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Fri, 05.09.1980

Radio One Goes “On The Air”

*On this date in 1980, Radio One, Inc. is celebrated.  Formerly Radio One is a Silver Spring, Maryland-based American media conglomerate.  It is the largest Black-owned broadcasting company, and as of 2014, it was the ninth highest-earning Black-owned business in the United States. It operates 55 radio stations and majority-owning the syndicator Reach Media, its digital arm Interactive One, and the cable network TV One.  

Founded by Cathy Hughes, the company primarily operates media properties targeting African Americans.  At its beginnings, Hughes, a (then) recently divorced single mother, purchased the Washington, D.C. radio station WOL-AM for $995,000.  She changed the station's programming format from all music to one that examined politics and culture from an African American perspective.  After joining the company in 1985 and managing its day-to-day operations since 1993, Hughes's son, Alfred C. Liggins III, took over as CEO in 1997, with Hughes becoming the board's chairperson.  

In 2001, Radio One expanded into 22 markets, with 18 million listeners, making it the nation's largest urban-market radio broadcasting company.  Radio One reached a peak of owning 70 stations in 22 markets in 2007.  As of 2010, Hughes and her son control 90% of Radio One's voting stock.  The company is now based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  In 2018, Radio One was renamed Urban One.

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