Listen to Learn:
Lance Turner joined Arkansas Business as a reporter in 1999 and became online editor in 2000. In that role, he oversees all Web content for Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock, which produces websites, magazines and newspapers in Arkansas, including Arkansas Business, Little Rock Soirée, Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride, Guest Guide to Greater Little Rock, Arkansas Next: A Guide to Life After High School and Greenhead. Arkansas Business Publishing Group has more than 70 employees in Little Rock.
Much of Turner’s time is spent writing and editing daily news at ArkansasBusiness.com, which includes the Daily Report and Morning Roundup e-newsletters.
Turner also produces the Arkansas Business news report that airs at weekdays on “THV 11 This Morning.” And, from time to time, he's a panelist on AETN’s weekly public affairs program, “Arkansas Week.”
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:09.2] G: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and always informative weekly blog. There, you'll read, learn and may comment about her life as a 21st wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur.
Now, it's time for Kerry to get all up in your business.
[0:00:41.6] KM: Thank you, son Gray. This show Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy began as a calling. After four decades of running a small business, I felt I had something to share. I wanted to create a platform for not just me, but for other business owners and successful people to pay forward their experiential knowledge in a conversational way. If you miss any part of today's show, or want to hear it again, there's a way. Gray will tell you how.
[0:01:05.7] G: Listen to all Up In your Business past and present interviews by going to flagandbanner.com and clicking on Radio Show, or subscribe to our podcasts wherever you like to listen, by searching Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. Also, you may simply like flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page to watch our live stream and receive timely notifications of upcoming guests. Back to you, Kerry.
[0:01:28.0] KM: Thank you again, Gray. My guest today is Mr. Lance Turner, online editor of Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1999, Lance began working for Arkansas Business as a reporter. It wasn't long before he was recognized as a star. His intellect and willingness to work hard garnered him a promotion to overseer of all web content for the many magazines and newspapers of said publishing group. Some of which are Arkansas Business Magazine, Little Rock Soiree, Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride and Greenhead.
You may have seen Lance on THV 11 this morning with his weekday news report, or as a guest panelist on AETN’s Arkansas Week, a public affairs program. What do you really know about this familiar face in our community? If you search his name online, he's everywhere talking about news and politics, but never about himself. Who is Lance Turner? He's laughing and chuckling to himself. Well, today we're going to find out. It's a pleasure to welcome to the table the mysterious, well-read and hard-working online editor of Arkansas Business Publishing, Mr. Lance Turner.
[0:02:47.7] LT: Wow. I'm curious now. I want to know about me.
[0:02:52.3] KM: It's true.
[0:02:53.5] LT: Yeah.
[0:02:54.6] KM: Ain’t it?
[0:02:55.5] LT: In terms of what I post and put out there and stuff?
[0:02:58.0] KM: Mm-hmm.
[0:02:58.5] LT: Yeah, I’m not really – I don't know. I'm not an over-sharer, I would say.
[0:03:03.7] KM: Over-sharer.
[0:03:05.3] LT: I’m not one of those oversharing people. I don't want to be that. I think that's irritating sometimes.
[0:03:12.1] KM: I think you might be talking bad about me, because I think I’m an over-sharer.
[0:03:16.3] LT: No, no, no, no. I’m saying for me. I’m saying for me. If I were to over-share it would be irritating in knowing because –
[0:03:21.2] KM: No, I agree completely. I don't want to know what everybody's eating for dinner and I don't know when they went to Walmart and what they bought at Walmart. That’s oversharing.
[0:03:27.9] LT: There are fascinating people out there, believe me.
[0:03:29.5] KM: - it’s exhausting.
[0:03:30.2] LT: I do want to hear about them and I'm obsessed with the minutia of their lives sometimes, because they do cool things and they go to cool places. There are those people that I want to know about. I don't know that I'm that person. There are a lot of other stories in Arkansas and Little Rock and in business that are way more interesting than mine. It's our job at Arkansas Business to share those stories.
[0:03:54.6] KM: You’re a true reporter.
[0:03:56.4] LT: Well, I try to –
[0:03:57.0] KM: You are always on the outside, or are you on the inside? Reporters, you never really know much about reporters. You always know about the guests that they're interviewing. That's the sign of a good reporter.
[0:04:10.2] LT: That's good.
[0:04:11.1] KM: It is. I don't want to hear about the reporter when they've got somebody on. I never knew anything about Matt Lowry till he got in trouble for to –
[0:04:19.0] LT: You learn too much about Matt Lowry, right? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
[0:04:23.3] KM: Or my other favorite.
[0:04:25.8] LT: Oh, Charlie Rose.
[0:04:26.6] KM: Charlie Rose.
[0:04:26.8] LT: Probably. Yeah, that was a blow. I didn't like that at all.
[0:04:29.9] KM: He may have been my favorite talk show on –
[0:04:32.9] LT: I love the Charlie Rose. I still watch the clips. I mean –
[0:04:34.9] KM: I do too.
[0:04:35.5] LT: On YouTube. I mean, interviewed a lot of great people and had great conversations.
[0:04:40.0] KM: I write him letters.
[0:04:41.2] LT: Oh, really?
[0:04:41.6] KM: I do. I try to e-mail him. When I went to New York, I asked him if he'd see me. He never answers me. I'm serious. I do that. I love Charlie Rose.
[0:04:50.1] LT: That maybe for the best. Maybe for the best.
[0:04:52.5] KM: He’s too old to be trouble. I can handle him anyway. All right, let's talk about you. Actually, I do know you. I know your wife. You come to Dancing into Dreamland. You've been a great supporter of Dancing into Dreamland. I know your wife, Laura. I remember when you had your baby. How old is she?
[0:05:11.4] LT: That’s right. She’s five. She’s not a baby anymore.
[0:05:14.0] KM: Well, that's pretty young. You’re right. Not baby, baby. Elizabeth?
[0:05:18.1] LT: That's right.
[0:05:19.6] KM: Talk about fatherhood.
[0:05:21.2] LT: Well, oh, my gosh. Well, I don't have it figured out, I can tell you that. I mean, and that's one thing you learn pretty quick is that you're probably never going to figure it out, to be honest. Maybe you do. Maybe you have this great epiphany toward the end. I don't have it figured out yet. That's also part of the fun is watching this person grow up and getting to help this person introduce them to the world and stuff. I mean, she notices new things every day, which is really great. You'll talk to her about things and you'll introduce – you just offhandedly, accidentally introduce her to a new concept, something that you take completely for granted that you know about, that you do every day. You can tell that she has never noticed that before. Didn't know about it and then a little light comes on.
She might repeat the word that you said and in a way that you know that she's taking it in. She's recording it in some way and going to remember it. Those are fun moments. Then just having a good time and getting to relive a little bit of your childhood through her too, which is – that's really fun. Christmases get really fun again. Christmases get a little boring, I think in a part of your life. Then when you have kids, man, Christmases is awesome, and all those holidays and events and family events in milestones and stuff.
Then you have the thing where she would just will not go to sleep at night. She will not go to bed and she wants to keep coming down the stairs and talking to you and your wife and you're just like, “It's time to go to bed now. Can you please go to bed? We would like to have an hour where we are just chilling and maybe not being mom and dad for a little bit.” It's great. It's fantastic. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me.
[0:06:56.9] KM: Don't you wish you had that zest for life that you never wanted to go to sleep? You just couldn't – just always had something.
[0:07:02.8] LT: The energy level is just ridiculous.
[0:07:04.7] KM: There's so much, like you said, they're just dying to get up. You met your wife, Laura, where?
[0:07:10.8] LT: I met her through a friend who was working at Arkansas Business, Chip Taulbee. He was an associate publisher for Wild Arkansas Business. Chip and Laura went to Hendricks College together. I was hanging out at Chip’s one night and he said, “Hey, I got a friend coming over, Laura. Maybe you want to meet her.” “Sure.” She came over and we all went out that night and then asked her out and then after that, it was off to the races and so long.
[0:07:36.9] KM: Oh, really?
[0:07:37.1] LT: Yeah, yeah.
[0:07:37.4] KM: Didn’t take it long.
[0:07:38.0] LT: Did not take very long at all. Yeah. When you know, you know.
[0:07:42.6] KM: What school did you go to? If she went to Hendricks, what college is your alma mater?
[0:07:46.1] LT: I went to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
[0:07:48.3] KM: Did you want to be a newsman?
[0:07:49.9] LT: Always. Yeah, I think so. I always want to be involved in it.
[0:07:53.8] KM: Really?
[0:07:54.7] LT: I'm extremely lucky that I have always known the space that I wanted to work in.
[0:08:01.0] KM: You are lucky for that reason.
[0:08:02.6] LT: There are a lot of people who don't know that.
[0:08:04.3] KM: Won't ever know.
[0:08:05.3] LT: Right. Yeah.
[0:08:07.5] KM: Your parents were in the business? How did you know?
[0:08:10.9] LT: No. My dad was an electrician and my mother worked – was assistant director at our church's Child Development Center, daycare and preschool.
[0:08:21.5] KM: You would watch the news?
[0:08:23.4] LT: I did. Yeah. I watched the news and read the papers and back when there were two papers. I'd be in my room and I’d type up little weather reports and I'd stand in front of my closet door in front of a map and give the weather and do all that stuff. Then later on, my sister and I with the tape recorder, we'd make our own little radio shows and all that business. I was always just playing around that and drawing and writing.
As soon as I got in high school and there was a journalism program at North Pulaski High School, I was on the staff of the free spirit and was writing and reporting and became editor and then it came time to figure out where I was going to go to college. ASU was and still is known for its journalism program, journalism and broadcasting and radio and printing and all that. Went there and took the tour. Man, just fell in love. Walked into that college of communications and just like, “This is it, man. This is where I want to be.” Yeah, did that.
[0:09:25.5] KM: Did you think you'd be in front of the camera, or behind the camera writing?
[0:09:29.8] LT: At first, I didn't know. The way those programs were structured back then and it's changed now as it should, you had to pick your path. You had to go print journalism, or you had to go broadcast journalism. Never the twain really met. You choose one of the other. I went ahead and picked print, because I just – I love writing, I love reporting, I love doing all the stuff you had to do to put out a paper back then. I love the pagination and designing the pages and budgeting the stories and figuring out what was going to go where and how you're going to play different stories and the photography and all that stuff and assigning stories and all that. That was really uniquely part of print journalism. I chose that route.
[0:10:14.2] KM: It's very layered.
[0:10:15.6] LT: Yes. Yeah, there's a lot of different stuff that goes into it.
[0:10:18.3] KM: You’ve got to think – it’s very creative to lay it all out and make it all come together at one time.
[0:10:23.2] LT: Yes. Yeah.
[0:10:24.5] KM: What about if you had to put up a newspaper together every day? How did those people do it?
[0:10:30.2] LT: I don't know. It's a big job.
[0:10:32.8] KM: How often does your magazine come out?
[0:10:34.5] LT: We're weekly. We're weekly. We've got it pretty easy compared to the daily folks for sure. I mean, if you’ve ever seen the movie The Paper, with Robert Duvall and Michael Keaton, it's a great newspaper film. They talk about you start from zero every day. That's what you do every day is a blank slate. You start from zero and you fill it.
[0:10:53.6] KM: You graduate from Arkansas State. You go out and start applying for jobs. Is the job you've got with the company you're at now, or is that this company you first got a job out of college, or where was your first job?
[0:11:07.7] LT: It is. Well, so I interned at the Jacksonville Patriot Newspaper while I was in college. I did a couple summers there. That was owned by McGee Enterprises, the McGee family out of Northern Pulaski County. Mainly around Cabot. The Cabot Star-Herald had a bunch of papers, the Lonoke Democrat and the Carlisle paper, I think.
I interned there. Then coming out of college when it was time to graduate, what it boiled down to was Arkansas State had an alumnus, Jeff Hankins. He was a graduate of Arkansas State and a Herald editor, editor of the paper there. I met him. He was at Arkansas Publishing Group as a publisher and editor of Arkansas Business and had been for a while.
[0:11:53.4] KM: I thought it was a woman.
[0:11:55.5] LT: Well, Olivia Farrell owned the company. She was the CEO.
[0:11:59.3] KM: She started it. Did she?
[0:12:01.8] LT: Yes. There's a lot of history there that we could talk about. Yes, she was pretty much started Arkansas Business Publishing Group in the mid-90s.
[0:12:09.8] KM: It was this publisher that you met as an alumnus.
[0:12:12.9] LT: Yes. Jeff Hankins, who is now at the Arkansas State University System. Anyway, met with Jeff. Really liked Jeff. We hit it off pretty well. It boiled down to I had an offer from Jeff to work it Arkansas Business. I had some things going with the Democratic Gazette on the sports desk, which is really funny looking back. Then also with the Jonesboro Sun. That was my three possibilities there.
[0:12:35.7] KM: You're working three part-time jobs.
[0:12:38.4] LT: No. Well, I had a – in terms of – I had interviews.
[0:12:41.4] KM: You had three options. You had three options.
[0:12:42.9] LT: That’s right. I had interviews with those three. Yeah. I really have only had two jobs in my life, but three if you count the hardware job at Sutherlands in high school. Yeah, so it boiled down to Democrat Gazette and Jonesboro Sun and Arkansas Business and I chose Arkansas Business.
[0:13:00.8] KM: I got you.
[0:13:01.6] LT: I liked Arkansas Business, because number one, the Jeff Hankins connection, but also appealed to me because it was a different journalism job. It was really weird for journalism, because it was a 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday job, which was when you're coming out of journalism school, that's going to be pretty rare. Most of the time, you're going to be taking the really crappy working nights and weekends, general assignment reporter jobs, but this was different. There was long-form writing that I could do. I got to write the media column called Outtakes. I had my own column to start off with.
[0:13:36.0] KM: What's a media column?
[0:13:38.6] LT: In Arkansas Business, to this day we have a column called Outtakes and it covers the media industry in Arkansas.
[0:13:45.2] KM: Movie reviews?
[0:13:46.3] LT: No. We're talking radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, the media business, the business of the media in Arkansas is what that – is that beat of that column, which was – ad agencies as well, all the businesses tied to marketing firms and ad firms. I got to cover all of that, which was fantastic. As someone who grew up loving media and being a media junkie, man. I eat that up with a spoon. All of that made for a really appealing package to start a career in journalism. I was very fortunate.
[0:14:17.9] KM: You started in 1999.
[0:14:19.5] LT: Yes.
[0:14:21.4] KM: Was only a reporter.
[0:14:22.9] LT: Yes.
[0:14:23.9] KM: For a year.
[0:14:24.8] LT: Thereabouts.
[0:14:27.5] KM: They saw your hard work ethic.
[0:14:29.6] LT: I think so. Yeah.
[0:14:31.3] KM: They offered you a new position that had never existed?
[0:14:34.9] LT: That's right.
[0:14:35.8] KM: Because it was the beginning of –
[0:14:37.3] LT: It was the beginning of the web really. We had a website that was really just pretty basic, for even then, where we put a few stories from our print edition of every week. Jeff Hankins had this vision for a much grander online operation, one that would do daily news, so daily breaking business news throughout the day. The key piece was an e-newsletter component.
We would e-mail e-newsletters to subscribers every day, a daily e-newsletter that would have the latest business news stories in it. We would go from publishing once a week in print to once a week in print, but also five days a week on this e-newsletter product.
[0:15:16.6] KM: Well, they weren't your easy life.
[0:15:18.0] LT: Yes. The schedule drastically changed. It was a good time to be doing it, because we were all making stuff up along the way, because there really weren't a lot of easy templates for some of this stuff. We were among the first, maybe the first with a daily news, e-newsletter product in Arkansas. Certainly if we weren't the first, we were among the first. Yeah, it was a whole new way of doing news, business news.
[0:15:43.5] KM: You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with Mr. Lance Turner, online editor for Arkansas Business Publications, which include Arkansas Business Magazine, Little Rock Soiree, Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride and Greenhead. Is Greenhead a hunting magazine?
[0:15:59.3] LT: Duck hunting magazine.
[0:16:00.6] KM: That's what I figured that Greenhead stood for. I didn't think it somebody was envious. Oh.
[0:16:06.6] LT: That's good.
[0:16:07.5] KM: Thanks. Talk about the discipline of this job. You get up in the morning and do what?
[0:16:12.9] LT: Well, I get up about 5:30 and then I head just straight to channel 11. I have a segment there. It's about 6:20, 6:25, I think. Do two or three minutes of business headlines, the day's business headlines.
[0:16:26.7] KM: Where do you get your business headlines from? The night before, or that morning when you get up at 5:30?
[0:16:31.1] LT: Most of the time, I've written it before I left work, or before I leave work the day before. There are times if news demands, you add to it and whatnot. Yeah, it's business –
[0:16:41.7] KM: Do you look at the paper, or online news before you leave the house?
[0:16:46.2] LT: Yeah, I do. I don't always do it, which I should. I should say that I roll out of bed and check Twitter immediately and I just – I can't make myself do that. I just can't. I cannot do it. It's too much. Often before I go on, I try to get a read on walking in the studio what's been happening overnight. I'll check Twitter usually just to make sure you know what’s what.
[0:17:07.5] KM: What time did you say you go on?
[0:17:09.9] LT: About 6:24, or 6:25, something like that.
[0:17:12.5] KM: Well, not to be exact. 6:24 or 6:25.
[0:17:15.1] LT: Well, but they're exact though. I mean, that's usually when it's been hitting at least.
[0:17:17.3] KM: You speak for three minutes?
[0:17:18.8] LT: Thereabouts.
[0:17:19.4] KM: Do you do another bum, or is that the only one you do?
[0:17:22.0] LT: That's the only one I do. I do that bump there and then I'm off to work.
[0:17:26.3] KM: Then you get to work at probably 7:00.
[0:17:29.4] LT: About 6:40, 6:45 or so.
[0:17:32.5] KM: Get your coffee.
[0:17:33.1] LT: Get my coffee and then I start working on our first e-newsletter of the day. We have a morning newsletter that we put out, called The Morning Roundup. It's an aggregated look at business news. It's a digest, I guess really. I take a survey. That's when I really do my survey of what's happened the night before in the world of business news. I check Wall Street Journal. I check all the local papers. I check Bloomberg, CNBC. I searched for Walmart, Tyson Foods, Windstream, all of our local companies ,just to see what's happening, if anything's developed overnight. Then I'll write that newsletter up and I try to send that sometime between 8:00 and 8:30. Then I take a breather for a little bit and then we start working on our noon daily report e-newsletter and that's the flagship news product that we put out on a daily basis online.
[0:18:26.5] KM: What's the first one called?
[0:18:28.3] LT: The first one's called The Morning Roundup.
[0:18:30.1] KM: Then the second one is called the?
[0:18:31.4] LT: The Daily Report.
[0:18:32.6] KM: Is there a third one?
[0:18:34.6] LT: No, but there are about 20 weekly e-newsletters that we do as well. Those are around topics of interest. Maybe you don't want to get daily reports from us every day. Maybe you are just intensely interested in banking and finance news in Arkansas. You can subscribe to our banking and finance e-newsletter and you get that – actually that one goes twice a week, but you can get that twice a week, or another industry once a week, that is an aggregate digest and some new stuff of all of our coverage up to that point.
[0:19:07.5] KM: Is that why you say that you are the online editor for all of Arkansas publishing, because it's not like – Soirée has a e-blast and Little Rock Family has an e-blast and Arkansas Bride has a e-blast. It's because Arkansas Business has all these categories?
[0:19:22.9] LT: No. Those products do have their own e-newsletters.
[0:19:25.4] KM: Do you manage those too?
[0:19:26.8] LT: Really, no. At a high-level, I support those editors. We get together on a monthly basis and talk about each of those products and how we can make those products better. Each of those products have their own editor and they each do their own newsletters. They have different frequencies. Soirée has a daily one. Little Rock Families comes out twice a week. Bride is very, I think very specific around when your wedding date is.
[0:19:54.7] KM: Seasonal.
[0:19:55.7] LT: Yes. You could say that.
[0:19:57.5] KM: Then Greenhead, seasonal probably too.
[0:19:59.8] LT: Yes. Greenhead is an annual magazine. Its website is year-round, but –
[0:20:04.3] KM: How many e-blasts do you manage a week, just adding that up? Because we do how many, Gray? Just to wrap our head around it. I want to hear how many Lance does, because it's just going to blow me away I bet.
[0:20:18.4] G: Five, I believe. It’s what Flag and Banner does totally.
[0:20:22.2] KM: Which is about one every day. It's a big deal. You're doing two in the morning, two a day.
[0:20:27.8] LT: Two a day, plus another –
[0:20:30.1] KM: Plus all those categories.
[0:20:31.8] LT: Plus all the 20 some-odd categories.
[0:20:33.3] KM: How many employees do you have helping you do that?
[0:20:35.5] LT: Well, I have myself and then I have another reporter, Sarah Campbell Miller, who works on the web half her time and on the print edition half her time. I have another person who works for me full-time, but also spends a lot of time working on a lot of our other products, getting them online and managing their websites. Then we have Arkansas business staff, which is six or seven full-time people. They all help me contribute as well to the web. That's the idea. It's not a big staff.
[0:21:05.8] KM: No, it's not. It's a lot of work.
[0:21:08.6] LT: It is. It's a lot of work.
[0:21:09.9] KM: How fast do you think you read? Sounds like you’re a speed reader.
[0:21:14.2] LT: I got to be. Yeah. In my daily news consumption. Now when I'm reading a novel or something, I'm pretty slow. When I'm scanning news, I mean, I'm – news stories have a formula to them. You know they have their own rhythm and stuff, so you can know where to look for the important things and pick them out. I know what I'm looking forward. I'm scanning different news sources and stuff. I can get through things pretty quickly. I miss stuff all the time too.
[0:21:39.0] KM: What do you think about fake news? What keeps you from doing fake news, from publishing fake news?
[0:21:45.2] LT: That it's fake and bad for our democracy.
[0:21:46.4] KM: How can you tell? How can you tell?
[0:21:49.2] LT: How can you tell if it's fake?
[0:21:50.2] KM: Yes.
[0:21:51.3] LT: Well, we have a – Right now, our editor Gwen Moritz has a presentation she's been making to Rotary clubs and other groups across the state about fake news. I've done a few of them when she can't do them. There's different types of fake news. There's just out-and-out lies. That's the National Enquirer stuff, for the star tabloids stuff.
[0:22:10.3] KM: You know those are? Yes.
[0:22:12.5] LT: You do know those are. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's the trick is that you've got to learn about biased news, you have to be able to differentiate between opinion, analysis and straight news. You have to trust a few key sources and then you have to also be willing to be well-read and read a lot of different sources to get a full picture of what's going on. When you're watching news on cable news particularly, you have to watch for certain key things that are tells, in terms of whether this is fake, or suspect, or they just don't know yet and they're speculating. There's all those kinds of things that you got to be aware of. People aren't educated really to know that in many cases.
[0:22:55.8] KM: There’s a lot of speculating, because there's so many people on TV, so many news channels on TV, they've got so much airtime to burn. It seems like, they just get on there and randomly talk about speculation.
[0:23:09.8] LT: I don't have cable TV in my home. I would encourage that for most people to not just –
[0:23:18.0] KM: Really?
[0:23:18.3] LT: Yeah. It's why is it necessary? I think on balance, it's more bad than good. I mean, I just –
[0:23:26.4] KM: Do you have straight TV for 7/11?
[0:23:29.3] LT: I do. Yeah, we have a – I mean, we have an antenna. We’re those people who've cut the cable, cut the cord or whatever. I keep the networks, and so I watch my local news obviously. I'll dip into some national news. A lot of that's just – it's on at a time of the day when I'm dealing with my daughter and my family and stuff, so I don’t get to see a lot.
[0:23:46.2] KM: If you want to record a show that comes on on 4, 7 or 11 and you don't have the DVR option on your cable, what do you do?
[0:23:55.3] LT: I don't record anything. I mean, I –
[0:23:57.6] KM: If you want to record Dancing with the Stars, it ain't happening?
[0:23:59.7] LT: No, it's not. Yeah. No.
[0:24:01.4] KM: Oh, yeah. That’s the only reason –
[0:24:03.1] LT: I miss out on the Dancing with the Stars. We do make time for – we're making a lot of time these days for the American Ninja Warrior. We're big Ninja Warrior people.
[0:24:11.2] KM: It’s fun.
[0:24:11.9] LT: Yeah, my daughter loves it.
[0:24:13.2] KM: My grandkids love it. We watch it all the time.
[0:24:15.9] LT: Yeah, so it's appointment television. I mean, it's just like it used to be. I mean, if you want to watch a show, then be there when the show is on and watch the show. If you missed it, well, show it again eventually, right?
[0:24:24.2] KM: We got Netflix. You can stream everything.
[0:24:27.2] LT: We got the Netflix and we got the HBO and the –
[0:24:30.1] KM: What do you think about your industry as a whole?
[0:24:33.1] LT: In terms of?
[0:24:34.3] KM: Where it's going.
[0:24:35.8] LT: Well, that's the question, right? I mean, that's –
[0:24:38.2] KM: I mean, look at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. They’re going digital.
[0:24:40.6] LT: Yeah, ain’t that fantastic?
[0:24:41.5] KM: I think it’s great.
[0:24:43.0] LT: We got our iPad and we got our office iPad today in fact for our office subscription in the paper.
[0:24:46.9] KM: They're planning on having it all done by November. Cut the cord by November.
[0:24:50.9] LT: It's a bizarre feeling that –
[0:24:52.5] KM: For our listeners that don't know what we're talking about, our main newspaper here in really Arkansas, all of Arkansas, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, do you think they're a competitor of yours?
[0:25:02.5] LT: They can be. Yeah.
[0:25:04.8] KM: They have Walter Husband, the owner has decided to provide 11 million dollars in iPads to all the subscribers in the state of Arkansas.
[0:25:13.7] LT: I think that's the photo of the year was Walter Husband standing in the warehouse with all the iPads and boxes behind him. I think that was fantastic. That was a great image.
[0:25:21.4] KM: He's making a commitment to taking the paper digital. The only print you're going to get is on Sundays.
[0:25:28.7] LT: Yeah.
[0:25:29.7] KM: At first, I thought how am I going to share the paper with my husband? Then I thought, well, I have lots of iPads and stuff in the house. They tested it in Blytheville. I read in the paper that 30%, they expect 30% of people to drop off.
[0:25:48.5] LT: It's going to be interesting. Watching those renewals will be interesting too. It's one thing to get those subscribers. It's another thing to keep them. Of course, that's always the game in this business anyway, is the turn of subscribers. We were talking about that at the office today.
[0:26:01.8] KM: What?
[0:26:02.8] LT: In terms of digital subscribers. There was a report about the Los Angeles Times and how it's trying to, like everybody else make this digital transition. Its digital subscriber numbers came out and it was what – they were way below what they should have been. They're dealing with a lot of issues of churn and they signed up X number of people, and then X number of those people didn't renew. They got to figure out, “Well, what are we doing, or not doing to keep those subscribers?”
There's this whole strategy that you've got to employ that people are still trying to figure out in terms of how to reduce churn and keep subscribers. The communication you need to do to subscribers and what you need to give subscribers? That whole thing is an art and a science.
[0:26:46.9] KM: It'll be fun to watch. Do you think you'll ever go digital?
[0:26:49.8] LT: Maybe.
[0:26:50.5] KM: Completely digital?
[0:26:51.6] LT: Maybe. Maybe. I don't know. I think right now though, we really – I mean, we see a lot of future in print. We're doing a lot of – we've seen growth in print and where we've added – we've added titles in the past few years.
[0:27:07.0] KM: I agree.
[0:27:08.2] LT: Yeah. I'm trying to think. I'm trying to say this the correct way. If my publisher Mitch Bettis was here, he's got a great spiel in all this and can tell you about it. The goal for us is to diversify our sources of revenue. We've got this slice that's print and this slice that's subscription and this slice that's events and this slice that's something else. We have a web development company in our office as well. That's another slice. The proportions are going to change, but we want the pie to get – the pie itself to get bigger, the entire pie.
[0:27:43.2] KM: It's an enterprise of several businesses under one roof.
[0:27:46.0] LT: It is. It is. Yeah. A lot of publishers are having to think in those terms.
[0:27:50.8] KM: Creative.
[0:27:51.6] LT: Right. Yeah, yeah. You do. You got to be creative. Things that you used to say no to, well maybe you should think about it now.
[0:27:59.3] KM: I think people are tired of spam. I think people are ready to touch and hold some stuff. That's just my opinion. We've gone back to snail mail advertising.
[0:28:09.5] LT: Wow.
[0:28:10.6] KM: We're getting great results out of it. Oddly enough, it's cheaper than Google AdWords.
[0:28:17.5] LT: Wow.
[0:28:18.2] KM: Google AdWords are expensive these days.
[0:28:21.9] LT: I'm not on the business side of our operation obviously, but it's interesting times and everybody's trying to figure it out. We are all very proud and rooting for Walter Hussman. I mean, we need the Democrat-Gazette to be in Arkansas. We need it to do the good work that it's doing. You need a strong daily paper in your market to make your democracy work. You just need it. I hope it works out for them. I really do.
[0:28:46.5] KM: Yes, I do too. How do you balance your work and your family? When we start talking about your day, we got to two e-mails; one in the morning, the roundup, one at noon and then the afternoons. We never did finish out with your evenings. What time do you leave work?
[0:29:06.9] LT: I try to leave around 3:30.
[0:29:09.7] KM: Oh, that's good. I just assumed you were going to say – I know you get to work at 6:00, so that's perfect. I read about you online where you said you had a hard time when your baby was born, cutting the cord from work.
[0:29:24.5] LT: Yeah. That was a great motivator, right? I mean, I have to. I pick her up from school, so which is a great thing to be able to do. It keeps me – I mean, I'm a lot more efficient with my time than I used to be. Laura and I talk about this a lot. We used to waste a lot of time before we had a child. I mean, we had all this time sitting around. I don't even know what we were doing. That goes for work too, I think sometimes. Yeah, so 3:30 is when I'm trying to leave. Now there's some days when I do stay if something's happened.
News tends to break whenever it breaks. If a big story is happening, then I'll hang around for a little while. We've got a good staff. I mean, everybody on our staff, we've got a really experienced Arkansas business staff. People who've been there for literally decades.
[0:30:09.1] KM: The owner of your business just sold.
[0:30:11.0] LT: She sure did.
[0:30:11.5] KM: What happened to the staff when that happened? Did it scare everybody? She acts like it was a wonderful thing. She did it perfectly. I get the feeling she did. Yu tell me.
[0:30:19.7] LT: I think she did. Because these things don't often go well for the people who are left behind. You've got a generation of business general owners across the country who were reaching that retirement age. They're looking around to what am I going to do? Am I going to sell this? Who am I going to sell it to? There are not many buyers out there these days. The ones that are there aren't taking good care of the products, of the organizations that they buy.
[0:30:48.8] KM: Because they're stripping them of all their money and downsizing and they’re just taking the cash out of.
[0:30:54.1] LT: Yes. Mitch Bettis who's been our president and publisher since 2013, I believe, purchased it.
[0:31:02.2] KM: From Olivia.
[0:31:03.0] LT: From Olivia. There are other stockholders, but Olivia was the major owner there. It was great and everyone breathed the huge sigh of relief. I mean, it really was a nice moment and has been great. He's been running it the way he's wanted to run it for a while now anyway. There hasn't been any hard left or right turns since she's left. He hasn't drastically changed the scope of what we're doing. I mean, we've been doing it. It's been really great. It's really fantastic. She did a great job with unloading it for sure.
[0:31:38.4] KM: What are your plans? Are you going to work there for the rest of your life? You’ve had two jobs in your life.
[0:31:43.4] LT: Probably. Probably. Yeah. That's fine, because –
[0:31:46.6] KM: Is that your dream job? What is your dream job?
[0:31:50.7] LT: Well, I don't know. In a lot of ways, it has been my dream job, because I've been able to do a lot of cool things. I mean, I'm on daily television, which if I told this to myself when I was 10 or something, that would have been fantastic, right? Fantastic news that when I grow up, I get to be on local daily television every day. Then sometimes I get to be on Arkansas Week and sometimes I get to guest host Arkansas week, which is a crazy dream that I had when I was – I actually watch Arkansas Week all the time with my family.
I've been able to do that stuff. Then I get to come on shows like this. I meet interesting people and then I work at a fantastic place. In a place that has been supportive of me and there are great people at our company, who are all doing really good work and want to do good work and want to do a good thing. It's hard, because we don't always make everybody happy, right?
When you're doing business, people get bent out of shape sometimes. I mean, customers or whatnot. You can't always do the right thing and people don't always walk away from every interaction happy, right? It's just the nature of how things are. I think most of the time, we have good experiences with people. That makes me feel good. In a lot of ways, it is – If I go anywhere else, it probably won't be as good as it is now. I try to remember that every day. When I'm having a bad day, I try to keep that in mind.
[0:33:20.8] KM: You talk about business and Arkansas Business, hence the name Arkansas Business Publishing. When you're on Arkansas Week, you talk about politics, right?
[0:33:28.0] LT: We do. Yeah. Yeah.
[0:33:29.3] KM: Are you just as interested in politics as you are in business?
[0:33:32.2] LT: I can be. Yeah. There's a lot about politics that are interesting to me. State politics is fascinating. Of course, politics and business very tightly intertwined. That's always an interesting –
[0:33:43.2] KM: Who’s your most interesting person you've ever interviewed?
[0:33:46.4] LT: Oh, man. Who would that be? I mean, I've talked to a lot of people.
[0:33:51.1] KM: Successful people are often really eccentric and gregarious.
[0:33:55.8] LT: They are. Yeah. There's a personality to them. I enjoyed talking to Gina Radke, who – Do you know Gina Radke?
[0:34:02.2] KM: No.
[0:34:02.8] LT: You should know Gina Radke. Now I'm going to blank on the name of her company.
[0:34:07.9] G: She is the CEO of Galley Support Innovations.
[0:34:09.1] LT: Galley Support Innovations. They make all kinds of hardware and parts for airplanes. She's really a big advocate for Arkansas's aerospace industry. Arkansas is a player in world aerospace and we export a lot of products in that space and she's one of the people out there making it happen. It is in Sherwood, Arkansas.
[0:34:26.5] KM: She was a good interview.
[0:34:28.0] LT: Yeah, she was a great interview. We did a little video series and she was part of that. She was great. Her story is great. The mission behind her business is really fascinating. The people that she employs and takes on. Yeah, she's definitely a guest that you should have. She's got a great story.
[0:34:42.2] KM: We had Charles Morgan on a couple weeks ago.
[0:34:44.0] LT: Yeah.
[0:34:44.5] KM: You interviewed him?
[0:34:45.9] LT: I've talked to him. I haven't set for a long-form interview with him, but I've talked to him over the years.
[0:34:50.3] KM: Who else you've had on? A politician.
[0:34:55.0] LT: Well, I’ve talked to Mark Pryor. I've talked John Boozman. I've talked to I mean, the congressional delegation. I’ve talked a little bit with Tom Cotton. I hadn't sat down with an interview for him, but I've chatted with Tom Cotton.
[0:35:10.4] KM: You think he's going to run for president?
[0:35:11.8] LT: I don't know. Man, I don't know.
[0:35:13.8] KM: A lot of people ask me that.
[0:35:15.1] LT: That would be – I mean, unless he gets drafted for a Trump administration job, which every time something comes up at defense or something, his name goes to the top of the list.
[0:35:23.9] KM: Yes, because he was a marine, I think. What advice would you give someone getting into the business of news, if they wanted to start like you, and it's all different today? How should they start?
[0:35:36.8] LT: Well, I mean, you want to read a lot. I think, writing to me is the bedrock that all this rests on. I mean, if you can write, you can – I think you can rule the world if you do it the right way, right? I mean, writing is it drives everything that we do.
[0:35:54.3] KM: How much do you write a day?
[0:35:56.4] LT: I write a bunch.
[0:35:57.6] KM: You write a blog about your daughter?
[0:35:59.1] LT: No, I don't know.
[0:36:00.4] KM: What?
[0:36:01.4] LT: No, sorry. Sadly, no. I'm on Twitter a little bit. Yeah, I do this in Twitter.
[0:36:04.9] KM: When you write all your articles. I didn't see you had a blog.
[0:36:07.8] LT: No. I did years ago. I've got a website. I've got lanceturner.com. It's a placeholder right now.
[0:36:13.2] KM: Yeah, there's nothing there.
[0:36:14.3] LT: There's nothing there.
[0:36:15.0] KM: There’s nothing about you anywhere.
[0:36:16.3] LT: I used to blog quite a bit, but when you're doing that, plus you want your – I wanted my energies mainly on arkansasbusiness.com and if I'm going to be writing – if I'm going if I'm going to be writing, that's where I should be writing.
[0:36:28.0] KM: That’s right. You're burned out probably by the end of the day. All right, this is another great place to take a break. We'll continue our conversation with Mr. Lance Turner, online editor for Arkansas Business Publishing Group. We'll be right back.
[0:36:42.2] Announcer: Friends of Dreamland are proud to sponsor Up In your Business Kerry McCoy. Dreamland Ballroom located on the third floor of the flagandbanner.com building in the historic Taborian Hall is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing back the music, the history and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom.
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[0:37:37.3] KM: You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I'm speaking today with Mr. Lance Turner, online editor for Arkansas Business Publications. We talked about how important we think news is, but it's getting so convoluted. You said that you feel disconnect from Comcast, but then you got to read print. I'm not sure that print is any better. How do you get the news today? I feel it's very, very hard.
[0:38:07.1] LT: It's difficult.
[0:38:07.8] KM: To get unbiased news. I mean, I know not to believe what you read on social media, or on Facebook. You pick up the newspaper, you read it, they usually got a slant. It's hard to write without putting your own slant on everything, your personality if you're a reporter.
[0:38:24.1] LT: I just think people have to do maybe a little bit more work and realize first of all, just be well-read. You don't have to just read one paper. Try to sample a little bit of everything and realize again, there are these tells when you're reading an article, it's hard for me to point these things out, I guess, because I can recognize them pretty easily, I suppose. I mean, I'm looking for facts. I'm looking for things that can be verified. I'm looking for words that tell me that maybe this person doesn't really know what they're talking about. I'm looking for partisanship. I'm looking for party affiliations. I mean, I know the Republicans are going to say this thing and the Democrats are going to say this thing.
[0:39:06.0] KM: There's a way when you look at the news, you can train yourself to wade through the opinions and get down to this is a sentence that's an actual fact and not his opinion.
[0:39:16.4] LT: Right, verifiable facts stuff that you can check out, numbers, hard things, incidents that happen, things that took place. Then you just watch for people when they're trying to spin something. I mean, you know people are going to – again, the Republicans are going to say a thing like this. Democrats are going to say a thing like this. I mean, you recognize that. You hear it every day. Fox News has this slant, MSNBC has this slant.
I mean, it’s predictable what they're going to say the take they're going to have on an issue. I always say, if something sounds really too good to be true to you, it probably is. If this thing really sounds great to you, particularly in a political space, if this really just speaks to you in a really partisan way, then maybe it's designed to do that and maybe it's not designed to inform you, or tell you something you need to know. Maybe it's just informed to make you feel good in your bubble and your little –
[0:40:09.6] KM: Or to inflame you.
[0:40:10.4] LT: Or to inflame you, or to get you riled up about something. I mean, that's what social media does and that's the danger of social media. It's a play on your emotions and your preconceived notions. It's trying to get you outraged. That's what that's all about. Those are the places where you need to beware, I think.
[0:40:31.0] KM: One word to sum you up.
[0:40:32.7] LT: Wow, I don't know.
[0:40:34.4] KM: Okay, two words.
[0:40:35.3] LT: Two words.
[0:40:36.0] KM: Oka, three.
[0:40:39.1] LT: I think steady.
[0:40:40.9] KM: Wow, that's a good word.
[0:40:42.2] LT: I mean, I've been doing the same thing for 20 years.
[0:40:45.6] KM: You are steady as a rock.
[0:40:46.7] LT: Just said it and forget it thing. Yeah.
[0:40:50.6] KM: If you were to give yourself advice from 20 years ago, what would it be?
[0:40:54.8] LT: What was I doing 20 – Okay, so I was just starting all this. Advice to myself in 20 years. It's all going to change, so be ready for it. I guess, I don't think we even knew then how big our industry was going to be upended by all this. I mean, I remember in college they were complaining about newspaper subscription rates and the young people don't read news and, “Oh, what are we going to do?” That was before we really even knew what the internet was going to do. I mean, that was way before – I mean, we're talking 95 to 99. I mean, Facebook wasn't even a thing in anyone's head yet.
[0:41:26.8] KM: Of all the businesses you read about and you hear about and you learn about, because you're in the middle of it, what's the biggest advice you could give to a small business owner?
[0:41:37.5] LT: Watching relatives who have owned businesses. I've got relatives and in-laws who are small business owners and ran businesses. They're going to know more than I'll ever know about any of that experience, in terms of advice.
[0:41:50.2] KM: Don't you see trends? Don't you see trends out there and you think, “You know, don't do that, because that's going to be dead in five years. Or do this, because this is – mobile phones are going to be the next big thing.”
[0:42:02.4] LT: Well, I mean, there are certain fundamentals. I mean, I think if you treat your customers right a lot of the time, that's going to be enough, right? I mean, I think if you do a good job treating your customers right. That's what we talk about at our company a lot. We've got this philosophy about trying to treat all our constituent groups correctly, so that's our readers, our advertisers, our vendors, our employees, our community. I mean, there's a universe of people. We want to treat them all well.
We don't want to try to drive our vendors to the rock-bottom lowest price ever and just kill them and not give them any margin. We want them to do well, because there's a relationship there. If they do well, we do well. We want to do right by them. We want to be right by advertisers. We certainly want to do right by readers. We want our employees to have good work-life balance. We want to compensate them as best we can for the jobs that they're doing. We want to help them grow as employees, so we try to do things that help them grow in their careers. I think, that's not a bad philosophy to live by for a small business owner.
[0:43:10.7] KM: It’s do the right thing.
[0:43:12.1] LT: Try to do the right thing. I mean, yeah. I mean –
[0:43:15.3] KM: Do the right thing.
[0:43:16.1] LT: Why not?
[0:43:16.7] KM: Do the right thing. I always say, don't be afraid to change. You've got to be changing.
[0:43:20.4] LT: That too.
[0:43:22.1] KM: Lance, thanks for joining me. Here's your gift today. Do you have a US flag?
[0:43:24.9] LT: Fantastic.
[0:43:25.6] KM: I don’t know. Arkansas flag on your desk?
[0:43:26.8] LT: I do not, but now I do.
[0:43:28.3] KM: You now have a desk set.
[0:43:29.1] LT: That is great. Thank you very much.
[0:43:30.8] KM: For those listeners who might have a great entrepreneurial story they'd like to share, send a brief bio or your contact info to me, Kerry@flagandbanner.com and someone will be in touch.
To all, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. That it whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up In your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:43:58.7] G: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show, go to flagandbanner.com, select Radio and choose today’s guest. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Subscribe to podcasts wherever you like to listen.
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