interactive One commands a vast audience, with over 18 million unique monthly users across 80 national and local brands.

You may also like


The world’s premier source of news on Africa’s billionaires and UHNWIs.


Get the daily email to stay informed about African billionaires and UHNWIs. Get informed and entertained, for free.

Latest News

@2024 – Billionaires.Africa. All Rights Reserved.