The international PR firm, TransMedia Group that I started back in 1981 will celebrate its 40th year in business on Feb. 1. And like the iconic “Energizer Bunny,” TransMedia still keeps going.
Over the years TransMedia has served clients worldwide with distinction, starting with AT&T as its first, which at the time was the largest company in America.
They’re not our client today, but back then, they sure were a handful as I helped the mega phone company, then headed by Charles L. (Charlie) Brown, through a monstrous antitrust lawsuit climaxing in the historic breakup–one of the most tumultuous restructurings in U.S. corporate history.
I coached Charlie on national television appearances I arranged for him. Talk about working your way up the ladder, Charlie started at AT&T as a pole climber.
At the time, AT&T had a million employees and a monopoly over most phone service. Its breakup unleashed a wave of competition in markets for telephone service and telecommunications equipment.
TransMedia did publicity for the first cell phone developed by AT&T and for other divisions of the sprawling company including Picturephone Meeting Service, a predecessor to virtual meetings so common today. TransMedia arranged and publicized the first coast-to-coast video conference for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
These days my once bloodied, but unbowed PR firm is under the virtuoso direction of my talented and resourceful daughter, Adrienne Mazzone. She is the president, while I’ve been kicked upstairs to CEO and a new position I now hold, News Release Polisher.
Adrienne keeps sending me releases written by our young staff and interns, asking me to please polish them. I remember when we used to polish shoes, now it’s headlines, sentences and paragraphs.
I’m writing a book about my new role as Polisher in Chief, my fifth, titled WORDSHINE MAN
Since MA BELL, we’ve represented many of the largest organizations in America, including The City of New York for which I conducted an advertising and PR campaign for fair housing that won a Bronze Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America.”
I wrote speeches for then Kellogg’s chairman Bill LaMothe, which were reprinted in The New York Times. Then it was the FTC seeking to break up the major cereal companies, charging they were an illegal oligopoly.
In one of my speeches, I appealed to the federal government to spare “Tony the Tiger” from such a heart-wrenching breakup.
Before launching TransMedia in New York City, I was #2-ranked executive at NBC reporting directly to then CEO Fred Silverman. Prior, I was director of PR and top speechwriter at American Broadcasting Companies.
Before that I was a newspaper reporter at The Press of Atlantic City, NJ, where I grew up, and at The Philadelphia Inquirer, in the city where I was born and educated. I went to Temple University undergraduate, then to the Annenberg School of Journalism at Penn for my master’s in (what else?) Communications!
In 1986, I relocated TransMedia to Florida and bought a building in downtown Boca Raton, which became our world headquarters.
Our first Florida client was Rexall Sundown, whose sales of nutritional supplements our publicity helped to grow from $100 million to $900 million a year.
When founder and CEO Carl DeSantis sold the company for $1.6 billion, he credited TransMedia for generating media exposure that made his supplements superlative.
Thank you, everybody. It’s been fun! And thank God, it still keeps going!