Understanding the Principles of the New Communications Landscape with Anton Schwartz

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Here we explore the legacy of the late Tony Schwartz with his son, Anton. Tony Schwartz created commercials for more than four hundred corporations, five presidential campaigns, and countless social causes. Hailed as a guru of the newly emerging “electronic media” by Marshall McLuhan, he taught media studies at New York University, Harvard, Columbia, and Fordham. In 2007, the Library of Congress acquired Schwartz’s entire body of work. Bill Moyers has said of him, “He was a genius in his understanding of the communications revolution of the 20th century.” And Moyers further added that his interview with Tony Schwartz was one of his favorites and one of the most important of his long career in broadcast journalism. Tony Schwartz was the creator of one of the most famous ads of all time, “The Daisy Ad” which only aired once but was credited for the successful election of Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater in 1964. The ad was one of the first to go viral over the news media. Schwartz understood that viewers don’t come to media as a blank slate; they bring their own experience, biases, hopes, and dreams. He was the pioneer of modern media. Anton describes his father’s philosophy: “It isn’t a manipulation . . . The listener is an active participant in the creation of the message by how they respond to it, by what assumptions, emotions, and knowledge they bring to the table. [The message] reacts with the listener’s feelings, understanding, and knowledge. The listener is an active participant in this process.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Anton Schwartz is the son of the late Tony Schwartz, who was a pioneer of the communications revolution of the 20th Century. Anton is the editor of the second edition of Tony Schwartz's seminal book on media:

Anton Schwartz is an award-winning jazz saxophonist and composer based in Seattle. He has five critically acclaimed CDs and headlines such venues as SFJAZZ, The Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Yoshi’s, plus countless jazz festivals. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in Math and Philosophy, and was a National Science Foundation Fellow at Stanford University in Artificial Intelligence. 

To learn more about Anton Schwartz visit http://antonjazz.com/. 

To learn more about the work of Tony Schwartz go to http://www.tonyschwartz.org/books/responsive-chord/

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What happened in the early days (1940s) of Tony Schwartz walking around New York City with a hand-made recording device
  • How did Tony Schwartz first get into advertising
  • What was Tony’s insight in understanding the importance of what the receiver of media brings to the message
  • Why Tony liked to describe his work as “partipulation” rather than manipulation
  • How the viewer is an essential element in the creation of the meaning of an ad or message of communication
  • How ads are targeted to certain demographics
  • How Tony was instrumental in changing the tobacco industry
  • How Tony changed the way focus groups were being used, by adding open ended questions
  • How Donald Trump used free media coverage extremely effectively
  • Why Tony was not a great believer in unpaid media
  • How the sharing of information has exponentially speeded up through the decades
  • Why understanding the mechanisms by which bots and viral media work is imperative
  • How fake news is all about eliciting a response, and how to responsibly respond to it
  • How the content of education is shifting to a multi-media platform that stimulates creativity
  • How everyone is participating in being a marketer 

Host: Justine Willis Toms        Interview Date: 4/9/2017        Program Number: 3614

Music Playlist

From Album: Chasing After Light
Artist: Michael Occhipinti & Creation Dream
2007 True North B003B8TLY4 

Opening Essay: Track 01 Ballo Della Famiglia
Music Break 1: Track 03 High Romance

From Album: Flash Mob
Artist: Anton Schwartz
2014 Antonjazz B00GOLQ5SA

Music Break 2: Track 07 La Mesha
Music Break 3: Track 11 Dawn Song