Being the Consummate Hispanic Entrepreneur

A man of many talents Jeff Valdez’s rich and fruitful career made an indelible mark on what Hispanic entertainment is today

 

By all accounts Jeff Valdez accomplished a lot in his career. He is a consummate Hispanic entrepreneur, a media pioneer who co-founded the Hispanic cable channel Sí TV, co-created of a TV show and has won a string of awards.

Some of Jeff’s achievements include“One of the Top 50 People Who Matter,” CNN, “The Racial Harmony Award,” Center For Ethnic Understanding, “Top 50 Minorities In Cable,” Multichannel News and was also named one of “The Top 50 Marketers in America” Advertising Age.

Mr. Valdez watched his brainchild Sí TV become the forerunner to Nuvo TV in 2011.

Sí TV was ground breaking in 2004 . The new cable network served Latinos ages 18 to 34 with a full slate of English-language programming, Sí TV generated quite a bit of buzz  immediately off its launch that February.

Although it started 2004 with virtually no advertisers, Sí TV had 34 by year’s end. The network the quickly grew to 60, including Burger King, Suzuki, and General Motors. It’s also saw its audience share grow in excess of 40 percent to more than 10 million viewers.

In September of that year, Sí TV received five first-place awards for marketing and communications programming during the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications’ 19th annual conference in New York. That same month, the network announced promotional deals with XM Satellite Radio, Universal Motown, The New York Latino Film Festival, Fuego magazine, and Vidagirl.com.

Not bad for a venture that had been roundly dismissed as a conceptual nonstarter by a succession of broadcasting executives and investors.

Mr. Valdez resisted self-congratulatory remarks for what he accomplished because he realized that in some cases his doubters had good reason to bet against him. Truth be told, Sí TV had an unusually long gestation period. When he and partner Bruce Barshop founded the company to develop, produce, and distribute English-language programming for Latinos eight years prior, the pair expected to have a network up and running within six months.

Then there’s the matter of being politic in a town where connections are exceedingly valuable commodities. A show-business veteran, Mr. Valdez knows all too well that success has a way of making allies of erstwhile detractors.

From Pueblo Colorado to Europe

The youngest of nine children, Mr. Valdez was born and grew up in humble circumstances in Pueblo, Colorado. After high school, he ventured to Europe, where he drummed for a variety of bands over the course of a few months, before relocating to Colorado Springs. There he worked in mobile-home and drill-bit factories, in between doing a stint as a janitor. Convinced his destiny lay with music, he soon headed back out on the road, however, touring the country with a couple of bands for the better part of the next decade.

Upon returning to Colorado Springs, Mr. Valdez had designs on being an entrepreneur opened Comedy Corner, a club that would go on to help launch the careers of Roseanne Barr, Sinbad, and others. By this time, Mr. Valdez himself had begun to dabble in stand-up—at the urging of band mates—and he honed his act at the club.