The mantra of media maven Cathy Hughes is “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating and that education is the premise of progress.” Hughes would say that it’s important for the survival of our race and culture survival that blacks be in control our own narrative.
Hughes is at the highest level of “telling it your way, before some else gets to tell it — and possibly telling it better — their way.” In broadcasting, film and publishing, the Hughes family concentrates on telling blacks’ accurate and uplifting stories.
More blacks should start relating to Hughes’ brand of programming to blacks, because of what she does to enhance our self-image. For over 35 years, Hughes has been the leading voice speaking to and about Black America. Her business and personal challenge is to connect and communicate with black people. The epitome of a black media enthusiast, Hughes is taking advantage of new video techniques and economics as she and son gobble up the whole distribution framework.
Urban One is the largest distributor of urban content in the country. Urban One was founded by Cathy Hughes as Radio One in 1980. Over the past 40 years, Hughes and her son Alfred Liggins III, have climbed the ladder of success to be to be among the nation’s wealthiest blacks with a combined worth of $460 million. Hughes and son have emphasized emphasizes black culture. Their new company, Urban One is a $100 million-a-year firm representative of what black media could and should be. An advocate for blacks “taking care of business,” Hughes worked with and for black businesses as chair of SBA’s Advisory Council on Underserved Communities. Hughes and her properties and platforms are black-culture oriented. Urban One owns Radio One properties and Reach Media, Inc., and “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
While blacks repeal at the word “urban” but “urban content” actually images positive black. In 1949, station WDIA in Memphis, Tennessee, became first to employ an all-black on-air announcing staff. Later that year WERD in Atlanta began broadcasting as the first Black-owned radio station. But, Institutional racism and a shortage of capital still stymies blacks’ entrepreneurs investing in radio programming and broadcasting Today, radio is the leading platform that reaches blacks: 93 percent of us utilize the AM/FM airwaves, higher than TV viewership (89 percent). Radio One owns 70 radio stations in major markets. A Republican-oriented entrepreneur, Hughes’ businesses are everywhere you look. She started the TV One network in 2004. Now, TV One reaches 58 million homes as the “lifestyle and entertainment network for African-American adults.”
Some of us are mesmerized to be among whites and their culture. Blacks who tune to mainstream media for news about themselves are just plain “ignant.” Blacks that identify with their own kind, kin and issues can have the information and incentives to propel them forward. To bring continued awareness and further conversations about race and inequities, turn to Urban One’s NewsOne. NewsOne brings “Our news, our way.” Starting Monday, Sept. 11, NewsOne’s daily African-American morning news show expands to two hours and is expected to transition into “Black America Today,” a news and lifestyle show covering issues that matter to African Americans. Hosted by Managing Editor Roland S. Martin, “Black America Today” airs on NewsOne weekdays from 7-9 a.m. ET. Each morning, Martin, guest panelists and contributors cover breaking news, current affairs and entertainment, business and newsmaker profiles.
Progressive blacks are leaving “Today” and “GMA” for NewsOne, the preeminent destination for the pulse of black America, and its host Roland Martin. Under the direction of the Hughes-Liggins duo, Martin is leading a relevant conversation based on race and its differences. It’s not random; Martin was a contributor to BET’s “Lead Story.” He’s former executive editor of the Chicago Defender newspaper and hosted a morning radio talk show on WVON. .Martin was born in Houston, Texas. His maternal great-grandparents had migrated from Haiti to Louisiana.
Free your mind and the rest of you will follow. Tune into sources that help your image and turn away from that that disparages you.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.