Radio One (company)

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For any of the numerous radio stations with the name Radio One, see Radio 1.
Radio One, Inc.
Type Public
Industry Entertainment
Founded 1980
Headquarters Silver Spring, MD
Key people Catherine Hughes, Chairperson and Founder
Alfred C. Liggins III, President & CEO
Products radio

Radio One, Inc is a U.S. company which owns and operates 69 radio stations in 22 American cities. The largest African-American-owned broadcasting company in the U.S., Radio One is headed by Cathy Hughes, Chairman and her son Alfred Liggins, CEO. The company's target listeners are African Americans in urban areas. Radio One also owns a 51% interest in TV One, a cable and satellite TV network begun in early 2004 in partnership with Comcast and a handful of investors (including DirecTV, which added the network to its lineup and became a minority shareholder in January 2005). It also acquired BlackPlanet, the African American social networking site as part of Community Connect in 2008. As with other large radio broadcasting companies, Radio One has a strategy of acquiring stations in a given market and making sudden format changes they believe will be profitable. Radio One tends to favor urban-based formats targeting African American listeners, and makes format changes to target their demographic. One example of this occurred when Radio One acquired country radio station WCAV, near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1999, and transformed the station into WBOT, "Hot 97.7," with an Urban format.[1] The station was subsequently resold a short time later and transformed to a hard rock format, much to the ridicule of the local African American community.[2]

Acquiring stations[edit]

In 1996, Radio One acquired Philadelphia station 103.9 WDRE, and changed the format from Modern Rock to Rhythmic CHR as "Philly 103.9," WPHI, which was later renamed "103.9 The Beat." The airstaff of WDRE was released, and much of the airstaff found jobs with the city's other Modern Rock station, 100.3 WPLY which was known as "Y-100". Not long after, Radio One acquired "Y-100", and left the station alone for many years. This is believed to have been because the station received good Arbitron ratings and made a decent amount of revenue annually. However, upon the announcement that WPLY's popular morning show, Preston and Steve, was moving to another Philadelphia station, WMMR, Radio One decided to convert the station to an urban format. Subsequently, the format of WPHI, moved to the more powerful 100.3 signal, and Radio One launched an urban contemporary gospel format on the weak 103.9 signal, to be known as "Praise 103.9," WPPZ.

In 1999, Radio One entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with KJI Broadcasting, LLC to acquire all of the assets of radio station WCAV-FM, licensed to Brockton, Massachusetts, for approximately $10 million. This acquisition was the Company's first in the Metropolitan Boston radio market, which is the country's 8th largest radio market. [3]

In 2002, Radio One entered the Dayton, Ohio market with WDHT 102.9 after changing the format from Classic Rock to Rhythmic and Hip Hop urban format, sparking a competition against the previous station 92.1 WROU in ratings. After numerous attempts to keep WROU running in the format of urban, it was soon acquired by Radio One and change its format into Rhythmic CHR and R & B. There were petitions to keep the radio station in the previous format, but as of today the station still operates under the current format.


In the mid-2000s, Radio One began to consider selling non-core stations, stations that don't target African Americans or those in very small black markets (such as Augusta, Georgia where four stations were sold). The first case of this happened on August 22, 2006, when Radio One announced it would divest WILD-FM in Boston, the WILD for now is still owned by RO; however, it too will be divested. On May 18, 2007, Radio One also divested its Louisville and Dayton clusters which included various stations such as WDJX and WLRS and WGTZ among others, citing the low percentage of African Americans in both cities as well as the amount of Non Urban stations. In 2008, the company sold KRBV in Los Angeles.

Accounting Problems[edit]

On March 19, 2007, the NASDAQ Stock Market informed Radio One that it could face delisting from trading for failure to file its 2006 10-K annual report with the SEC.[1] [2] The company had previously announced it would delay issuing its annual report due to accounting issues concerning backdated stock options, subject of an informal SEC Inquiry.[3]


As of 2014, Radio One operates 55 radio stations in 16 markets.[4] The stations and markets are listed below in alphabetical order: NOTE: listed by city in alphabetical order

Market Station and Frequency Owned since Format Notes
Atlanta WAMJ 107.5 FM 1998 Urban adult contemporary
WHTA 107.9 FM 2001 Mainstream urban
WPZE 102.5 FM 2004 Urban gospel Has LP simulcast on W275BK 102.9 FM
WUMJ 97.5 FM 1995 Urban adult contemporary Simulcast of WAMJ
Baltimore WERQ 92.3 FM 1993 Mainstream urban
WOLB 1010 AM News/Talk
WWIN 1400 AM Urban gospel
WWIN 95.9 FM 1992 Urban adult contemporary
Boston WILD 1090 AM 2000 Brokered talk LMA agreement with China Radio International since 2011
Charlotte WOSF 105.3 FM 2012 Urban oldies
WPZS 92.7 FM Urban gospel
WQNC 100.9 FM 2004 Urban gospel Simulcast of WPZS
Cincinnati WOSL 100.3 FM 2006 Urban Oldies
WDBZ 1230 AM 2007 Talk/Urban gospel
WIZF 101.1 FM Urban contemporary
Cleveland WENZ 107.9 FM 1999 Mainstream urban
WERE 1490 AM 2000 News/Talk
WJMO 1300 AM 1999 Urban gospel
WZAK 93.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary
Columbus, Ohio WCKX 107.5 FM Rhythmic contemporary
WXMG 106.3 FM late 1990s Urban adult contemporary
Dallas/Fort Worth KBFB 97.9 FM 2000 Rhythmic contemporary
KSOC 94.5 FM 2002 Urban oldies
Detroit WCHB 1200 AM 1998 News/Talk Has LP simulcast on W260CB 99.9 FM
WDMK 105.9 FM 1998 Urban adult contemporary
WPZR 102.7 FM 1999 Urban gospel
WGPR 107.5 FM 2011* Mainstream urban *Under LMA with International Free and Accepted Modern Masons
Houston KBXX 97.9 FM 2000 Rhythmic contemporary
KMJQ 102.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary Operates an urban gospel format on KMJQ-HD2
KROI 92.1 FM 2004 News
Indianapolis WHHH 96.3 FM Rhythmic contemporary
WNOW-FM 100.9 FM CHR/Top 40
WTLC 1310 AM 2001 Urban gospel
WTLC-FM 106.7 FM 2001 Urban adult contemporary
Philadelphia WPHI 107.9 FM 2000 Urban contemporary
WPPZ 103.9 FM 1996 Urban gospel
WRNB 100.3 FM 2001 Urban adult contemporary
Raleigh/Durham WFXC 107.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary both WFXC and WFXK are simulcasts
WFXK 104.3 FM
WNNL 103.9 FM 2000 Urban gospel
WQOK 97.5 FM 2000 Mainstream urban
Richmond, Virginia WCDX 92.1 FM Mainstream urban
WKJM 99.3 FM Urban adult contemporary both WKJM and WKJS are simulcasts
WKJS 105.7 FM
WPZZ 104.7 FM 1999 Urban gospel
WTPS 1240 AM late 1990's News/Talk
St. Louis WFUN 95.5 FM 1999 Urban oldies
WHHL 104.1 FM 2005 Mainstream urban
Washington, DC WKYS 93.9 FM early 1990's (?) Urban contemporary
WMMJ 102.3 FM 1987 Urban adult contemporary
WOL 1450 AM 1980 News/Talk First property of Radio One and its flagship
WPRS 104.1 FM 2006 Urban gospel
WYCB 1340 AM Urban gospel

Other properties[edit]

The Radio One family of properties also includes:

  • One Solution and Reach Media, both concerned with marketing initiatives aimed at the African American community,[5]
  • Interactive One, including the online platforms,,, and,[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]