by Wanda Wickham, DBED
As founder and chairman of Radio One Inc., Cathy Hughes considers herself a leader and a survivor in the media world of communications. Starting out her career in radio as General Sales Manager of WHUR-FM, the Howard University owned radio station, she worked her way learning all facets of the media business. In 1979, Hughes founded Radio-One, with her then-husband and bought the am radio station WOL 1450 in Washington DC. After several setbacks, facing financial difficulties and subsequently losing her home, she moved into the radio station to live with her young son. Today, Hughes fortune has changed as she revamped the R&B station into a 24-hour talk radio format of success.
Today Hughes Radio One, Inc. owns 70 radio stations, employs 865 workers in nine major markets in the U.S, is publically traded company listed under the NASDAQ stock exchange. And she has launched TV One, a national and cable and satellite television network which provides “lifestyle entertainment network for African American adults.
Hughes is just one of nine Maryland firms that made Black Enterprise Magazine’s annual list of Top 100 Largest Black Businesses for 2011, ranking the State 3rd for the most companies on the list. The companies report a combined revenue of $1.5 billion and more than 2,000 employees.
Hughes ‘Media company Radio One, headquartered in Lanham, came in at 13th with $279 million in revenues and 865 employees. Among the Maryland companies topping the list is RLJ Development, an investment firm in Bethesda, which moved up to 6th from 8th in 2010 and reported revenues of $578 million and 47 employees. 1Source Consulting, an IT company in Germantown, ranked 17th with $232 million in revenues and 110 employees.
Maryland is home to more than 102,000 black-owned businesses with revenues of $6.8 billion. According to 2007 U.S. Census data, there were 5,247 black-owned firms in the State with a total payroll of $1.6 billion, employing 46,103 workers and revenue $4.6 billion and 96,884 black owned firms with no employees with revenues of $2.1 billion. In Maryland, 19.3 percent of all businesses are black owned – the second highest percentage among the nation’s 50 states, excluding the District of Columbia and Georgia where black owned firms are 20.4 percent of all firms. This compares to a national average of 7.1 percent.
At DBED, we have a number of programs that support our small and minority-owned businesses.
“One of the greatest opportunities that Maryland has is its vibrant small and minority business community, the backbone of our economy and one of the key reasons our State is coming out of the economic downturn stronger and better positioned for growth,” said Secretary Christian S. Johansson of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
“Over the past several years, we have put in place a number of key programs, like the Small Business Credit Recovery Program, Contract Connections and most recently, Invest Maryland, that will support innovation and entrepreneurship and create the kinds of companies that will sustain our economy for decades to come.”