Oprah Winfrey: A Journey From Local Television to Media Tycoon

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(Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/WPGC) - Arguably the most powerful woman in media, you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey literally came from nothing, born to a single teenage mother in the rural south. Her media career started when she took a part-time job at a local radio station during her senior year of high school.

After working her way through the ranks of local radio and television stations in Nashville, Baltimore and Chicago, she eventually managed to build a media empire that has ranked her as the richest African American of the 20th Century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history and, for a time, the world’s only black billionaire.

According to Forbes.com, she was worth $2.7 billion dollars as of September 2012.

Forbes says most of her net worth comes from the 25 years she spent as a popular daytime TV host on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which won 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before its final episode aired in 2011. However, earnings are still coming in from her Harpo production company, which is affiliated with the Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz shows.

Over the years, some say Winfrey has become one of the most influential people in America. Economists have estimated that her endorsement of Barack Obama before the Democratic primary race in 2008 may have earned him more than a million votes.

Check back all month for WPGC’s tribute to Black History Month.

99.1 WNEW’s Cheryl Simone contributed to this report

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