Tricia Melton: I was born in Birmingham, which compared to New York, seems like a small town. It’s not that small. It’s a real city. I grew up there. I left immediately after college and went to Knoxville Tennessee, which is a smaller town than Birmingham. I ended up going to work for a really interesting media entrepreneur, a really innovated guy called Chris Whittle.
Tricia Melton: Chris Whittle was in the place based media business. Back in the day, he was he was doing crazy things like creating these campus posters, newsletters, and colleges and getting advertising for them.
Tricia Melton: He was creating like comics that went in Laundromats and getting PNG to advertise for them. His whole vision was advertising can live anywhere. Content can live anywhere. He was ahead of his time but it was all very physically placed. I went to work for him to do something that was very innovative and very controversial.
Tricia Melton: I launched a news program for high school kids called Channel One News. It was a 12,000 high school and middles schools across the country to 7.2 million kids every day. It was 10 minutes of news and 2minutes of advertising and it was completely free to the school, along with the satellite dish in the roof, the head unit and TVs for every classroom. It was paid with two minutes of commercials, think Nike, think Levis and think Pepsi because it was delivering an audience, a huge audience of teens.
Tricia Melton: This became very, very controversial because it’s in schools. Teachers unions came out swimming and it was became this very interesting debate should there be advertising in schools. It didn’t stop Whittle forged ahead. It was a tremendously a successful program.
Tricia Melton: As a matter of face, a little fun fact, Anderson Cooper got his start on Channel One. Anderson Cooper was a fact checker on Channel One, when he was twenty-two years old and then became a reporter. That was his first reporting journalistic assignment because he went to Myanmar for Channel One. Lisa Lane, also by the way got her start on Channel One.
Tricia Melton: That’s how I get my start in the media business. I was fascinated and Chris was in an incredibly dynamic media and entrepreneur that’s where I began in this crazy media world.
Tricia Melton: From there, I moved to New York, I moved to New York with Channel One. As that business continue to grow, it was eventually sold to Prime Media. At that point that I moved I branched into Cable.
Tricia Melton: Cable was in the apex of its growth. I went to Food Network when it was still a relatively young network and it had grown big enough to move from that instructional cooking channel to a network and a brand that was much more entertainment focuses, it was much more about building a brand around celebrity chefs and about the entertainment value. We moved it away from what I call, “Stir and simmer,” branding. That was also incredibly dynamic very big growth period for cable at that time.