Cathy Hughes, Urban One’s renowned founder and chairperson, and Alfred Liggins III, CEO of Urban One and TV One, were inducted into the Cablefax Cable Center Hall of Fame earlier this week.
Every year Cablefax — a media company and community for cable, broadcast and digital professionals — selects pioneers and change-makers who have had a significant impact on the cable industry. And this year Hughes and Liggins are being honored for their work in diversifying cable television.
The mother and son combination has made Urban One arguably the most successful Black-owned media company in history. Starting in radio, the duo has since branched out into television success by launching TV One in 2004 and CLEO TV in 2019.
“I don’t know life without radio. It’s been a constant in my life because it was my mom’s dream to provide an opportunity for Black people to have our own voice and tell our own stories,” Liggins said in a Q&A with Cablefax. “She sacrificed and put everything she had into her business. I grew up walking the hallways of WHUR at Howard University, being babysat by staff, attending events with my mom, and watching her carve her own path in what has always been a male-dominated world.”
Liggins, who took over the role as CEO in 1997 from Hughes and helped push the company to what it is today, reflected on the work his mother put in to create the foundation for the company to propel them to where they are today.
“As a child, I didn’t realize the foundation she was laying for Radio One and Urban One to become what it is today-to provide a voice and be of service to the African American community; it was just normal life for me,“ said Liggins.
“My mom started this company and provided me with an opportunity to lead it. She trusted my instinct to move into cable as a means of diversifying our company and extending her vision. To see how our company has grown from its humble beginning in radio in the ’80s to where we are today validates the fact that diversifying our business was the right choice. I’m grateful our collective ideas and passions have allowed us to have a place in these industries and enabled us to be of greater service to the Black community.”
With Hughes’ vision and grit and Liggins’ progressive thinking to move the company into the future, the two have created a space that speaks to the African American community.
The two brought the company to new heights and are continuing to serve a demographic that has a significant impact on American culture.
Urban One is the parent company of iOne Digital, under which NewsOne is operated.