A Harlem entrepreneur will try to defy all the odds and launch a new cable-TV network this fall, hoping to fill what she calls a gaping hole in “multicultural programming.”
UBC-TV, for Urban Broadcasting Co., is guided by CEO and President Peggy Dodson, a former jazz singer who has run a self-empowerment company for more than a decade.
Dodson says she has spent the past eight years getting the financing, assembling the support and launching the actual programming that UBC will make available in some 40 million homes, as well as all over the Internet.
“I know how difficult this can be,” says Dodson. “Just ask Miss Oprah Winfrey. It’s not for the faint of heart. But I think if you provide people with what they really want, they will find you.”
Another network aiming for an urban audience, TV One, told TV critics in Beverly Hills last week that after eight years, it is still trying to find its footing.
But TV One President Wonya Lucas also said, “The need for this type of programming is as great as it was then,” and Dodson says UBC’s ticket will be “subjects that aren’t being covered from our perspective.”
Based in Harlem, where all its shows will originate, UBC-TV will start by programming four hours a day in prime time.
Dodson says she started with $600,000 of her own money and has “angel investors” who have contributed the millions required for a startup.
“We didn’t want to rush into it,” she said. “And we didn’t want to start until we had our own content. I love ‘Jeffersons’ reruns, but that’s not the kind of network we want to be.”
She hopes to develop an early signature with “The UBC Mix Dance Show,” which she calls “a contemporary version of ‘Soul Train’ and ‘American Bandstand.’ We’ll have dancers in all shades and all colors. A year from now, I’d love to have Katy Perry.”
Other programming will include American Basketball Association games and “A Different Perspective,” a news/talk show hosted by long-time local TV and radio journalist Felipe Luciano.
The network is developing shows on style, beauty, personal finance, food, health, small business and fitness.
For distribution, she says UBC has signed deals with Time-Warner, Comcast and Dish Network for video on demand, and will be available in “most major urban centers.”
It will also be available through the Internet and social media platforms.
“We’re probably more like the CW or Bravo than BET,” she said. “But like us, most of those networks started with a limited schedule. I’d rather put on two or three good shows than 10 or 15 that are junk.”
UBC plans its formal rollout Monday at the National Black Theater.
- Satellite TV Reviews (answers.com)