H Street in Washington D.C. wasn’t always known for its vibrant store fronts and electic mix of cultured professionals, celebrating life. There was a period in time when H Street was simply known as the slums, which produced more drug dealers and crack heads than thriving business owners. And then came Cathy Hughes, a single mother with a dream to build an empire.
H Street also wasn’t the most popular choice of residence for a first time business owner, but Cathy was determined to turn her dreams into reality and H Street would be her canvas. In 1980 she bought the AM radio station WOL 1450 on 4th & H Street in Washington D.C. and built the station from the ground up. It was the first of its kind; a station that would serve the African American community and deal with the problems that affected them directly. H Street, it’s flaws and all became her home, it became her family, and it became the beginning of one of the most successful careers in media anyone has ever seen. H Street also helped her build the largest African American media company in the world. They helped her keep it safe, they helped her build the bricks and they helped her turn one station into 70 stations all across the country.
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