The Inside Story – 2nd Quarter 2015

By Jerry M. Lawson, Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief
Jerry Lawson

I hope that you enjoy reading our monthly HVAC trade papers. We work to bring you news that effects your business in your home markets. I developed a format for our papers based on a community newspaper. I began my news career 53 years ago in my home town of Tyler, Texas.

I had served in our Army for three years and was ready for a career. I found a good one. I worked in Tyler then on to Marshall, TX (our family home) then to Dallas Morning News (big time).

A national magazine brought me to Atlanta and after 9 months of broken promises I quit. I didn’t have another job so I created one. I started a trade paper for the TV and appliance business in Georgia. That did well for many years.

I was asked to publish a trade paper for HVAC only. It sounded like a job offer to me and the HVAC Insider was born. Nowadays it’s all we do. On one of my first calls the president of a local distributorship asked me bluntly “What do you know about HVAC?” I replied honestly, “Not much. What do you know about newspapers?” He grinned and we began a 24 year business relationship. That company has been on page 2 for the past 288 editions.

We now publish 15 monthly regional papers. We would do more but it is hard to find people who are willing to work for their check. I’m told that many of you have the same problem.

A new twist, or scam, has been going around that the newspaper business is over. “Social Media” is the thing of the future. HA! I can’t imagine a service technician carrying a laptop around in his truck to read up on the latest events, people and products that effect his business. Our tab size paper fits well in his glove box or briefcase.

We print more than 120,000 copies of our papers and mail them to licensed contractors, distributors, reps and manufacturers. My annual postal bill is around a half million dollars.  That’s right, I pay over $500,000.00 a year to deliver free trade papers to you.  We pay our printer close to that amount and he appreciates us.

Social Media? We do put every page of every paper we publish on our web site. We don’t know who accesses this service, but I consider it as another way of keeping our readers informed. If a Florida HVAC person wants to find out about the industry back home, he can read the New York or New England issue on line.

We do not charge our advertisers any extra for this service. Their ads are there for the whole world to see.

If social media was the answer I could save well over a million bucks a year. But my conscience would not let me. So I will continue to print and mail these Insiders.

A deal is a deal is a deal.

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