Before I say anything, I want to state that in no way is this BLOG intended to cast dispersion on Trade Schools.  It is painfully true that this country needs more people who can fix and build things, instead of just moving money around.

I read an essay in the Washington Post this past week by Fareed Zakaria in which he speaks to the issue of some of our political  leaders as emphasizing the need for more engineering and science curricula in colleges and the de-emphasizing or even elimination of the humanities and arts.

When I went to college at SIU in Carbondale Illinois, the first two years were devoted to “General Studies”.  students had very few “electives” options and were required to take, such “meaningless” course as Philosophy, Music Appreciation, Literature and yes physics and chemistry and language.

Today, in many large “Trade-iversities, students are required to declare their majors upon entering the system.  This is not only ludicrous, but I believe damaging to their development as total students and citizens.  Do we really believe that the average eighteen year old knows what she or he “wants-to-be-when-they-grow-up”?  I did not – I started out in engineering and my career in in advertising and media planning; and I will bet that a lot of us out there are not working in the fields of our chosen majors in college.

I see this problem as one, in large part, due to the insanely high cost of getting an education, today,

“… get that degree and start paying off your exorbitant student loan…”,  is a huge road block to an expanded curriculum.

President Obama’s initiative to make the first two years of trade schools, free is a great start in the right direction and should be carried over into the university system as well.  Ten percent of the military budget would go along way into starting this process.

Many CEO’s will tell you that a prospective employee with a more liberal arts background makes a more creative and total, employee.  As  Mister Zakaria points out, While U, S. test scores in Math and science are below those in other countries our inventors and scientist are still the most productive and creative in the world, due in a large part to our liberal education background.  The best test takers in the world – the Japanese and Chinese, are still better at copying than at innovating.

Sure, we need engineers and scientists but they should be able think in creative, and philosophical ways.  Let the trade school teach the trades – our universities should supply a more well rounded education.


We have been planning and buying media for many years, now, and the construct that “…everything has changed…” due to the internet, mobile, social media and the fall of network TV versus cable, strikes me as being mostly invalid.

I believe that the basic concepts of media planning and negotiations have changed very little from the very beginnings. Smart planners and buyers have always operated on the premise that the most successful campaigns are based on a few generic concepts:

  • Know your product or service as well as you can
  • Know your target audience
  • Build frequency of exposure
  • Maximize reach
  • Devise that plan to be frugal with the budget
  • Follow up with post analysis

The “New” media landscape while building on new vehicles of delivery are still contained within these seven or so basic rules of the game. We change the nomenclature (Pay-per-View/Sale is now pay-per-click), but the concepts remain the same.

The rush to embrace social media as a be all, end all has proved to be shortsighted – 80% of those using Facebook and Twitter do not read or respond to the ads on those sites.

There are no magic bullets.

Moreover, more than ever, the sensitive elements of quality of product, truthfulness of message and listening to the consumer are as valid today as when there were only Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and three TV networks.

We can change the name but the song remains the same.


A few years ago, my step-daughter asked me to see if I could help a friend of hers find a job in New York at Comedy Central.  I Introduced this young lady to the then Sales Manager of the network and she landed a internship at MTV Networks.

Last night we went to Hyena’s Comedy Club here in Dallas to see her new stand-up routine.  We were really thrilled with her performance.

Jamie Lee is now a rising star on MTV’s “Girl Code”, plus is writing for other MTV properties.  She has been noted as “one of the top five  comedian who should be movie stars” by  And she is a native of Dallas.

We will be following her career more closely now and wishing her the best.

You Go Girl!!

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LET’S START WITH THE OSCARS. The audience for the Oscars has fallen again this year and no wonder.  What a slow, unfunny show it has become.  With the exception of a couple of women, one gay and one black rapper, the acceptance speeches were total white bread and banal. The MC was unfunny and insulting without being humorous and the show looked like it was thrown together like pieces from someone’s  yard sale. Enough. STEADMAN – If you haven’t seen or heard of it, and have any appreciation of the art of Ralph Steadman, I highly recommend “For No Good Reason“, a documentary on this sardonic genius, his process of creation and his relationship to Hunter Thompson.  Hosted very low key by Johnny Depp with appearances by Terry Gilliam and the late William Burroughs, among others, it is a visually stunning couple of hours. See it!   It’s on Netflix. THE NET – It looks like we have won one against the big boys – at least the first round.  Net neutrality has been saved by the FCC.  And while the monsters of Cable have promised to fight it, all of us who have become as dependent upon the internet as we are on oxygen, can breath easier for a while.  Hang in there and keep after them. See you next week..

FIRST COLBERT…then STEWART…then Williams

ed. note:  The above typing is not a mistake, the lower case is intended.

I know this is old news, but I just wanted to add my thoughts to the departure of the two most trusted names in news reporting and one who just couldn’t get over himself.

For all the talk about fake news that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart were accused of reporting, in the end, theirs was probably, the most reliable.

Brian Williams, on the other hand, seems to have so taken with himself that he wished for some heroics for, then believed that the wish had come true.

Comedy Central and all of us news junkies will sorely miss those two honest reporters and I, for one, will not miss Mr. Williams.

The selection of Larry Wilmore to fill in the 11:30 block is, while not Colbert, a fine replacement .  He has a sharp wit and tongue and his “Keep it 100” is  an interesting take on interviewing (I can’t wait until he gets some real celebrities for that hot seat.)

As to who will replace B. Williams, who cares

And my vote for Jon’s replacement…Hey, Tina Fey, what are you up to lately?

After a long Absence…

GonzoMedia has not posted anything in quite a while. I can give excuses for this, but it really is a matter of not being inclined simply to regurgitate articles from media publications, blogs and web sites, that are readily available to those concerned with this part of the advertising business.

I have never much cared for “cut-and-paste,” so mostly what you will see will be observations and commentary and occasionally, a very short story – longer than twitter-shorter than a page.

As always, you are welcome to comment, but don’t expect a long debate. Your opinion is yours and you are certainly welcome to it. If it is in opposition to mine, well, this is my blog and…enough said.

Please, visit again. I hope to have fun here.



In case you missed it, a federal judge has moved the FOX, CBS and NBC lawsuit against DISH’s “AUTOHOP” to California from New York, as requested by the three networks. They assume the west coast legal system will be friendlier to them.  A similar case involving DVR’s would give DISH legal precedent in New York.

As you know, “AUTOHOP” is the service on DISH that allows subscribers to automatically skip commercials in playback programs on their DVR’s.  This looks like another new battle over who has the right to control technology and its devices.

Those of us, who can remember it, know that some of these same networks once tried to sue to stop the production and sale of videocassette recorders, claiming that recording programs was a violation of copyright laws.  They lost that one and I believe that there is a chance they may lose this one as well.

The suit brought by the networks does not address the right of the subscriber/consumer to delete advertising, but rather that DISH “…has created and marketed a product with the clear goal of breaching its license…..”

The networks are claiming that this violates copyrights and destroys the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television business.

And they may well be correct in this claim.

If DISH can get away with this, it surely will not be too long before another company will have an AUTOHOP clone on the market, opening a real Pandora’s Box for commercial TV, and drastically changing the way we media planners and buyers look at delayed viewing and pre-recorded audience numbers, when evaluating total delivery, for our clients.

On the other hand, it may be the beginning of the demise of DISH.  They have already come into conflict with AMC and other content providers and have dropped AMC from their feed.  If they win this suit, other commercial networks may also decide not to do business with DISH.

AMC has a group of very popular programs – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and The Killing, to name a few. And Dish does have competition – DIRECTV……

This will be a very interesting case for all of us to follow.


None of us is unaware of the conflict going on around the issues of free speech, protecting privacy, protecting copyrights and a myriad of other legal and social issues, revolving around the internet.

There doesn’t seem to be any way to answer all of these knotty issues very satisfactorily.  The internet is, for all intents and purposes, a totally new dimension of communication.

Since GonzoMedia is a Media Planning and Buying Company, and needs all the possible information we can garner about the consumer in order to “properly” target our clients’ commercials, we are, “greedy” for the demographics, psychographics and personal habits of the consumer.

And we are – through sites like Google, Facebook and a multitude of other sources, never before available – able to gather more and more of that valuable data.  It seems that many people are perfectly willing to disclose information about their personal lives, their jobs and other information on the internet that they would never discuss or reveal to their family members or clergy.

On a personal level, however, I have concerns about how we protect the information which those consumers do not want revealed.

We have all seen reports of people losing jobs because they have posted their dislike for their bosses and/or companies they work for.  And we marvel at why a person would reveal videos of themselves in embarrassing situations.

Obviously, there is no accounting for taste or for lack of foresight for many of our fellow citizens, so I say, “post away”, and, hopefully, these individuals will not do themselves too much harm.

As I said before, I do have concerns about those of us who do not desire to have personal and private information revealed without our permission.  The fact that the simple act of going to the web to gain information on any given subject, product type or medical affliction, can generate an e-mail assuming that we are prone to buy a product or service, or a sufferer of that affliction, is a bit more than frightening.

We once feared that “Government” would create Big Brother, this is no longer true.  We have created him out of whole cloth.  As Walt Kelly’s POGO once observed, “…We have met the enemy and he is US…”

In my opinion, therefore, we should promote the concept of Opting IN rather than that of having to Opt Out in matters of privacy on the net and it should be as simple as a universal tag on one’s email address declining all intrusion.

If a particular site refuses to give information regarding what they regard as proprietary, unless one allows the gathering of personal data, so be it!  Somewhere on the net, There will be another site willing to give one the requested information without requiring the divulging of that personal data.  That’s how it works, “out there”!



The Dream Fund, which started in 1991 to help colleagues in the Ad Community in times of financial need, is holding fund-raising events in Austin and Houston.

This organization is active in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Oklahoma and has been instrumental in assisting members of our industry in times of need.

I encourage anyone in the Ad and Media Businesses in Austin and Houston  to turn out for these events and for those of us in other markets to make a contribution today!

for more information go to or contact or pnolan@att,net.


Sharon O’Callaghan Shero – “The Sacrifice”

Today’s blog will not be about media planning or media buying, but rather the announcement of a very special event involving my partner and spouse, Sharon Shero.

The New Orleans Photo Alliance’s juried Members Exhibition has selected 3 works from Sharon O’Callaghan Shero’s new series, “The Sacrifice.”   Accepted works include “The Selkie Returns to the Sea,” “When You Wish,” and “The Fishmonger and the Demon Cat.”

This is a prestigious honor bestowed by one of the premier photography organizations in the country.  Sharon’s “The Sacrifice” series is a cutting edge collection of photomontage, mixed media and assemblage pieces inspired by of Irish folklore, religious anecdotes and stories told by her mother.

If you are in the Magazine Street area of New Orleans on or after June 8, please stop by the N.O.P.A. gallery and see Sharon’s and other fine photographers’ work on display there.

And by all means visit her website to see the entire series and other great finds.

The exhibition opens June 8 and continues through July 1.

New Orleans Photo Alliance
1111 St. Mary Street
New Orleans, LA
(504) 610-4899