An Old Company Gets a New Name – and a New Attitude

Urban One, Inc.

Urban One, Inc.


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Radio One, whose roots go back to 1979 when Cathy Hughes co-founded Almic Broadcasting, long ago outgrew that name. So what does one call a conglomerate that, in addition to radio stations and syndicated radio shows, owns a television network, some of the most popular digital sites and an interest in a casino? We learned the answer in May: Urban One.

Yashima White AziLove, the vice president for corporate communications, explained in an interview that for some time shareholders as well as members of the Radio One sales team had complained that “we were more than just radio and having a name that spoke only to our radio roots was really limiting and not giving us full credit for the multimedia organization that we had grown to become.”

When you watch Roland Martin’s daily News One Now, that’s Urban One. When you listen to The Tom Joyner Morning Show, Al Sharpton’s Keepin It Real, The Rickey Smiley Morning Show or The D. L. Hughley Show, that’s Urban One.

And after adding MadameNoire and Bossip, longtime leaders in internet traffic among black Americans, to its stable earlier this year, Urban One, through its iOne Digital division, now claims to attract 20 million unique visitors each month. Bossip is now also on the WE cable television channel on Thursday nights with its eclectic and opinionated staff dishing the latest on celebrities.

“The name ‘urban’ really does embody the spirit of the audience that we seek,” AziLove said, adding: “It’s a business classification, if you will. To say you’re in the ‘urban business’ speaks to not just African-Americans, but it speaks to all cultures and ethnicities that have embraced black culture.”

The most ambitious digital undertaking by far is the launch of a site aimed squarely at millennials and developed by one of the increasing number of former editors-in-chief of Ebony and Jet, Kierna Mayo, now a senior vice president at Urban One. The new site is called Cassius; and its editors, or “all-stars,” have come out of the gate with swagger: “Through original multimedia reporting and sharp commentary, no topic is left unturned—CASSIUS editors fear nothing and no one—we critique and joke, throw shade, and raise hell. We don’t just cover the culture, we ARE the culture. Love us or leave us alone.”

Cassius faces competition for other media products trying to attract millennials, including the aforementioned Jet.

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