Howard University Renames Communications School After Cathy Hughes

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Roland S. Martin, "NewsOne Now" host and managing editor, and Cathy Hughes, Radio One, Inc. founder and chairperson, following the taping of TV One's "Cathy Hughes One on One: A NewsOne Special" at Howard University. (Photo: Kevin Wolf/AP Images for TV One)
Roland S. Martin, “NewsOne Now” host and managing editor, and Cathy Hughes, Radio One, Inc. founder and chairwoman, following the taping of TV One’s “Cathy Hughes One on One: A NewsOne Special” at Howard University. (Photo: Kevin Wolf/AP Images for TV One)

 

Cathy Hughes, founder and chairwoman of Radio One, Inc. (Photo: Radio One)
Cathy Hughes, founder and chairwoman of Radio One, Inc. (Photo: Radio One)

Howard University’s School of Communications, which is affectionately known as the School of C, will soon have a new namesake: Cathy Hughes.

An unveiling ceremony will be held Sunday to honor Hughes, who is the founder and chairwoman of Radio One, Inc. Radio One, the nation’s largest Black-owned multi-media company, celebrated its 36th anniversary recently. The school will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications.

If you don’t know who Hughes is then you’re missing out on a key piece of American media history.

“She is one of the wealthiest self-made African American women in America,” Guy Raz, host of NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast, said in an interview about Hughes last month. “Even when she was little, growing up in Omaha, Nebraska in the 1950s, she knew she would be on the radio one day.”

Hughes, 69, got her break in radio working at KOWH-AM, a black-owned radio station in Omaha, before heading to the Nation’s Capital to lecture at Howard where she also became assistant to the Dean of Communications, according to The History Makers site.

She eventually became general manager of the university’s radio station, WHUR-FM, helping the once struggling station significantly increase its annual revenue. There she helped she helped structured the “Quiet Storm” format, described by NPR as “the soundtrack for single people on the weekends who wanted to have some fun.” Turn to any R&B station in the evening and you will hear that programming.

Cathy Hughes behind the mic at Radio One's first station, WOL-AM. (Photo: Radio One)
Cathy Hughes behind the mic at Radio One’s first station, WOL-AM. (Photo: Radio One)

Hughes and her then-husband Dewey Hughes (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the film “Talk to Me”) purchased WOL-AM, a small Washington, D.C. station, that became the first of many owned by Radio One.

“I wanted to be the first African American to have a syndicated radio show. I’ve had that desire since I was 8, 9, 10 years old,” Hughes said during her NPR interview.

Over the past 36 years, Radio One has grown to include 56 radio stations, the TV One cable network, Interactive One multimedia websites and 10 nationally-syndicated Reach Media. Hughes’s son, Alfred Liggins III, serves as Radio One’s CEO, president and treasure as well as TV One’s CEO.

Below is a list of multimedia programming airing this week that’s celebrating Hughes’s legacy.

Tuesday:

WOL-AM will broadcast Hughes’s classic radio shows in a marathon, “The Best of The Cathy Hughes Morning Show,” from noon to 2 p.m. ET and midnight to 2 a.m. ET. today.

TV One will air “Cathy Hughes One on One: A NewsOne Special,” an exclusive sitdown interview with TV One’s “NewsOne Now” host Roland S. Martin, today at 10 p.m. ET. Hughes will share the highs and lows of building her multimedia empire and “walk Martin through her journey from team mom to urban media maven,” a TV One press release stated.

Wednesday:

TV One will air a marathon of Hughes’s best-known interviews as host of the network’s series, “One on One with Cathy Hughes.” From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, viewers can catch her conversations with Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan (9 a.m. ET), “Empire” star Terrence Howard (11 a.m. ET), “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson (noon ET), Jamie Foxx (1 p.m. ET), President Barack Obama (2 p.m. ET) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3 p.m. ET).

Sunday:

Howard University will commemorate the renaming of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications with a private unveiling ceremony on Sunday at noon that will be live streamed via Facebook and on all of Radio One’s local and national digital media platforms.

WATCH: Livestream TV One 

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