Dallas Voice cofounder and longtime publisher Robert Moore, 57, is both a pioneer and innovator in LGBT media, having helped start the newspaper in 1984 and overseen its expansion into the digital world. Now, in a transaction designed to secure the future of his enterprises, he's passed the torch to two longtime employees.
Effective April 1, Moore sold Voice Publishing Co., the parent company of the Dallas Voice, Dallas Voice Yellow Pages, and Digital Seltzer, to Leo Cusimano and Terry Thompson.
"We wanted this to be a seamless transition of ownership and leadership," says Cusimano, a 21-year employee who moves up from advertising director to publisher. Thompson, who has been with the company 10 years, is shifting from promotions director to president.
At a time when many publications, LGBT-oriented and otherwise, are feeling economic pressures, Cusimano sees reason for optimism about Voice Publishing. "We're more of a media company because we have a lot of different ways to tell our story," he says.
In addition to the weekly Voice, which claims 45,000 readers in five North Texas counties, and its website, there's the Yellow Pages, which includes a business directory and a guide for visitors and new residents, printed annually and updated online, plus Digital Seltzer, which develops smartphone-based websites for a variety of clients. Cusimano says that under the new ownership, Voice Publishing will keep all its current employees, and down the road the workforce may expand, with Digital Seltzer being a likely candidate for increased staff.
But while the digital business is important, Cusimano adds, there will always be a need to deliver local LGBT news, and the Voice won't lose sight of that mission. "Local is the new global," he says. "There's not a gay CNN out there."
Moore, who has been with the Dallas Voice since he was 28 years old, says he will continue as a consultant to the company in his retirement, which he hopes includes more adventure travel. But, he says, the Voice is in good hands and something Texas residents still very much need.
"As long as there is an LGBT community here that wants to be a community," he says, "there will still be a role for LGBT media."