Frederick Morton Wins Trailblazer Award as Tempo Networks Celebrates 15 Years

Frederick Morton Wins Trailblazer Award as "Tempo" Celebrates 15 Years

Frederick Morton

by Howard Campbell

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Last week, the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington DC presented Frederick Morton with its Trailblazer Award. Their acknowledgement is timely considering Tempo Networks, for which he is CEO, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Morton was born in St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. Though he earned degrees from Rutgers University and Columbia University and lives in New Jersey where Tempo is based, he says, “I have a love for the Caribbean that’s not normal.”

Concerned that Caribbean culture was not properly represented on mainstream media in the United States despite a massive immigrant population here, Morton started Tempo in 2005 while he was general counsel at MTV. Two years later, he bought the network from MTV and currently oversees a staff of 12, with contract workers in most Caribbean countries.

Speaking with South Florida Caribbean News from Trinidad and Tobago, he took his network’s latest achievement in stride.

“It’s amazing for any organization to reach that type of milestone, still be relevant and be on top of their game. We have a bright future and we hope to keep the channel focused and protected,” said Morton.

The Coronavirus has stalled Tempo’s 15th anniversary celebrations. But Morton and his team are going ahead with plans to reach out to viewers and supporters by staging a competition that sees the winner getting a trip to Grenada; they have also partnered with a Trinidadian eyewear company to give away 15 pairs of glasses.

According to Morton, “we are celebrating 15 years in the spirit of gratitude.”

He stressed that Tempo has lived up to its commitment of giving West Indians living overseas, especially North America, more than a token taste of what’s going on back home. Producers strive to keep the content from the US as Caribbean as possible.

“It’s close to 100 per cent, very rarely do we have content outside the Caribbean sphere. For example, if we are profiling a hip hop artist, it is likely that hip hop artist is from the Caribbean or has Caribbean heritage,” Morton explained.

Tracing the Caribbean roots of noted personalities raised in the US is one of Tempo’s latest projects. The hour-long Caribbean Dreams has so far done hour-long features on Yvette Noel-Schure, publicist to mega stars like Beyonce; and Trinidadian hairstylist Neal Farinah, whose clients include Nicki Minaj, Kelly Rowland and Mary J Blige.

Caribbean Dreams, Morton stated, is a synopsis of Tempo’s immediate plans.

“That’s where our head is at. If we keep that kind of programming there is an opportunity that people can be inspired to always be proud of being Caribbean,” he said.

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