Arkansas Business' 25 Great Whispers (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

"Whispers" has been the most popular feature in Arkansas Business right from the beginning. Here we've collected some of the most memorable from each of the past 25 years.

Dec. 10, 1984
Potential for the Delta
In all the talk about the odds of Arkansas landing a GM car plant, did you hear anything about a possible site?

Frank White down at Stephens Inc. says the only plausible location would be south of West Memphis, adjacent to the Mississippi. The former governor notes that the same location was considered for a VW plant several years ago.

GM reportedly is looking at Arkansas and several other states for a 9,000-employee plant to build a new model, the Saturn.

White adds that he's talked with GM chairman Roger Smith, and Smith cautions that the company hasn't even decided what the car would look like – let alone where it might be assembled.

Nov. 25, 1985
Gazette Excited
Morale at the Arkansas Gazette seems to be a bit low these days, especially among advertising sales reps. What with the word that profits are healthy at the oldest paper west of the Mississippi (at least more so than with its competition, the Arkansas Democrat),what's afoot?

It seems that the ad people got put on salary recently, rather than commission, and they aren't happy about it. A few reportedly have chosen to vote with their feet.

Hussman's Broadside
Democrat publisher Walter Hussman, meanwhile, is doing what he can to influence morale among major local advertisers.

On Nov. 8, he sent out a two-page letter concerning the Gazette's anti-trust suit against his newspaper, and it's a real biter.

The Hussman letter recounts just-released financial records showing the Patterson family paper with revenues and profits substantially higher than are enjoyed by his own family-held publication. And, he notes publisher Hugh Patterson's $250,000 pay raise.

Hussman then ridicules the assertion that an impending Hussman monopoly has forced the Gazette to keep ad rates lower than they should be. He concludes the other guys haven't been honest with the employees, advertisers, readers "or the community in general."

Aug. 18, 1986
... Meanwhile on Capitol Avenue
Pickens-Bond Construction Co. has been a popular topic of discussion recently. The flurry of talk centers on the company's financial stability.

P-B president Doug Jackson specifically denies the harshest part of the street talk – that the company plans to file for Chapter 11: "We're not contemplating bankruptcy."

One big log on this firestorm of speculation, Jackson says, is a problem Pickens-Bond had with a project in Atlanta. The deal fell apart, leaving the Little Rock firm to pick up $4.5 million as a guarantor.



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