Interview with Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: North Texas, more specifically Dallas/Fort Worth. We are distributed to more than 400 distribution locations in five counties, 23 cities and 62 zip codes.
Year founded: May 1984
Staff size and breakdown (writers, editors, designers, etc.): Leo Cusimano, Publisher and Co-Owner; Terry Thompson, President and Co-Owner; Tammye Nash, Managing Editor; three in Editorial; four in Display Sales; two in Marketplace Sales; two in production; and one in Distribution. 10 full time and two part-time.
Physical dimensions of publication: Tabloid size 10.5” x 11.5”
Average page count: 40 pages
Print run: 15,000 every Friday, readership is 32,000 per issue. We also publish OUT North Texas, an annual glossy magazine that is the official visitors guide for Dallas/Fort Worth.
PPQ: What feature or features of Dallas Voice have been the most popular with readers?
Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano: The Life+Style section is always important to our readers. Automotive is our biggest advertising category. We have special sections almost every month. Dining is big in the LGBT community here. Political news also is important.
PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome since its inception?
Cusimano: We started as a newspaper, selling only one thing, a print ad. Today we are more than just a newspaper, we have evolved into a media company, selling more than a dozen products. We have had to understand how our readers get their news and have advertising opportunities in each of those places. Our readers turn to us for in-depth, comprehensive coverage — hyper local LGBT news and lifestyle information.
PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Dallas Voice facing now?
Cusimano: For us it is a balance, between delivering in-depth comprehensive coverage to our readers to providing digital services to our advertisers, and staffing both. Like most media outlets today, the challenge we face is engaging our younger demographic. Newspapers are still a strong thread in the fabric of equality, and print is still king in the LGBT community.
PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader?
Cusimano: I think for me, it was a younger reader’s comment that they love reading the Dallas Voice, because of the changes that they have seen directed at them, like younger voices and more pictures in our Scene feature.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?
Cusimano: Know your market, know what the market will bear from an advertising perspective, understand your potential reader and how they access information. Get the right staff. Have a vision and a passion for what you what to accomplish. Make gratitude a core value.