Jenifer Young ’18, ’20 remembers what she felt on her first day of classes on Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus.
“I was standing in front of the Commerce and Finance building and holding my books and being so excited about the idea that one day I would be graduating,” she said.
That was almost 20 years ago. Today, at 37, Young is putting her Detroit Mercy education to use as the CEO of One God TV Network, a global Christian television network aimed at millennials. It’s a company she built from the ground up led, she says, by God.
It took Young 10 years to earn her bachelor’s degree in Business and another two to earn an MBA. Along the way she raised children and worked full time in Detroit Mercy’s Office of the Registrar and the College of Engineering & Science records office.
At the same time, she was making a name for herself in Christian media. She was the host of a radio program for youth on The Word AM 560, Detroit’s Christian Talk, and a podcast iRoc Jesus, which reached more than a million listeners through Yes Lord Radio and several other syndicated internet radio stations. With Yes Lord Radio, she received a Stellar Award for Best Internet Radio Station in 2014.
“It’s like a Grammy Award for the Gospel or Christian industry,” Young explained. “Winning a Stellar is a big deal.”
After the Stellar win, she felt called to transfer her success to television and created a TV show called, “To The BEAT,” a Christian show for young people that dealt with issues of faith. Filmed in Detroit, it featuring unscripted interviews with Christian entertainers. Her local fame led to her hosting the Metro Detroit Youth Day, a traditional Detroit event at which tens of thousands of children and teens gather on Belle Isle to participate in sports clinics, games, contests and other activities.
“A lot of people told me to put “To The BEAT” on YouTube because I would get a bigger audience, but I wanted it on BET (Black Entertainment Television),” she said.
While she pursued that goal, even meeting with BET executives, it was not to be, she said. Then, during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she heard a voice.
“God told me to start a TV network,” she said. After praying about it for a while she realized that she had the media background, the knowledge of business and the drive.
“I had everything I needed to do this,” she said.
With the capital investment of $20,000 from her IRA account, she built a studio in her house in late 2020 and moved forward with the plan. At the time, she was still working for Detroit Mercy, but was furloughed because of the pandemic. A few months later, she felt called to leave her position with the University behind. Although reluctant, she took a leap of faith.
“University of Detroit Mercy is my safety net and has been my home for 17 years,” she said. “When God asked me to leave my job, others said to wait…but if I would have waited on what seemed like the perfect time for me, how would that have been me trusting what God asked me to do?” She went live with One God TV on Feb. 14 this year and left the University in March. She isn’t looking back.
The road to this point has not been easy. Young had to balance being a single mother with her business goals, and the dream almost died after an unscrupulous investor ghosted her, leaving her just days to find a substantial sum of money to buy herself out of a contract. But through it all, she said, she put her confidence in God’s help as she overcame obstacles, and in the opportunities that seemingly fell into her lap and in the strength, she found as she worked long hours.
“I look at it as God is building his own platform to showcase light and positivity,” Young said.
One God TV offers talk shows, musical specials, movies and prayers. There is no shortage of possibilities. Hundreds of creators have come to her eager to get their content – which they have aired on YouTube, Instagram and other sites – on the network. Young receives funds through subscriptions and pays the content creators for their work based on the number of subscribers, and through affordable paid airtime for local ministries who need a televised outlet. It’s a point of pride for her, as other sites charge creators to air their work.
Young understands the road ahead is long and the work will be hard, but she knows she has what it takes.
“I don’t know what’s coming next,” she said. “But I keep thinking back to that young woman standing in front of the Commerce and Finance Building who didn’t know where she would go. And now, I’m CEO of a network.”
For more information about One God TV Network, visit onegodtvnetwork.com or download the app for free to your smartphone or smart TV.