Indiana University
Walter Gantz

Walter Gantz

Professor & Department Chair,
The Media School

Radio-TV Center, Room 264
(812) 855-1621

gantz 'at'


  • BA: Speech and Radio-TV, Brooklyn College, 1968
  • MA: Speech and Radio-TV, University of Michigan, 1972
  • PhD: Communications, Michigan State University, 1975

  • Research Interests:

    I'm particularly interested in studying the uses and effects of the media in everyday life, focusing on the ways in which media fit into family life. I’ve conducted a number of studies about sports fanship (which certainly can have a role in family relationships!) and am currently interested in how sports fanship changes over the course of one’s life. I use an empirical approach to addressing research questions, relying on survey, lab experimentation, and content analytic methods.

    Current and Recent Teaching Activity:

    I enjoy teaching a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses although as department Chair, my teaching is limited to one course each semester. Right now, I rotate through two advanced undergraduate courses: T441 – Advanced Advertising Strategies and T445:-- Sports and Television

    Beyond these formal courses, I serve as faculty mentor for a group of IU undergraduates participating in an annual, year-long – and very intense – advertising competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation. In 1997, we finished second in regional competition, losing by a whisker to a much larger group of students from Michigan State University. In 2000, our team won our region and placed second nationally, a wonderful experience!  We reached the nationals again in 2008.

    Relevant Experience:

    I've been teaching since 1968, beginning with a two year stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India. Before coming to IU in 1979, I taught for four years at the University of Buffalo in its Department of Communication – and, on the side, served as UB’s varsity cross-country coach for two years. I've been conducting research since I began graduate school and, in addition to doing academic research, have served as a research consultant for a number of radio and television stations, cable franchises, and advertisers seeking additional information about their target audiences. To gain real world insights for my advertising courses, I've walked the streets with advertising sales reps, talked with advertising sales managers, sat in on sales meetings, and held a mid-career internship at a major ad agency in New York City.

    Approach to Work:

    I like to hang out at my office and, other than when I'm swimming, can be found in the office throughout the day. As such, I'm available to talk and work with students. I approach each course I teach as serious business and expect each student to do the same. Students say I'm demanding. I like that, as long as I'm also considered fair.

    Now, in my 34rd year at IU, I still feel very positively about my department, IU, and Bloomington. The department has a dedicated and wonderful faculty and terrific, state-of-the-art production and research facilities. And, IU, with its strengths in so many areas of inquiry, is a great university. (Family commitment on this: before she retired, my wife worked as an associate director in IU's Office of Admissions; our daughter completed her BA at IU, majoring in Spanish and Psychology; our son completed his BFA here [in painting, a program in IU's School of Fine Arts].)

    Finally, I'm also delighted to serve as Chair of my department. To me, that means working for students and faculty (and alums, too), trying to make the most of everyone's experience with and in the department. As Chair, my door is open to you. Feel free to stop in or, if it's easier, drop me an e-mail note at gantz [at]