WASHINGTON - This year marks 35 years since Radio One first began bringing news, commentary and good music to airwaves in our region. Today, it is the only African-American owned media conglomerate in the U.S. - and it's all thanks to one woman - Cathy Hughes.
Hughes bought the company in 1980 and made it what it is today. Now, her son, Alfred Liggins III, is carrying on her legacy as CEO of the company.
Liggins said his mother and stepfather started the company after both of them worked in the radio industry. He joined the company in 1985 while his mother was the morning show host. "We believed that we were the voice of the black community and that was the essence and the heart of the mission," he said.
Liggins says Radio One reaches 82 percent of black American and is in 60 million households. He said the company owns 53 radio stations and seven of the top eight black syndicated radio shows with hosts like Tom Joiner, Russ Par, Ricky Smiley, Yolanda Adams, D.L. Hughley, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Online, Liggins say they reach 20 million black users a month.
Liggins says look for his company to expand its television, radio and oline presence – as well as into the gaming business.
Having the courage to get started, he said was the biggest challenge – a challenge taken head-on by his mother. "Getting quality, capable people to come work for when you you're the small guy - in particular you're the black owned small guy - to compete against these large conglomerates - that was really difficult." But the company, he says, has moved past that stage and is now able to work with the best and brightest in the industry.
Liggins says Radio One is moving into the digital age and will continue to produce quality content for the next 35 years!