“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” –Oprah Winfrey–
Her first job was reading the news in small radio stations and television stations. That was in the early 1970s. At that time, it was an unusual sight to see a black woman presenting news in America. In 1976, Oprah got a job as a news anchor for a bit of larger television channel of Baltimore. Everyone said that she is good fit for TV. But she didn’t get the chance to fit exactly. She became overly sensitive while reading the news. When she reading a sad news, she started to cry and made happy expressions during happy news. “What nonsense is this?” This bothered her boss. “This woman needs to find another job,” he said.
They started a morning discussion program. The people of Baltimore had the opportunity to appear on television and express their views. The program was called “Peoples are talking”. Oprah herself fits this perfectly. She can understand people very well. Her abilities can be put to good use here rather than reading the news, the chiefs thought.
Other presenters often prepare and ask questions. They don’t focus on listening. But Oprah is different. She was interested in hearing what people want so say. There were natural conversations between her and the guests. It was not long before the heads of Baltimore’s television companies learned that Oprah was a star. Oprah’s program was a great success.
With the things going nicely in Oprah Winfrey side, heads of other channels in the country also became concerned about Oprah. In 1983, another television station in Chicago invited Oprah to present an art morning talk show. (A.M Chicago) They offered her a 4-year contract with annual salary of $ 200000. That’s a lot of money. At first Oprah backed away, but she decided to go anyway. After a while Oprah felt like she had come to her hometown. “As I walked down the street, I felt like I belonged here,” she said. The people of Chicago also felt that she belonged to them.
Her program began in 1984, and it became popular overnight. People liked her straight talk and the way of interviewing people. A few months later her show became the most popular show in town. The heads of the channel were very happy. “Oprah took control of the whole city of Chicago. “they said. She became a famous star in a famous city in America. She then wanted to go national level. Her need was met the day she received a call from Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is an important, significant person to Hollywood.
Oprah at The Purple Book Film [Photo – own.com]
By then he had made several very successful films. Next, he planned to make a film about an American black author Alice Walker. It was based on her book “The Color Purple”. “Would you like to make a character out of it?” He asked. Oprah could not deny it. Another reason was that “Purple” was a book she enjoyed reading. She also knew that a Hollywood movie would make her world famous.
But she was very busy with the A.M Chicago program. She had no time for anything else. But she loved acting in the film so much and she was even ready to quit her job. But her manager, Jeffrey Jacob had a different idea. “We can fix this,” he said. They also knew that she would become more famous because of the film. So, they decided to give her a few weeks off from her work to for the movie Color purple. Oprah was very grateful for her workplace.
But here she realized that there were some problems with the contract with the company. She has to have control over her life to be a star. But how to get that control? Jeffrey Jacob realized that this required control of the program. He knew that Oprah would become an international star once the color purple screen was released. Even now, people outside of Chicago still want to watch Oprah’s show.
Oprah decided to come to an agreement with the art television station. First she said to change the name of the show to Oprah Winfrey Show. Second, she asked that the program be sold to other channels and she need profit share from it. It turned out to be a very good business idea.
Color purple was a very successful film and everyone appreciated her performance. As a result, everyone was eager to see her show. 138 TV channels bought Oprah’s program. Her annual earnings increased from $ 2 million to $ 30 million. Oprah’s decision made her a rich woman. It also taught Oprah an important lesson. That is, good governance is essential for success. In 1986 she started her own company. Its name was Harpo Productions. (Harpo is the name that comes from the beginning of Oprah) At first, she did it to create publicity. In addition, she wrote reply letters to her fans.
In 1988, she again talked to the heads of Chicago television stations and proposed that her programs should be done in conjunction with Harpo Productions. They were not happy about this. They knew that even if Harpo gave them the broadcasting rights, they would not be able to take control of the program. They knew that Oprah could stop everything and go for her way in Hollywood that she wanted to.
Photo – Nbc News
The TV bosses had no choice. They let Oprah do what she wanted. Oprah wants to record her programs and buys a former Chicago-based TV and film production company for $ 10 million. For another 10 million, it bought all the equipment it needed and made Harpo Studio as the best studio in Chicago. This not only gave Oprah a lot of freedom but also a huge income. In 1988, her company produced other programs. (Like Women of Brewster place). Soon other companies also used Harpo for advertising, film and television programs.
The average woman in America believed Oprah. They also easily understood her ideas and beliefs. They saw her as an honest woman who came from a difficult environment and fought for success. Many companies were also happy to buy products named after Oprah, which gave her many business opportunities. In 1998, she re-created Oxygen Media. This targeted women and children, creating programs close to the Internet. She recently started working for a women’s magazine.
Photo – zee news
In addition, she now owns her own film company, which is affiliated with the world-famous Disney Company. By the time she celebrated her 40th birthday in January 1994, she had become a powerful woman in America. She has also become the highest paid woman. Over the past few years, American business magazines have named her the No. 1 Most Successful Businesswoman in America. Meanwhile, the Oprah Winfrey program is becoming more and more successful. Not only in America but also in other countries. She is currently the first black millionaire in America.
Photo – Pinterest
Photo – People.com