Ben Weir of Carmel has joined Current Publishing as a partner, vice president of sales and its general manager.
He joins Current after 20-plus years in the automotive sector, much of it as a manager or general manager overseeing revenue and development at multiple properties. Weir, 42, assumes the general manager role formerly held by Steve Greenberg, Current’s co-founder, executive vice president and co-managing partner with president and publisher Brian Kelly. Greenberg will focus on sales development, up to and including special, custom products.
“When we found out Ben was available, it became readily apparent to us that were he to join Current we had an opportunity for a slew of different avenues for revenue acquisition,” Greenberg said. “Plus, we’d known him for a number of years, because he was a long-time customer. There was zero doubt he would be a great fit. That he had no publishing experience was of no concern and actually weighed in his favor. Once you sit and talk with Ben, you realize immediately that his capacity for quickly connecting the dots is impressive.”
Formerly a long-time advertising client of Current, Weir said, “I was always intrigued by the hyper-local news report and the following that it had in our community. When I initially was given the opportunity to be a partner, I jumped all over it.”
Kelly said Weir’s management acumen and his track record of growth helped make it an easy decision.
“Ben is thoughtful, but he acts quickly. There is no moss growing under his feet,” Kelly said. “His entry into Current has been impressive, from the way he is analyzing and modifying our sales systems to embracing our independent research, and also from his immediate interaction with all members of our team to tirelessly acquiring and serving advertising customers. It’s good to have him as part of the Current family.”
Weir is a graduate of Indiana University, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business. He also is a member of the board of directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
So, what might he have expected upon joining Current? “For one, the fashionable and incorrect statement that ‘print is dead.’ I’ve heard it from many friends and colleagues, and I even said it myself once upon a time. Now, I’m in it as an owner, and nothing could be further from the truth. I saw that immediately.
“The reality is that if it’s done correctly, print is the only format left that is based on facts and objectivity. I believe in community news done the right way. I believe that people still care about what is going on in their neighborhoods and with new construction, among other local topics, and police officers that are still doing good things. I believe that parents want to read about important news from their children’s school system.”
Weir said he’s not a media “guru,” a proclamation Kelly and Greenberg found to be magnetic. “He didn’t have to un-learn any bad industry habits when he joined the team here. That was a significant plus for us,” Greenberg said.
Weir said at the outset, “I admittedly don’t know much about the business beyond sales. However, I do know that what is going on around me is important. I care about construction affecting my property value or opportunities for myself and my family to do charitable work. I enjoy seeing a local kid excel in sports or music. Those things all matter to me.
“Local businesses also matter to me, and they should to everyone, too. I try to support them at every opportunity. Current gives a local business owner a real shot to reach someone in the community, someone that actually is in need of the business’ service – not a shotgun approach, where you give a national company a huge amount of money to buy a bunch of words each month and hope that somebody plugs them into a search engine. In that case, if everything goes right, your business will pop up. So-called fake news and data-privacy concerns are some of the reasons consumers have grown to distrust digital platforms. Consumers constantly are being bombarded by digital messages. We may spend a huge amount of time on smartphones engaging with social media, but how much are we actually absorbing while we’re scrolling through the endless content on these feeds?
“With print, however, it’s not so easy to click away. With Current, you might put it down, but the chances are you’ll return to it later. It has the ability to leave a lasting impression in a way that digital doesn’t. The tactile nature of the print experience can’t be overlooked, either. Studies have shown that people do enjoy sitting down and having something to hold in their hands to read. It’s an area of strength from a psychological point of view that print products continue to possess over digital media. That level of engagement creates a greater, more positive experience. Plus, from an advertiser’s point of view, it has a lot of benefits when it comes to recall of a product.”
To reach Weir, you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317.489.4444, ext. 106.