Biography of Michael Fenenback
In a career that spans over four decades, Michael Fenenbock has successfully provided his tactical expertise to major American political campaigns ranging from President to key legislative elections to ballot issues.
Lauded as a strategist and acclaimed as a master at delivering a concise, pointed message, Fenenbock is President of the multi-award winning political strategy and media firm, Fenenbock Group (formerly MAX Films).
During his many years in the arena of political media campaigns, Michael earned respect as a “Renaissance Man” who brought an added element to his work. Not only did Michael insist that his ads communicate a focused message, he has become highly regarded for his media campaign’s high end production values . . . seamlessly melding message, image, music and graphics.
Widely sought out as an advisor, Michael continues to encourage political media professionals to reject stale political genre advertising; insisting that voter rejection and distrust of political genre ads costs campaigns both money and votes.
Those tenets of focused message and high production quality extend to the work he is now leading at Fenenbock Group with a special emphasis on Spanish language communications.
The son of UCLA and NFL football great Chuck Fenenbock, Michael was born and raised in Southern California.
BA – American History. San Francisco State University. 1970
MA - American History. San Francisco State University. 1972
Ph.D. (ABD) - American History. University of Colorado. 1974
Early Political Staff Positions
Fenenbock has served on the staff or as advisor to numerous prominent American political figures.
- Kennedy ’68 (Berkeley, California Campaign Coordinator. Robert F. Kennedy For President.)
- McGovern ’72 (Democratic National Convention. George McGovern for President.)
- Pat Williams ’77 - ’78 (Press Secretary. Pat Williams for Congress.)
- Tom Judge ’79 – ’80 (Press Secretary. Montana Governor Tom Judge.)
- Kennedy ’80 (Deputy Western States Coordinator, Senior Campaign Staff, and Democratic National Convention staff. Edward M. Kennedy for President.)
- John Melcher ’80 – ’82 (Press secretary and Chief Political Aide. U.S. Senator John Melcher.)
- Ted Kennedy ’82 (Political Director, Democratic Party Mini-Convention. U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy.)
In ’83 –’84, Michael directed the campaigns for three high-profile and heavily contested races for Governor.
- Evelyn Gandy in Mississippi. (Campaign Manager, Gandy for Governor.)
- Wayne Townsend in Indiana. (Campaign Manager, Towsend for Governor.)
- Anthony Solomon in Rhode Island. (Campaign Manager, Solomon for Governor.)
Returning to Washington, DC in 1985, Fenenbock established his own political media firm.
Over the years, his firm has provided strategic direction and television/radio production for clients ranging from President, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, as well as statewide offices, ballot initiatives, independent expenditure committees, and key legislative races.
Michael, along with his wife Daphne Weisbart, are active in the pro-Israel community. They spend time in Jerusalem. Michael has written extensively about Israel and both Michael and Daphne have worked in concert with several Israeli political leaders. Michael and Daphne established both “The 18” and “DeNukeIran.”
Michael is a pioneer who has long recognized the dramatic power and strategic importance of Spanish language media. He and his wife Daphne Weisbart are legends in the world of Spanish language media where they are celebrated for their culturally connected, ethnically respectful, and linguistically nuanced Spanish language ad campaigns.
A partial client list includes:
California Task Force for the Homeless
Rural Americans for Fairness
Coalition for New Priorities
National Association of Realtors
Consumers for Responsible Government
Citizens for Government Accountability
California Firefighters Association
California Nurses Association
Ed Pittman for Governor (Mississippi)
John Evans for Governor (Idaho)
Kathy Karpan for Governor (Wyoming)
Mike Barnes for Senate (Maryland)
Mike Sullivan for Governor (Wyoming)
Jack Mudd for U.S. Senate (Montana)
Congressman Jim Costa (California)
Congressman Dennis Cardoza (California)
Jack Martin for Congress (New York)
Senator John Flanagan (New York)
Senator Steve Saland (New York)
Senator Nick Spano (New York)
Senator John Bonacic (New York)
Representative Mike Veon (Pennsylvania)
Senator Dan McCorquodale (California)
Senator Ruben Ayala (California)
Senator Rusty Areias (California)
Senator Wesley Chesbro (California)
Senator Lou Correa (California)
Senator Betty Karnette (California)
Assemblymember Anna Caballero (Caifornia)
Assemblymember Simon Salinas (California)
Arieh Eldad (Israel)
Westlands Water District (California)
San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority (California)
Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
El Agua es Asunto de Todos (California)
El Agua es Nuestro Futuro (California)
and many more.
Fenenbock Group has won an impressive number of awards. More importantly their clients have enjoyed a remarkable success rate.
In addition to political campaign work Fenenbock and Fenenbock Group (as MAX Films) have produced:
- Come Fly With Me: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra
- All About Dogs (A half-hour television pilot)
- Hatikvah: Portraits from the New Israeli Right
- Never Surrender (A short film illuminating the plight of Latino farmworkers in California’s San Joaquin Valley.)
In 1999 Fenenbock published a book detailing his father’s career in American football, titled Fireworks Everytime He Touched the Ball.
Fenenbock married Daphne Weisbart in 1988.
Daphne and Michael live today with a houseful of bird dogs (Vizslas to be precise) and split their time between California and New York.
Fenenbock, Michael and Barrett, Evan, "Biography of Michael Fenenback" (2016). Biographies and Photos of Series Participants. 39.