media and

Rob Caughlan

Pete McCloskey and Paul NewmanAbove (left to right): Pete McCloskey and Paul Newman

2009: Pete McCloskey: Leading From the Front

Produced and Directed by Rob Caughlan
Narrated by Paul Newman

An hour-long television documentary that tells the colorful and inspirational life story of Pete McCloskey, a true American character. McCloskey's story offers an example of an authentic hero: one who dedicates his life to public service and, as an elected official, follows his moral compass regardless of the prevailing political winds.

He was a Marine during the Korean War and returned home a war hero. He integrated his law practice during the Civil Rights movement. He was one of the first lawyers to work tirelessly for the environment and co-authored the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

cartoon of man clapping for Pete McCloskey documentaryAbove: cartoon ©2009 San Francisco Chronicle/David Wiegand

As a Republican, he represented California's 11th District in Congress from 1967 to 1983 and was one of the first Congressmen to oppose the war in Vietnam. In an attempt to end that war, he ran against Richard Nixon for the Republican presidential nomination in 1972. Then, in 1973, McCloskey was also one of the first few members of Congress to call for the impeachment of Nixon.

In opposition to the corruption and anti-conservation policies of his party, McCloskey ran against Congressman Richard Pombo in the 2006 California Republican primary. Although he did not win, he contributed to Pombo's defeat in the general election by steering a good number of votes away from him. (read more...)

Brown, Caughlan and EarnestAbove (left to right): David L. Brown, Rob Caughlan with his surfboard, Roy Earnest

2001: SURFING FOR LIFE: Inspirational Film on Older Surfers

Written and Directed by David L. Brown
Produced by David L. Brown, Roy Earnest
Narrated by Beau Bridges
American Public Television

A portrait of nine older surfers still riding waves in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Rob Caughlan was part of the sound crew along with Elizabeth Thompson and Steven Baigel.

(read more about how Rob inspired the filmmakers of Surfing For Life...)

1996: Future in the Cradle

Future in the CradleAbove: poster for Future in the Cradle

Produced by Rob Caughlan and Dennis Church
Written and Filmed by Rob Caughlan
winner: WAVE Award for Documentary

In 1994, the world population was 5.7 billion and the United Nations held a Population Conference in Cairo. Rob attended the conference every day. At the opening of the conference, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak welcomed attendees "to the cradle of civilization to discuss the future of civilization."

At the end of the conference, a 20-year plan to stabilize world population was signed by 180 nations. All countries agreed to improve educational and employment opportunities for women, to promote family planning, and to provide reproductive health care for all women. Developed nations, like the U.S., also pledged to reduce their consumption of resources.

Future in the Cradle is a documentary that follows both the official conference and the many other groups that attended. It also examines why, as our world population soared to 7 billion, the countries in attendance were not making more of an effort to keep the promises made there. (read more...)

Voice of the PlanetAbove: poster for Voice of the Planet

1991: Voice of the Planet

Produced and Written by Michael Tobias
starring: William Shatner and Faye Dunaway
Turner Broadcasting

Initially, Caughlan had raised money to have Adrian Malone produce a television series about international environmental issues based on The Global 2000 Report to the President. Michael Tobias was then hired. However, due to illness, Malone dropped out. So the project morphed into making a 10-hour dramatic mini-series based on the Tobias novel of the same name, instead. Caughlan, as a General Partner, then assembled the additional needed funds and resources, including talent (William Shatner) and broadcaster (Ted Turner).

William Shatner and Yaka the killer whale

William Shatner and CaughlanAbove (left to right): William Shatner and Rob Caughlan watching Yaka the Killer Whale

In 1987, Rob Caughlan orchestrated a publicity event with William Shatner to promote the Endangered Species Preservation Program. He arranged for “Captain Kirk” to not only get a kiss but also a ride from Yaka the killer whale at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California.

Later, Caughlan coordinated another Shatner publicity event with Shatner:

William Shatner and Koko the gorilla

William Shatner and KokoAbove: Koko the gorilla and William Shatner

"In 1988 to help the Gorilla Foundation encourage Californians to contribute to its Endangered Species Campaign I was permitted to visit Koko the gorilla in her quarters." – Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner

Koko let Bill know that she was looking for a mate by pulling him towards her while he was in her room. How could the media resist?

Roanoke Company logo

1973 - 2006: The Roanoke Company

The Roanoke Company, founded by Rob Caughlan and the late David Oke, was an advertising company oriented towards public service.

The company name was a combination of Caughlan's first name of “Rob” and David's surname “Oke”, as in “Ro an' Oke.” Also, they liked the history and the mystery of the Roanoke Colony which was set up in 1584 on Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina. The colonists disappeared sometime after 1587. No one knows what happened to them and they are still known as “The Lost Colony.”

Although Marcel Hernandez was also a partner in the beginning – he ran off on a trip around the world with his girlfriend (who is now his wife of many years). Their other partner J.B. Moore came along a few years later and became, as he jokes, the “token MBA” of the company. (read more...)

California Highway PatrolAbove (top to bottom): billboard, magazine ad, and decal created by the Roanoke Company for the Motorcycle Safety campaign
Endangered Species of CaliforniaAbove: poster created by the Roanoke Company for the Endangered Species of California campaign

1986-1996: California Highway Patrol

For a decade the Roanoke Company managed all the media for the California Highway Patrol motorcycle safety program. They had billboards made and ran magazine ads. Nothing was too small to get the point across.

Their campaigns helped reduce motorcycle fatality in California by 70%. (read more...)

California Department of Fish and Game

The Roanoke Company also won a contract with the California Department of Fish and Game to promote their Endangered Species Preservation Program. They worked on it for six years and during that time they raised $7 million for the program.

Save Our Coast

In 1986, Save Our Coast (SOC) was formed in San Mateo County to sponsor Measure A which called for the prohibition of onshore oil facilities for offshore drilling and to also create strong protections for rural areas along the coast. The Roanoke Company handled the media end of their campaign. Measure A won with 63% of the vote.

Then, in 1992, Save Our Coast again campaigned and led the environmental fight to defeat Measure D. This Measure was asking for a highway bypass to be built around the Devil's Slide region along coastal Route 1 between Pacifica and Montara. (This section of road had a long history of closure due to rockslides and land slippage.) Environmentalists argued that two inland tunnels were a better option and Measure D was turned down by 82% of the vote. Measure T was then introduced asking voters for the environmentally friendly tunnels and 74% of the voters approved.

“Buckminster Fuller disproved a historic ‘truth’ about his geodesic domes. He showed that his dome was actually stronger than all of the individual parts. The same strategy must be employed in an integrated media campaign.” - Rob Caughlan

Caughlan on PSA Fish and Game: “Television stations used to be required to run a small number of public service messages every week. (Ronald Reagan removed that requirement.) Sometimes they ran at good hours, but most often they ran in the middle of the night along with the fast talking Ginsu Knife type of ads. JB Moore came up with the idea of doing our own version of a fast talking ad. I'm sorry I can't find the name of the actor who did the fast 'sales pitch' – he did it in two takes!”

Solar Energy - The Great AdventureAbove: poster for Solar Energy - The Great Adventure

1979: Solar Energy - The Great Adventure

Environmental Protection Agency
starring Eddie Albert
winner: CINE 1979 The Golden Eagle

Rob Caughlan was a Special Assistant to the Deputy Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and working on the Solar Task Force. The head of the Public Affairs Office came to him and said that the Department of Energy (DOE) wanted to produce a film about solar energy.

Caughlan was asked if he had any ideas. He wrote a treatment and turned it in. A basic script came back to him and he made a few revisions. He then saw a rough cut of the film and was pleased. He approved the continuation of the project because he knew that environmentalists, like himself, would be happy with its message.

Solar Energy - The Great Adventure premiered in the home of James Schlesinger, the head of the DOE at the time. Rob's credit line was EPA. It was the federal government's top film that year and it won a CINE 1979 Golden Eagle for "its excellence to represent the United States of America in international motion picture events abroad." (read more...)

National Sam Ervin Fan ClubAbove: Uncle Sam Ervin membership card, club paraphernalia tag (yellow) and button

1972-73: Effort to impeach Richard Nixon

Rob Caughlan, David Oke, and six others started the National Sam Ervin Fan Club. (At the time, Sam Ervin was the chair of the Senate Watergate Committee.) They ended up with 75,000 members and sold 10,000 Uncle Sam T-shirts. Then they organized "The Impeachment Ball" to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Common Cause to help in the impeachment effort.

"I was one of the founders of the National Sam Ervin Fan Club. A small group of friends started it to support Senator Ervin’s investigation into Richard Nixon and the Watergate crimes. We ended with with about 75,000 card carrying members. I made a speech at one of the Senator’s dinners in Morganton and when he passed away I was honored to write a tribute to him in his hometown paper. He was a great man who stepped up when his country needed him the most." - Robert Caughlan

Rob and David were having so much fun with the projects that they decided to start the Roanoke Company. (read more...)