Radio One Makes Plans to Relocate to the District

Hughes Will Donate Funds to Surrounding Community and Prospective Howard Students

Radio One Inc., the nation’s seventh largest radio broadcasting company that targets African American listeners, plans to move its headquarters from Maryland to Washington, D.C., adjacent to Howard University. The tentative agreement was recently approved by D.C. officials.The company’s spokesperson told BCV.com that they are not sure when the move will take place.

“It’s too soon to say. If we move it will not be for several years at a minimum. There are a variety of reasons for the move – including space, convenience, and economics.”

Radio One’s new location, dubbed Broadcast Center One, will be a 300,000 square-foot headquarters with transparent windows allowing passersby to view inside. There are plans to have a gigantic television screen outside the building displaying T.V. One’s daily programming. The new location will also have condos and retail stores.

Chairperson Cathy Hughes and her son, Alfred C. Liggins III are the two figureheads behind the move. Hughes began her radio career in l969 at KOWH in Nebraska. She later became a lecturer at Howard University and the general manager for the school’s radio station WHUR, where she increased sales from $300,000 to $3.5 million.

Hughes created the romantic late night radio format “The Quiet Storm,” which has been emulated in over 400 nationwide markets.Hughes founded her own company in 1980 after purchasing a small D.C. radio station (WOL-AM) for $1 million at a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fire sale.

During that time, the FCC rules permitted troubled stations like WOL to sell its company to minority buyers at a discount. Hughes received a $600,000 bank loan to operate the station during the first year. Hughes now owns 69 stations in 22 urban markets across the country with over 12 million listeners weekly.

Last year, Radio One reported a broadcasting revenue of $319 million and Hughes launched TV One, a new cable channel targeting African Americans. Hughes is the first African American woman to head a firm publicly traded on the U.S. stock exchange.

According to Radio One’s spokesperson, because of Hughes’ close ties with Howard University, if the move takes place, Radio One and developers will donate about $800,000 to the distressed urban neighborhood as a way of revitalizing it over the next 15 years. Radio One will also donate $250,000 for a scholarship program for students in the neighborhood to attend Howard.