Urban One

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Urban One, Inc.
FormerlyRadio One, Inc. (1980–2017)
Company typePublic
IndustryBroadcasting, Media
FounderCathy Hughes
Headquarters1010 Wayne Avenue, ,
Area served
United States
Key people
Cathy Hughes
Alfred C. Liggins III
(President & CEO)
RevenueDecrease US$ 441.4 million (2014)
Increase US$ 77.2 million (2014)
Increase US$ -42.7 million (2014)
Total assetsDecrease US$ 1.4 billion (2014)
Total equityDecrease US$ 18.9 million (2014)
Number of employees
1,011 (2015)
DivisionsReach Media
TV One
Interactive One
Footnotes / references

Urban One, Inc. (formerly Radio One) is a Silver Spring, Maryland-based American media conglomerate. Founded in 1980 by Cathy Hughes, the company primarily operates media properties targeting African Americans. It is the largest African-American-owned broadcasting company in the United States, operating 55 radio stations and majority-owning the syndicator Reach Media, as well as its digital arm Interactive One, and the cable network TV One.[6]

As of 2014, it was the ninth-highest-earning African-American-owned business in the United States.[7]


Urban One was founded as Radio One in 1980 by Cathy Hughes, a then-recently divorced single mother, with the purchase of the Washington, D.C. radio station WOL-AM for $995,000.[8][9][10] She changed the station's programming format from all-music to one that examined politics and culture from an African American perspective.[8] Hughes purchased her second station, WMMJ in Washington, seven years later, which began to turn a profit once she converted it into a rhythm and blues station.[9] This established Radio One's early strategy of purchasing small, underperforming radio stations in urban markets and refocusing them to serve the demographics of their communities.[9]

After joining the company in 1985 and managing its day-to-day operations since 1993, Hughes's son, Alfred C. Liggins III, took over as CEO in 1997, with Hughes becoming the board's chairperson.[9][11][12] Under the guidance of recently appointed CEO Liggins, Radio One went public on May 6, 1999, while continuing to be controlled by the family.[13][14] The company's initial public offering was for 6.5 million shares at $24 per share.[12] This made Hughes the first African American woman to chair a public company.[8][11] As of 2010, Hughes and Liggins control 90% of Radio One's voting stock.[15]

In 2001, Radio One expanded into 22 markets, with 18 million listeners, making it the nation's largest urban-market radio broadcasting company.[14] Radio One reached a peak of owning 70 stations in 22 markets in 2007.[16] It is the largest African-American-owned-and-operated broadcast company in the US.[11][17]

Radio One logo and slogan used until May 8, 2017.

In 1996, Radio One moved its corporate offices from Washington, D.C., to Lanham, Maryland.[18] The company is now based in Silver Spring, Maryland.[8][19]

On May 8, 2017, Radio One was renamed Urban One.[20] Radio One would be retained as the company's secondary name, and as a name for its radio division.


TV One[edit]

In January 2003, Radio One and Comcast announced an agreement to a joint venture to create a television network aimed at African Americans aged 25 to 54.[21] On January 19, 2004, on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Radio One launched the television station TV One, airing African American entertainment, lifestyle and scripted shows, in 2.2 million households.[6][15][22] Liggins serves as chairman of TV One.[15] Brad Siegel was hired as president of TV One in late 2014.[23]

By the end of 2007, TV One was in 42.2 million homes.[6] In 2011, Comcast and NBCUniversal merged, with all Comcast cable holdings subsequently managed by NBCUniversal. Also in 2011, Radio One's ownership stake in TV One grew from 36.8% to 50.8%.[24] In 2012, TV One changed its programming, doubling the amount of original content, and changing the logo, while keeping its target audience. As of 2012, TV One reaches 57.4 million US homes.[25]

In March 2015, Radio One announced a deal to buy out Comcast's 47.9% share of TV One for $550 million. To assist with the deal, Radio One refinanced $119 million in outstanding debt, and will ultimately refinance debt totaling approximately $1 billion.[26]

Interactive One[edit]

In 2008, Radio One launched Interactive One, also known as iOne, an online portfolio of digital brands, to complement their other media companies. Interactive One operates numerous digital brands, including NewsOne, The Urban Daily and Hello Beautiful.[27][28] In 2011, Interactive One entered into an editorial and sales partnership with NBC News, aligning NewsOne with NBC's The Grio.[29] As of 2013, Interactive One also has a partnership with Global Grind, a website founded by Russell Simmons and focused on pop culture and music content for African American and Hispanic audiences.[30] In 2015, Interactive One launched HB Studios, a video production studio focused on creating scripted and unscripted programming about women and the diversity of their experiences. The programming will be featured on the iOne Women Channel, HelloBeautiful.com, YouTube and Facebook.[31][32] NewsOne curates and retells news from other sources for an African-American audience.[33]

As of 2011, Interactive was the largest network of owned and operated sites aimed at an African-American audience.[34] As of 2014, Interactive One reaches over 18 million unique monthly users on its platform through over 80 national and local brands.[35]


Radio stations[edit]

In 1995, Radio One purchased WKYS-FM in Washington, D.C., for $34 million, and also entered the Atlanta market by purchasing WHAT-FM for $4.5 million.[18] In 1997, the company entered the Philadelphia market with its purchase of WPHI-FM for $20 million. The company added numerous stations in the second half of the 1990s, including stations in Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Cleveland, Richmond, San Francisco, Detroit and Boston.[13][18][36]

In 2000, Radio One purchased 12 stations for approximately $1.3 billion from Clear Channel, bringing Radio One into Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Miami, along with stations in Cleveland and Greenville, South Carolina. Soon after, Radio One added two more Dallas stations.[9][18][37] In total, the company added 21 radio stations in 2000.[18]

In February 2001, Radio One purchased rival company Blue Chip Broadcasting for approximately $135 million ($45 million cash with the remainder in stock). The purchase included 15 radio stations owned and operated by Cincinnati-based Blue Chip in Ohio, Minnesota and Kentucky. Earlier that month, Radio One had also purchased another Dallas radio station for $52.5 million.[38] In June 2001, Radio One purchased Georgia radio station WPEZ-FM from US Broadcasting for $55 million.[39]

In 2004, Radio One purchased KRTS-FM in Houston for approximately $72.5 million in cash, giving it three stations in the Houston market.[40] Also in 2004, Radio One purchased country station WSNJ in Bridgeton, New Jersey, for $35 million. It had been on the air since 1937 and family-owned by the Ed and Katherine Bold family for over 50 years.[41]

In 2011, Radio One changed stations in Houston, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, from African American to general interest formats, due to low ratings.[42] In May 2018, they purchased Washington, D.C. sports station "The Team 980" WTEM from Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting.[43]

In April 2023, it was announced that Radio One would acquire the Houston radio cluster of Cox Media Group. [44] This, at the time of the sale, would have resulted in Urban One being over FCC ownership limits, forcing the divestitures of 2 stations in the combined cluster; the stations to be sold were later determined by the two companies to be KROI and Cox's KTHT, which would be placed into the temporary Sugarland Station Trust divestiture trust, overseen by Scott Knoblauch. It was reported that Urban was already in the process of negotiations for KROI with a "minority-owned" broadcaster marking their entry into the market; on April 20, it was announced said broadcaster was Spanish Broadcasting System, who would ultimately buy the station for $7.5 million.[44][45]

Reach Media[edit]

In November 2004, Radio One acquired a 53% stake in Reach Media, a Texas-based media company owned by radio host Tom Joyner, for $56.1 million in cash and stock.[46][47] The deal also gave Radio One ownership rights to Joyner's syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, which was at the time airing on 115 stations to 8 million listeners; and news website BlackAmericaWeb.com, which had at the time approximately 800,000 members, giving Radio One its first strong Internet presence.[47]

In 2005, Radio One teamed up with Reach Media to launch a new African-American-centered talk radio network, with programming hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton, to be broadcast on up to 10 of Radio One's stations, as well as stations owned by other companies.[13] In December 2012, under a new deal, Radio One increased its ownership stake in Reach Media to 80%.[48] That same month, Radio One announced that the following year, it would merge its Syndication One urban programming lineup with Reach Media.[49][50]


In January 2007, Radio One purchased GIANT magazine for $275,000.[51][52] In December 2009, the company suspended publication of the print version of the bi-monthly magazine, relaunching it online as GIANTLife.com. The website is a part of the Interactive One network.[53]


In 2008, Radio One acquired social networking firm Community Connect, the parent company of BlackPlanet, AsianAvenue and MiGente, for $38 million. BlackPlanet at the time had 20 million members and was the nation's fourth-most visited social networking site.[54]


From 2006 through the beginning of 2008, Radio One sold nearly $150 million in assets, primarily underperforming radio stations.[52] In 2007, Radio One sold ten stations to Main Line Broadcasting for approximately $76 million in cash. The stations sold were in Radio One's markets with the smallest African American populations. The sale decreased the number of Radio One's stations from 71 to 61.[55]


Radio One operates a variety of syndicated shows, with hosts including Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Erica Campbell, Bishop T. D. Jakes, D. L. Hughley, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Ralph Tresvant.[56]


As of May 2023, Urban One's Radio One division operates 58 radio stations in 13 markets.[57]

Market Station and Frequency Owned since Format Notes
Atlanta WAMJ 107.5 FM 1998 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Roswell, Georgia
WHTA 107.9 FM 2001 Urban contemporary Licensed to Hampton, Georgia
WPZE 102.5 FM 2004 Urban gospel Licensed to Mableton, Georgia
WUMJ 97.5 FM 1995 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Fayetteville, Georgia
Baltimore WERQ-FM 92.3 FM 1993 Urban contemporary
WOLB 1010 AM Urban talk
WWIN 1400 AM Urban gospel
WWIN-FM 95.9 FM 1992 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Glen Burnie, Maryland
Charlotte WOSF 105.3 FM 2012 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Gaffney, South Carolina
WLNK 107.9 FM 2020 Adult contemporary
WPZS 100.9 FM 2004 Urban gospel Licensed to Indian Trail, North Carolina
WBT-FM 99.3 FM 2020 News/Talk Licensed to Chester, South Carolina
WBT 1110 AM 2020 News/Talk
WFNZ-FM 92.7 FM 1998 Sports Licensed to Harrisburg, North Carolina
WFNZ 610 AM 2020 Urban contemporary
Cincinnati WOSL 100.3 FM 2006 Urban oldies-leaning urban adult contemporary Licensed to Norwood, Ohio
WDBZ 1230 AM 2007 Urban talk/urban contemporary
WIZF 101.1 FM 1998 Mainstream urban Licensed to Erlanger, Kentucky
Cleveland WENZ 107.9 FM 1999 Mainstream urban
WERE 1490 AM 2000 Talk radio
WJMO 1300 AM 1999 Urban gospel
WZAK 93.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary
Columbus, Ohio WCKX 107.5 FM Urban contemporary
WJYD 107.1 FM 2015 Urban gospel Licensed to Circleville, Ohio
WHTD 106.3 FM late 1990s Urban contemporary (simulcasts WCKX) Licensed to London, Ohio
WXMG 95.5 FM 2015 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Lancaster, Ohio
WWLG 102.5 FM 2020 Regional Mexican/Spanish-language Licensed to Baltimore, Ohio
Dallas/Fort Worth KBFB 97.9 FM 2000 Urban contemporary
KZMJ 94.5 FM 2002 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Gainesville, Texas
Houston KBXX 97.9 FM 2000 Rhythmic contemporary
KGLK 107.5 FM 2023 Classic rock both KGLK and KHPT are simulcasts. KGLK is licensed to Lake Jackson, Texas; KHPT is licensed to Conroe, Texas
KHPT 106.9 FM
KKBQ 92.9 FM 2023 Country Licensed to Pasadena, Texas
KMJQ 102.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary Operates an urban gospel format on KMJQ-HD2
WHHH 100.9 FM Urban contemporary Licensed to Speedway, Indiana
WTLC 1310 AM 2001 Urban gospel
WTLC-FM 106.7 FM 2001 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Greenwood, Indiana
WIBC 93.1 FM 2022 News/Talk
WLHK 97.1 FM 2022 Country Licensed to Shelbyville, Indiana
WYXB 105.7 FM 2022 Adult contemporary
WPPZ-FM 107.9 FM 2000 Urban oldies Licensed to Pennsauken, New Jersey
WRNB 100.3 FM 2001 Urban adult contemporary Licensed to Media, Pennsylvania
Raleigh/Durham WFXC 107.1 FM 2000 Urban adult contemporary both WFXC and WFXK are simulcasts. WFXC is licensed to Durham, North Carolina; WFXK is licensed to Bunn, North Carolina
WFXK 104.3 FM
WNNL 103.9 FM 2000 Urban gospel Licensed to Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
WQOK 97.5 FM 2000 Urban contemporary Licensed to Carrboro, North Carolina
Richmond, Virginia WCDX 92.1 FM Urban contemporary Licensed to Mechanicsville, Virginia
WKJM 99.3 FM Urban adult contemporary both WKJM and WKJS are simulcasts. WKJM is licensed to Petersburg, Virginia
WKJS 105.7 FM
WPZZ 104.7 FM 1999 Urban gospel Licensed to Crewe, Virginia
WXGI 950 AM 2017 Classic hip hop both WXGI and WTPS are simulcasts. WTPS is licensed to Petersburg, Virginia
WTPS 1240 AM 2017
Washington, D.C. WKYS 93.9 FM early 1990s (?) Urban contemporary
WMMJ 102.3 FM 1987 Urban oldies-leaning urban adult contemporary Both WMMJ and WDCJ are simulcasts. WMMJ is licensed to Bethesda, Maryland; WDCJ is licensed to Prince Frederick, Maryland
WDCJ 92.7 FM 2017
WOL 1450 AM 1980 Urban talk First property of Radio One and its flagship
WPRS-FM 104.1 FM 2006 Urban gospel Licensed to Waldorf, Maryland
WYCB 1340 AM 1996 Urban Gospel


Year Event
1980 Radio One founded by Cathy Hughes.[8]
1997 Alfred C. Liggins III succeeds Hughes as president and CEO.[9]
1999 Goes public on NASDAQ, trading as ROIA (later changed to ROIAK).[8]
2000 Acquires 12 Clear Channel stations.[18]
2004 TV One launched in joint venture with Comcast.[8]
Purchases a majority stake in Reach Media.[46]
2008 Launches Interactive One.[27]
Acquires social networking firm Community Connect.[54]
2015 Announces deal to buy out Comcast's share of TV One.[26]
2017 Unveils major corporate rebrand as Urban One. NASDAQ, trading as ROIAK (later changed to UONE/UONEK).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RadioOne changes name to reflect identity as 'multimedia entity'". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  2. ^ "ROIA:US". Bloomberg News. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  3. ^ Radio One Inc. Income Statement, Yahoo! Finance. Accessed June 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Radio One Inc. Balance Sheet, Yahoo! Finance. Accessed June 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Radio One Inc. Profile, Yahoo! Finance. Accessed June 16, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Felicia R. Lee, "A Network for Blacks With Sense of Mission", The New York Times, December 11, 2007.
  7. ^ "BE 100's 2014". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Steven Overly, "With purchase of radio station WOL in 1980, Cathy Hughes launched a media empire", The Washington Post, August 11, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Clea Simon, "Mining an Untapped Market, Radio One Becomes a Force", The New York Times, December 25, 2000.
  10. ^ Chandrani Ghosh, "The Comeback Queen", Forbes, September 20, 1999.
  11. ^ a b c Jessie Carney Smith, ed., Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2003, pp. 63-64.
  12. ^ a b Robyn D. Clarke, "High-Frequency Profits", Black Enterprise, June 2000.
  13. ^ a b c Clea Simon, "WILD to air new African-American talk-radio network", Boston Globe, October 29, 2005.
  14. ^ a b "Radio One's Number One", Wharton Alumni Magazine, Spring 2007.
  15. ^ a b c Joe Flint, "Latest protestor of Comcast – NBC deal plays race card and has ex-FCC chairman on board", Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2010.
  16. ^ Gail Mitchell, "Q&A: Cathy Hughes", Billboard, December 3, 2005, p. 25.
  17. ^ Janean Chun, "Cathy Hughes, Radio One: From Teen Mom to Media Mogul", Huffington Post, September 26, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Radio One, Inc. History", Funding Universe. Accessed October 26, 2014.
  19. ^ "Radio One moving HQ to Silver Spring, MD | Radio & Television Business Report".
  20. ^ "Radio One Changes Name To Urban One". All Access. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  21. ^ Seth Schiesel, "Comcast and Radio One in TV Joint Venture", The New York Times, January 13, 2003.
  22. ^ Rob Owen, "Tuned In: TV One aims to be BET for grown-ups", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 12, 2006.
  23. ^ "Brad Siegel Named TV One President", Deadline Hollywood, December 17, 2014.
  24. ^ Wayne Barrett, "Al Sharpton's Radio Power Play", The Daily Beast, July 28, 2011.
  25. ^ Sijie Wang, "TV One Rebrands Around Storytelling", The Hollywood Reporter, June 20, 2012.
  26. ^ a b "Radio One Gears Up for TV One Deal", Inside Radio, March 20, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Nicholas Carlson, "Former AOL Entertainment Boss Mike Rich Goes To Interactive One", Business Insider, July 9, 2010.
  28. ^ C. Daniel Baker, "Interactive One Studios Adds Russell Simmons' GlobalGrind.com to its Roster", Black Enterprise, April 15, 2013.
  29. ^ Tanzina Vega, "Black News In New Focus", The New York Times, July 11, 2011.
  30. ^ William Launder, "Digital Marketer Links Up With Russell Simmons", The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2013.
  31. ^ Todd Spangler, "Interactive One Launches Digital Studio to Produce Series for Women of Color", Variety, February 11, 2015.
  32. ^ Jessica Klein, "Interactive One Will Launch HB Studios with Doc 'Women of Color'", Video Ink, February 11, 2015.
  33. ^ "Brands: NewsOne". iOne Digital. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  34. ^ Matthew Flamm, "Urban websites face off", Crain's New York Business, June 12, 2011.
  35. ^ "Interactive One Launches Elev8, a New Site Devoted to Uplifting", PR Newswire, October 27, 2013.
  36. ^ "Radio One to Acquire Another Philadelphia Station", The New York Times, December 4, 1999.
  37. ^ "Radio One to Buy 12 Clear Channel Stations", The New York Times, March 14, 2000.
  38. ^ "Radio One Buying Rival Blue Chip Broadcasting", The New York Times, February 9, 2001.
  39. ^ "Radio Broadcaster for Black Listeners to Buy Station", The New York Times, June 27, 2001.
  40. ^ "Radio One Acquires Third Station in Houston Market", The New York Times, May 25, 2004.
  41. ^ G. Patrick Pawling, "Vintage Radio, Down to Farm Reports and School Menus, Is Signing Off", The New York Times, February 1, 2004.
  42. ^ Ben Sisario, "A Radio Merger in New York Reflects a Shifting Industry", The New York Times, April 29, 2012.
  43. ^ "Urban One Buys WTEM (The Team 980)/Washington". All Access.
  44. ^ a b "Radio One/Cox Sale Price & Divestitures Filed - RadioInsight". April 14, 2023.
  45. ^ "SBS To Acquire Praise 92.1 Houston - RadioInsight". April 21, 2023.
  46. ^ a b "Radio One to boost Joyner", Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2004.
  47. ^ a b Andrea K. Walker, "Radio One to acquire Joyner company", Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2004.
  48. ^ Ann Brown, "Radio Play: Radio One Increases Investment in Tom Joyner's Reach Media", Madame Noire, December 5, 2012.
  49. ^ "Syndication One To Consolidate With Reach Media", All Access, December 3, 2012.
  50. ^ "Alfred Liggins and David Kantor On The Radio One Reach Media Merger", The Urban Daily, March 20, 2013.
  51. ^ "Radio One Picks Up Giant Magazine", The New York Times, January 4, 2007.
  52. ^ a b Anita Huslin, "Radio One's Losses Grow, Stock Declines", The Washington Post, February 22, 2008.
  53. ^ Amanda Ernst, "Giant Magazine Suspends Publication, Moves To Web", Mediabistro, November 30, 2009.
  54. ^ a b Dan Frommer, "BlackPlanet Parent Community Connect Sells To Radio One For $38 Million", Business Insider, April 11, 2008.
  55. ^ Jeff Clabaugh, "Arlington Capital Partners buys 10 Radio One stations", Washington Business Journal, May 18, 2007.
  56. ^ "Reaching Our Audience Wherever They Are", radio-one.com. Accessed October 26, 2014.
  57. ^ Radio One, radio-one.com. Accessed October 26, 2014.

External links[edit]