A well-qualified, highly experienced, utterly professional, and people-oriented person – If Frederick A. Morton, Jr. was to be explained in a few adjectives, it would be these. From growing up on Hill Street in Christiansted to founding the landmark Caribbean television network, TEMPO, he has come a long way. Today, he is not only lauded by the Caribbean for his contributions to the region but also by those who he helped as a corporate attorney.
And what an attorney he was! Throughout his legal career, there was rarely a battle he lost. Seeing his caliber in legal affairs, many fortune 500 companies knocked at his door. And to their utter pleasure, Frederick never fell short of expectations. He delivered in legal battles then, and he is delivering now in studios, managing the ground-breaking television network he founded.
Frederick went to Manor and Seventh-day Adventist school in St. Croix for his primary education. After that, he attended St. Joseph’s High School for secondary education. However, to further his studies, he moved to the mainland and landed at Rutgers University, where he earned a degree in economics. Thereafter, he obtained a doctorate in Law from the same university and moved to New York for a master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University.
Having done with all academic ventures, Frederick spent the next few years working with a prestigious New York Law firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and representing other Fortune 500 companies. Then he headed the department of litigation for Johnson & Johnson and Viacom Inc. before joining MTV as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel.
After working for two years at MTV, he came up with an idea for a television network that would specifically capture the Caribbean lifestyle. He shared this idea with Tom Freston, one of the entertainment industry icons and founders of MTV, who loved the idea. “It took me two years from presenting the idea to Tom to obtain the approval from MTV to launch the Network in 2005,” says Frederick.
And just like that, the Caribbean finally had something that solely belonged to them, thanks to Frederick. In a few years, TEMPO reached every nook and cranny of the Caribbean and fished out wonderful stories that boosted regional as well as international travel.
For the promotion of Caribbean lifestyle and culture and other contributions to the region, the Institute of Caribbean Studies awarded the “Trailblazer Award” to Frederick in 2020. That way, he became only the 5th Caribbean to have received the award, with Cicely Tyson, Andrew Young, Jimmy Cliff, and Eric Holder being the first four. “It’s the pinnacle of recognition. It’s a stamp of approval from precisely the place that you want, so it’s really a true honor,” were the words Frederick shared after securing the award.
However, Frederick “trailblazer” Morton doesn’t consider it the biggest award. According to him, the love and honor he has received from Caribbean people scattered throughout the world is the most significant award he could’ve ever achieved.