Columbus media mogul highlights need for Black opportunity in TV


Columbus, OH – As a former hairstylist and makeup artist, Sharon Gordon never imagined she would operate her own TV network, one that has positioned her as a pioneer in

Gordon’s journey began with a desire to change the narrative about Black communities in the media.

“In my opinion, when I would see and view news about us in the mainstream (media), very seldom was it good news. It was still murder, death, kill,” Gordon, 57, said.

It was a far cry from the content she was accustomed to reading as a kid. Having been exposed to historically Black-centered publications such as Ebony and Jet Magazine, she was enamored of stories that highlighted the contributions of Black artists, entrepreneurs and political figures. The 1982 Westerville South graduate wanted to usher in similar content for the Columbus area. the Black media industry.

Ushering in content for the Black community in Columbus

Gordon connected with editor Amos Lynch at The Columbus Post, a former newspaper focused on covering the Black community, and asked about writing a beauty and fashion column in 2002. Soon after, she became the fashion and beauty editor, she said, and found her love for media.

But after nine months at The Columbus Post, the paper was sold. Gordon said she shifted toward starting her own publication, one that was free and dedicated to magnifying Columbus’ Black voices. She also aimed to provide affordable advertising costs to draw more attention to small businesses.

“Everybody laughed at me and were like, ‘Girl, you don’t know anything about no newspaper,'” Gordon said. “And I really didn’t know anything about it in terms of the business end of it, but I did know how to get a story and take some pictures, and in my mind, that’s who I was.”

In 2003, driven by an unshakable confidence and a desire to see urban communities pictured in a more positive light, she began the print publication Urban Trendsetters News Magazine.

To assist with the look of the publication, Gordon reached out to a friend, Ivory Payne, the owner of the Baton Rouge Weekly Press Newspaper, and asked him to design the paper’s layout.

Payne agreed, and Urban Trendsetters News Magazine officially launched on Feb. 7, 2003, garnering $50,000 of advertising dollars from a shared-barter agreement with Radio One Columbus, an urban radio network that launched local stations Power 106.3, 107.5 and others. There were no other loans or grants, Gordon said, simply the love of the community that pushed the brand forward.

Even on a shoestring budget, John Gregory, 64, founder of the National African American Male Wellness Agency, said in the nearly 20 years he has known Gordon, her mission to uplift Black voices has always been at the forefront.

“She’s been a trailblazer as it relates to trying to get the message to Black people, trying to create an avenue to get their message out,” the Columbus resident said.

In the 18 years since its inception, Gordon said the Urban Trendsetters brand has continued to expand. The print product ceased in 2018, but Gordon morphed her Urban Trendsetters idea into radio in 2008 and TV two years later — all encompassed under the same company.

Building UTS TV and creating programming for her community

By 2016, Gordon established Urban Trendsetters TV (UTS TV) and discovered that WCSN (Channel 32.10) was owned by James “Jimmy” Joynt. After meeting the 85-year-old businessman, who was overseeing the company from his residence in Texas, Gordon was asked to run one of WCSN’s 12 subchannels in Columbus.

With managing the channel, Gordon was tasked with generating UTS TV programming while finding networks interested in licensing their content to help fill 24 hours of air time. She started out with six shows from comedian Byron Allen, who heads the entertainment company Entertainment Studios, and continued to build up the channel.

Between 2016 and 2020, she learned how to sell commercials, garner media buys and negotiate contracts. But after several years of running the Columbus-based channel, which had to contend with shaky reception, Gordon sought to start her own TV network.

After Joynt sold WCSN to the Word Media Group, a multimedia company based out of Louisville, Kentucky, he persuaded the new owners to work with Gordon, who was then able to relaunch UTS TV under the new ownership in February 2020.

With access to the Word Media Group’s national markets, UTS TV is broadcast in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Houston; Louisville; and Columbus. Although the network has gained greater recognition with its expansion, Gordon said it has been a hard-fought effort.

“It’s been four years, so it wasn’t an overnight success,” she said. “People are hearing about it now, but it’s been a labor of love.”

Along with licensed programming, UTS TV is home to programs such as “The Careers, Entrepreneurs and Opportunities (CEO) Show,” which Gordon describes as a televised job fair.

Next month, the network will add “Daily Black News” and “Shop Black at Home,” which speak to its mix of local, self-produced content, as well as nationally syndicated programming.

Viewers can access WCSN on TV channel 32.10 with an antenna, stream the network’s programs via Roku, Amazon Firestick or visit

Tom Fawbush, vice president of Word Media Group, said that in working with Gordon, she has proven to be a capable leader in the media industry.

“She knows how to put deals together and has a good instinct for marketing and sales and just making it all work,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for her as a media professional. She’s definitely a dynamic force, and it seems like whatever she wants to do, she gets it done.”

Fawbush said he is confident more eyes will be glued to UTS TV as Gordon continues to add programming to the channel.

With UTS TV, Gordon said she wants the network to expand its coverage and educate aspiring media professionals on the importance of ownership.

“I want to show Black creatives how to make money for your content, how to own your content and how we can distribute your content,” Gordon said.

But more than anything, Gordon intends on aiding other Black-owned TV and radio platforms throughout the country, many that have suffered because of a lack of advertising and support.

Tracy Maxwell Heard, 58, executive director of the Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence organization in Columbus, said Gordon’s message has always been about “we.”

The former minority leader of the Ohio House of Representatives said Gordon has aimed to provide an opportunity for others in and outside of media, and she is hopeful more people will take advantage of her services and platform.

With helping other Black-owned media groups, Gordon said her company is coming into different markets to develop partnerships, not take over advertising dollars. In time, more Black and minority-owned networks will have the opportunity to spotlight more positive news from their communities.

“If we want to change the narrative, we have to be in charge of the story,” Gordon said. “I want kids to be able to see Black people doing some amazing things.”

Source: The Columbus Dispatch – Columbus media mogul highlights need for Black opportunity in TV

Next Post


BY MISS2BEES There’s a list of reasons why many people start college but don’t finish due to unforeseen circumstances. But Morehouse is launching an online initiative that will help Black men who have some college credits but need an extra push. The Washington Post reported that the school will launch […]