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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Nov, 2005 By: Thomas Haire, Nicole Urso Reed Response

Kevin Trudeau Sues ERA for $10 Million


Industry Leader Jake Weisbarth Passes at 52


By Thomas Haire (

LOS ANGELES – Longtime television and DR industry leader Jake Weisbarth – who helped bring Sears and its Craftsman line into the direct response world a decade ago – passed away following a battle with cancer Oct. 8, at his Los Angeles home. He was 52.

 Jake Weisbarth
Jake Weisbarth

Weisbarth, who served as president of King World Direct for eight years, was currently consulting in the industry under the banner of his own company, Content=Commerce. A magnetic presence at industry events and a visionary iconoclast, Weisbarth was also a long-time member of the Response Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.

"Jake's loss is felt by everyone in this business," says John Yarrington, Response publisher. "When I came into the industry six years ago, Jake really took me under his wing and helped me learn the ins and outs of DR."

Sandy Peters, president of North Country Media Group in Great Falls, Mont., and a client of Weisbarth's expands on that thought. "Meeting Jake and being around him caused your energy level to increase 100 percent, because he moved forward all the time," she says. "Jake looked at life like a Broadway play – there's only so much time, so you need to get everything done you want to get done now. His enthusiasm was contagious, and it always gave me the energy to be up and ready to go. He was always willing to try to make his life and those of his friends and partners more fulfilling."

Weisbarth was well known for his nurturing and caring style among his clients and friends. The fiery New York native was also revered for his caustic wit and his fight to clean up the direct response world. He also led the drive that resulted in the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) resuscitating its Broadcast Council, as well as building its membership across the DR world.

"The DRTV industry lost a dear friend," says Danette Dickerman, vice president of media, agency services for Portland, Ore.-based Euro RSCG 4D DRTV and current co-chair of the DMA Broadcast Council. "A pioneer in the industry, he was committed to advancing the merits of direct response through his client work and involvement with the DMA's Broadcast Council. He will be missed by all, personally and professionally."

Other industry leaders are also mourning the loss. Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) chair-elect Rick Petry of Portland, Ore.-based Downstream, says, "Jake loved the theater, and he brought a grand sense of showmanship and panache to everything he did. I will always think of him as a force of nature and will miss his infectious energy and terrific sense of humor."

Barbara Zucker, CEO of Florida-based Golden Direct and a past DMA Broadcast Council co-chair, adds, "Jake Weisbarth showed us that passion was infectious. Funny, highly intelligent and extremely literate, having a conversation with Jake could be a non-stop theatrical experience. If something had a special place in his heart, his enthusiasm wrapped around it until it became a fait accompli. Jake's sense of commitment and his eloquent voice in our industry will be deeply missed. His dedication to DMA, and to the continued excellence of the DRTV/broadcast industry, was profound. He was a very good friend to so many of us. It's a very hard loss."

Weisbarth is survived by his wife of 29 years, Susan, and their son and daughter. Funeral services were held on Oct. 10 at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles, where more than 100 of his closest friends and associates gathered to celebrate his life.

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