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Media pioneer named to Creighton’s Board of Trustees

CCatherine L. Hughesatherine L. Hughes, an Omaha native and owner, co-founder and executive chairwoman of Urban One – the nation’s largest distributor of radio, TV and digital programming for Black audiences – has been named to Creighton University’s Board of Trustees.

“I am thrilled to welcome Catherine Hughes to our Board of Trustees,” said Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “She will provide great perspective and insight at this important level of Creighton governance, and I am looking forward to working with her. Not only is she a highly successful entrepreneur and business executive, but her connections to Omaha and Creighton run deep.”

Hughes is a graduate of Duchesne Academy in Omaha and attended both the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) and Creighton University. Her father, William Alfred Woods, was the first African American to graduate with a degree in accounting from Creighton.

She was drawn to broadcasting when she volunteered at KOWH, a newly formed radio station that found its primary audience in historically African American North Omaha. Hughes bought her first radio station in Washington, D.C., in 1980, and worked as a morning show host while growing her company, Radio One (now Urban One), into a national radio market leader.

In 1995, Hughes became the first woman owner of a No. 1-ranked major market radio station, and in 1999 she became the first African American woman to chair a publicly held corporation when Radio One held its initial public offering. Today, Urban One owns more than 60 radio stations and is a market leader across several media channels.

She was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University is named in her honor. In 2006, Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in business.

Creighton awarded Hughes an honorary degree in 2006, and in 2018 the Johnny Rodgers Foundation and the City of Omaha named a North Omaha boulevard in her honor and she was recognized as the Omaha Press Club’s 157th “Face on the Barroom Floor.”

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