By that measure, Mr. Schulman leads all of his peers in the media buying industry, according to an analysis of the last 12 months media coverage conducted by Medialink PR Research. Of course, other factors go into determining how Media Mavens are selected.
Utilizing SPINdex, Medialink's proprietary system that uses a sample of influential print and electronic media outlets to measure a subject's ability to generate mass societal impressions, Mr. Schulman ranked a dominant No. 1 with a score of 536.
The next highest-ranking media executive is former Zenith Media Group Exec VP Betsy Frank, who generated nearly half that impact with a score of 286; Ms. Frank now is with MTV Networks.
Jean Pool, exec VP-North America buying director at J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, is among the proponents of an aggressive public stance with the media, because she sees it as part of her job.
"As media professionals, it's our job to be leaders for our clients and for our agency. And, you can't be a leader in this industry by being in a room by yourself," she says. "You have to have opinions and to be vocal about those opinions. One of the best places to express those opinions, is in the media."
Mr. Schulman's ability to garner media attention is noteworthy because he is perhaps the most focused in terms of media buying specialists-with a capability limited to buying only six media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and WB, and with media billings substantially lower than some of the major buying powerhouses included in the research.
NETWORK STILL THE ONE
"You can talk all you want about network erosion, but people are still most interested in network TV," says Mr. Schulman, who's company is a unit of Wells BDDP's Advanswers division. "Everybody loves the medium. You mention network TV at a party and everybody perks up and wants to talk about it."
Mr. Schulman may be right. Most of the other executives dominating the media-pundits list specialize primarily in network TV.
Ms. Frank, though she wasn't actually responsible for purchasing the medium, commented primarily on network programming trends and scheduling developments before leaving Zenith to join MTV.
RESEARCHER EYES PROGRAMMING
Ranking fifth, BJK&E Media Senior Partner Steve Sternberg is the highest-ranking research executive on the list. He acknowledges that fact occurs primarily because he comments mainly on programming-related developments and not issues of research methodology. The next highest ranking research executive, J. Walter Thompson Co.'s David Marans, ranked 22nd.
Also noteworthy in the SPINdex findings is the absence of some traditional media pundits, such as Mr. Sternberg's boss Mike Drexler, who a decade earlier was crowned the most ubiquitous of media-buying media pundits, as well as BBDO Worldwide Exec VP Arnie Semsky, both of whom attracted no citations in the SPINdex media sample base.
"It's probably because those executives have gotten more involved in other things within their organizations and they have delegated more of that media function to other capable executives," suggests Mr. Schulman.
Moving in another direction has been the media management of historically circumspect Leo Burnett USA. Both U.S. Media Director Bob Brennan (ranking 7th) and Worldwide Media Director Jack Klues (ranking 14th) now garner as much media attention as most of their peers.
GOTLIEB COMES IN UNDER RADAR
Other influential media executives, meanwhile, continue to keep extraordinarily low profiles, such as ultra-powerful TV buyer Irwin Gotlieb.
Mr. Gotlieb, president of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles TeleVest buying behemoth, ranked last among quoted media executives with only one citation in the last year.
"He's one of the most brilliant and influential guys in the business, but you rarely ever see him going public," observes Chuck Bachrach, exec VP of Rubin Postaer & Associates.
Mr. Bachrach points out that for all the times some media executives are sourced on the record about media industry developments, there are many times when they influence coverage as behind-the-scenes sources.
Mr. Bachrach says he prefers to be selective and tactical about his media exposure, using his name and his agency's identity to leverage key industry issues such as advertising rates, commercial clutter, or program scheduling moves.
"People like Paul Schulman and Betsy Frank have made a career out of talking to the press, but the truth is, I buy more media than Paul Schulman does," says Mr. Bachrach.
"The key is not being out there just for the sake of being out there, but to say