The chance to live a dream, have independence and control over one’s own images, to bring cultures together, and be the future of America are the passionate missions in the hearts of the creative team behind CoLours TV, the 24/7 satellite and cable network.
The success of CoLours TV might be attributed to the mantra: ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ President and CEO Tracy Jenkins Winchester lives by this mantra and has a Norman Rockwell painting depicting it outside her office. She utilizes it to ensure her team respects each other and each others’ time, talent, contributions and skills. She feels this collective effort at CoLours TV is “something that the community can be very proud of.”
Winchester was offered the opportunity to formulate the business plan for CoLours TV in October 1999, by the nonprofit Black Star Communications. She was picked due to her background, including a doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center, management, programming and marketing experience at Jones Intercable and the Fox Family Channel in Denver, and eight years as a press and legislative aide for U.S. Congress members.
Her five-year business plan was very clear, stating, “What the industry really needs is a multicultural channel so that we can bring the voices of the other cultures together and create inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness.”
The spelling of CoLours in the station’s name is British and refers to the inclusion and diversity of the programs it broadcasts. Its current mission is to display positive and realistic images of African American, Latin, Asian, and Native American cultures, and to invest in the areas of health, education and humanitarian services related to them. CoLours TV includes coverage of Middle Eastern, Jewish and Eastern European cultures, as well.
“We all eat, drink, educate our children, listen to great music, and have things we enjoy about our own cultures that we would like to share with other cultures,” said Winchester.
CoLours TV began broadcasting locally to 120,000 subscribers on March 24, 2000, with Olympusat. It went national on Dec. 12, 2001, with EchoStar Communications on the DISH Network, which expands its reach to three to four million households. Today, CoLours TV is broadcast in approximately 17 million households. Winchester attributes her success leading CoLours TV to her detailed legal council, dedicated board, and creative staff.
Carrie L. Gomez is the production and resource development specialist, who designs the advertising, marketing, and press releases. She also assists in the shooting and designing of the graphics for programs.
“I enjoy the diverse ideas and the ability to be involved in various creative aspects. CoLours TV has taught me a lot,” said Gomez.
Damon L. Purdy, CoLours TV creative director, guarantees the broadcast quality as set by the sponsorship and production guidelines of the FCC, and is in charge of the internal and external production and editing. When he was a kid, Purdy would study movies rather than watch them. MTV sealed his interest in making videos.
“I used to tell (Executive Vice President) Arthur (Thomas) and Tracy, when I first started at CoLours TV, that I would pinch my face to see if it was a dream, because I’ve always had the itch to be different and to put out quality content. I feel that there’s a lack of people breaking the cycle and wanting to be different,” said Purdy.
Thomas the executive vice president, has managed the day-to-day operations for the last five years. His “form of energy, enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication to Colours TV” has made Winchester feel “blessed and fortunate to have him working at CoLours TV.”
He oversees the programming grid, does research for expanding the network, is involved with branding opportunities, supports Winchester on administrative projects, works with vendors and industry trade groups, and manages his own production company through which he has done some collective work with CoLours TV.
His desire for creativity, plus his 22-year career, led him to CoLours TV. He managed people, traveled the world, and worked in creative industries. He is the manager and producer for his production company, Main Man Films, founded in 2000. In 2007, he co-produced the independent feature, The Shadow Walkers, currently on DVD and distributed by Lionsgate. He directed and produced the independent film short, Prisons, and he was selected by the National Association of Television Producers and Executives as their LATV Diversity Fellow.
“I felt that my journey gave me a global perspective on a very localized process,” said Thomas of CoLours TV’s development.
CoLours TV targets the multicultural urban audience with programming including movies, documentaries, talk, lifestyle, sports, health, music, and travel, from a cultural perspective. The station can be viewed on the DISH Network’s family package (channel 9407), on Comcast Cable (channel numbers vary by area but is on channel 55 in the Denver Metro Area), and on a broadband wireless connection at www.ColoursTV.org.
Examples of current programming on CoLours TV include Asian programs through a partnership with CoLours TV Asia, ACTV in Tokyo, an Urban Tech program called Blue Gender, a Latin program called Latin Eyes, and an African-American program called Minority Health Today. Some new programs for 2008 are an original, multicultural western called Westown, a weekly news program called Outdoor News, and a weekly show called CyberNet. Future projects involve the formation of a program called Neo Soul TV, an additional channel identifier with Time Warner, and establishing a presence in Washington, D.C.