Catherine Elizabeth Cathy Hughes
radio personality, executive
Birthplace: Omaha, Neb.
Born Catherine Elizabeth Woods, she attended Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha but did not graduate. Around 1969 she began working at KOWH, a black radio station in Omaha, handling various jobs, and becoming well known. Her success prompted the School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, DC, to offer her a job as lecturer. In 1973 she became sales director at WHUR-FM. Two year later she became the station's general manager, boosting sales revenue to $3.5 million from $300,000. In 1979, she and her husband, Dewey Hughes, purchased a small Washington radio station, WOL, creating Radio One. Her marriage eventually ended, and she bought her husband's share in the station. But Hughes was forced to give up her apartment and live at the station for a time in order to make ends meet. Over time, she made the station profitable, and her own talk show became a hit. By purchasing stations in other cities, the company eventually became the nation's largest black-owned radio chain. In Jan. 2004, her company launched a new cable channel, TV One, aimed at African Americans. She is the first African American woman to head a firm publicly traded on a stock exchange in the United States. She has been married twice and has one son.