You can see his face shining bright when he talks about the Caribbean. Frederick A. Morton, Jr. believes it to be the earth’s last Eden. And why not? Ask anyone who has been to this region, and they will tell you why this land is nothing short of paradise on earth. The Caribbean is blessed with umpteen things, but its natural and cultural treasures give the region its true and unique identity. However, many weren’t mindful of that until Frederick stepped in to take regional promotion to the next level.
It is an unfathomable fact that the Caribbean remained off the screens for decades in the mainstream media despite the potential it possessed. It could’ve been the sleepy ways of those at the helm of affairs in the region, or maybe the international media was busy inventing new trends and capturing the wars currently raging in the world. Whatever it was, the Caribbean was not really focused upon like it should’ve been by all the stakeholders.
But while others weren’t doing their job, Frederick, a school-going kid then, dreamed about a television channel that would capture the aspects of Caribbean society that he loved but remained in the peripheries of media. Growing up in St. Croix and having his parents from Nevis, traveling between the two islands were part of his life. This routine expedition gave him tremendous exposure to the heart of Caribbean culture. And that’s what later influenced many decisions in his life.
Frederick had a knack for theater which hasn’t waned to date. The love for arts and the unfair underrepresentation and negation of Caribbean society forced him to choose a different course of life when he had achieved everything one could possibly dream of. He was an accomplished attorney and could have had an incredible career in the national judiciary had he chosen to continue practicing the law.
However, when in 2000, he started working with MTV as Senior Vice President and head of the litigation department, his childhood dream of having a channel specially dedicated to capturing what he calls the ‘earth’s last Eden’ manifested.
And then, Frederick didn’t think twice about pursuing it. He knew what he had to do, and the timing was perfect. He was out with Tom Freston, then President and one of the founders of MTV and an icon in the entertainment industry. It was 2003, and they were having lunch in Times Square, New York. Before the ordered dishes could be served at the table, Frederick served Tom Freston an idea of MTV launching a channel focused on the Caribbean. He tabled all the planning, architecture, mental labor, and brainstorming he had done on his side.
Tom was astonished to see the glittering love and hope for the Caribbean on his face. He was thrilled by the idea, but it took Frederick two more years before finally watching his dream transform into reality. TEMPO Networks was founded in 2005, which Frederick later bought from MTV in 2007 via a management buy-out.
TEMPO Networks is set on a mission that Frederick envisioned as a child. The channel has brought many unknown and undiscovered aspects of the Caribbean lifestyle to the world. Thanks to Frederick and his indefatigable determination, the full breadth of earth’s last Eden is becoming less and less of a secret to the world.