This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Lane Report. The company has weathered many storms, including economic downturns; technological advances; evolution in the media industry; the passing of founder and publisher Ed Lane; and now even a global pandemic.
For many years, The Lane Report has been a full-color publication, printed and distributed monthly across Kentucky. A number of other special publications have been or are in the company’s portfolio as well. What many people don’t know, though, is that the magazine started as a black and white, biannual flyer, used to provide information to Ed Lane’s commercial real estate clients.
It was 1985. At the time, his firm was the only full-service commercial real estate company in Central Kentucky and because his clients kept inquiring about information on the region, he began publishing a community economic profile called The Lane Report. The flyer provided information on new developments, employment levels, population trends, vacancy rates, etc., and became a valuable tool for people managing businesses and companies interested in moving to the commonwealth.
Business people, government officials and other decision-makers appreciated the clear and concise overview of what was happening across the state, and advertisers appreciated the cost-effective marketing investment of being able to reach top leaders through their ads with The Lane Report’s statewide circulation. Each issue has a significant pass-a-long readership as well because the publication’s readers find it so valuable they route it through their office and put it in public areas in their businesses.
In 2010, The Lane Report interviewed the founder for a special issue celebrating its 25th anniversary. Now, 10 years later, Lane’s responses are still as relevant today as they were a decade ago.
“I thought the magazine would be a valuable tool for our community—a good source of business information and a demographically targeted advertising medium. But The Lane Report has grown quite a bit more over the last 25 years than I initially expected. Our editorial coverage went statewide in 1997. Our reporting touches every part of the state, and the response from our readers has been very enthusiastic,” Ed Lane said in the 2010 interview.
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Over the years, many Kentucky business and public policy leaders have been interviewed by The Lane Report, including Kentucky governors, senators, university presidents, CEOs, bank chairmen, but also up-and-coming entrepreneurs and leaders in the arts.
“There have been many occasions where we profiled a man or woman in our state who had done something exceptional or started a business. The news article provided them some initial exposure and publicity. A few years later and they’ve grown their business and become very successful. That’s very exciting when you see that happen to an entrepreneur. The Lane Report also promotes education and the arts. The future of Kentucky’s economy is a well-educated workforce. Better educated Kentuckians will make our state more competitive in the global economy,” Lane added.
In August 2015, Ed Lane, our father, passed away after a courageous yet very quiet battle with cancer. Since then, my sister, Brett Lane, and I, along with the amazing and dedicated staff, have carried on our father’s legacy. Together, thanks to each staff member who has been integral in pushing the company forward, the group kept the publication operating and thriving. Now, this year, the magazine celebrates another huge milestone.
Brett and I never intended on keeping the magazine in our hands forever. Not only did we want to find a successor, but it was important to find someone who had great business acumen, had their finger on the pulse of Kentucky’s economy and was ingrained in the community as a public servant and leader. We trusted in the timing and knew when it was right, that person would reveal themselves to us. Earlier this year, we had an “a-ha” moment and entered into a sales agreement with that person.
After nearly four decades and two generations of ownership, The Lane Report has changed hands into a great new family. The “cherry on top” was that this person ended up being a dear friend of our father’s, Kevin Stinnett. They served on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council together for numerous terms and it was there that they fostered a business relationship and a friendship over shared interests in economic development, service and public policy that provides opportunities for Fayette County’s citizens. Stinnett runs successful insurance and financial planning businesses, so he has unique insight and understands the marketing needs of business owners and what The Lane Report can provide to its advertisers. The moment we mentioned the idea of purchasing The Lane Report to Stinnett, it was a no-brainer that he was the right “fit” for a number of reasons.
Brett and I are excited for the future of our father’s business and the legacy Stinnett will carry forward with the staff, many of whom have been with the company for decades. Since 1985, The Lane Report has become a trusted source for Kentucky business news, and just as it has evolved over the last 35 years, we look forward to seeing how the company will grow even more in the future with Stinnett’s new ideas.
Stinnett bringing innovations
A native of Lexington, Stinnett is a graduate of Bryan Station High School in Lexington and Centre College with bachelor’s degrees in economics and Spanish. He was in the Leadership Lexington class of 2000 and has served on the Commerce Lexington economic development team and the boards of Lexington Center (Rupp Arena) Board and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bluegrass. He currently serves on the board of the city’s Business and Education Network.
Beginning in 2004—the same year Ed Lane was first elected—Stinnett served five terms on Lexington City Council from the Sixth District and one as an at-large member. Stinnett and Lane co-authored the city’s Economic Stabilization Fund in 2006, creating a “rainy day” fund now topping $36 million and being used for the first time to help balance the city budget after the virus. He chaired the city’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development committee for 10 years, and was a candidate for mayor in 2018.
With unique understanding developed by private sector success, public service experience and a shared perspective with Ed Lane, Stinnett is bringing energetic and ambitious plans for The Lane Report’s 36th year and beyond.
“The Lane Report is one of the most respected brands in Kentucky, appreciated by the state’s business community and leaders for bringing news focused specifically on the issue they are working through to improve our commonwealth,” Stinnett said. “I want to enhance both the print magazine and its digital platforms, and make it improve the value proposition for both our readers and our advertisers.”
Like all business, media is a competitive sector, he said, and The Lane Report and lanereport.com are going to be successful by innovating and becoming an even better product.
In this issue, you will see an expanded and upgraded product with additional content and modernized design elements. The lanereport.com website has enhanced the experience it provides, with much more to come. Page views in the first four months of 2020 have surged by 50% over the same period in 2019.
“We are here for the long run,” Stinnett said. ■
Meredith Lane Ferguson is a Lexington Realtor. She and her sister, Brett Lane, of Atlanta, succeeded their late father, The Lane Report founder Ed Lane, as owners of the publication in 2015.