Alfred C. Liggins, III is the Chief Executive Officer of Urban One, Inc., formerly known as Radio One, and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TV One, LLC. Urban One is one of the largest diversified media companies in the United States that primarily targets Black Americans and urban consumers. Liggins is the son and business partner of Cathy Hughes, the media maven who started the company with a single radio station in 1980. His leadership has led to the company’s diversification into the cable television and digital media spaces, which positions Urban One as the largest black owned distributor of urban content in the country, reaching more than 80-percent of African Americans in the country, weekly.
Alfred Liggins had an early start in the media industry. He watched as his mother laid the groundwork for the company he now leads and became a part of this family-owned effort as a teenager. Liggins served as a board operator, on-air personality, and salesperson for Radio One before a short stint in California where he worked as a sales executive with Light Records and a production assistant for CBS Records. Liggins returned to Washington DC in 1985 and managed the sales and promotions departments of Radio One before becoming President of the company in 1989. He earned an MBA from The Wharton School in 1995 and continued to leverage his business acumen and family’s passion for serving the African American audience.
Liggins’ business savvy and the FCC’s decision to relax the rules on media ownership resulted in the growth of Radio One. Liggins seized opportunities to purchase stations in Baltimore and Washington DC and, ultimately, in major markets around the country. In 1999, he took the company public, making Radio One a NASDAQ listed company and Cathy Hughes the first African American woman to chair a publicly-traded company. He also brokered a billion-dollar deal with Clear Channel and, in 2001, bought out Blue Chip Broadcasting, thereby making Radio One the largest urban market radio company in the country.
In 2004, Liggins set his sights on a new industry, cable television. He developed TV One, a cable television network launched in partnership with Comcast, designed to provide quality programming for the African American family. A second cable television network, CLEO TV, a lifestyle and entertainment network targeting Millennial and Gen X women of color, was launched in 2019. The company continued to diversify into syndicated radio programming and online digital media. In 2005, it acquired a controlling interest in Reach Media, Inc., which operates nationally syndicated radio programming, including the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, the Russ Parr Morning Show, and the DL Hughley Show. In 2007, iOne Digital, a collection of digital platforms providing the African American community with social, news, and entertainment content across numerous branded websites, including Cassius, Bossip, and HipHopWired, was launched. One Solution, the company’s award-winning, fully integrated advertising division, was launched in 2008, and Urban One became a minority owner in MGM National Harbor, a gaming resort that opened in December 2016 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 2017, Radio One, Inc. was renamed Urban One, Inc. to better reflect the company’s multi-media operations; however, Radio One remains the brand of the radio division and all of its radio assets.
Liggins has won numerous awards and recognitions across his career, including induction into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, Radio Ink’s 40 Most Powerful People in Radio Award in 2016 and 2019, and the T. Howard Foundation’s Executive Champion Award in 2017. He is a member of several boards, including the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), where he also serves as Radio Board’s major group representative and National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA).