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The IBJ Podcast

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A weekly take on business news in central Indiana. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.

A weekly take on business news in central Indiana. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


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A weekly take on business news in central Indiana. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.








After triple-bypass surgery, Chuck Lofton is doubling down on extending TV news career

Chuck Lofton was hired as a weather forecaster and anchor for WTHR Channel 13’s “Sunrise” morning show when it debuted in 1985. He since has survived any number of severe weather events, including tracking tornados, as well as the notoriously fickle TV news business. But in March, he had a big health scare, followed by triple-bypass heart surgery and a two-month recovery off the air. At 65, he would seem to be a prime candidate for winding up his career and taking it easy. But in some ways,...


Former school board member now drives bus for district

Tony Dzwonar had just wrapped up three consecutive terms on the Washington Township school board—serving from 2008 to late 2020—and was looking for a way to spend his extra free time. He remembered that the district –like most school corporations—needed bus drivers. He received the required training and a commercial driver’s license before becoming one of about 100 district bus drivers in fall 2021. He worked daily, running two or three routes in the southeastern portion of the district...


The audacious challenge of choosing leaders for the inaugural Indiana 250

IBJ Media last week released its inaugural Indiana 250, a list of the most influential and impactful business and community leaders in Indiana. The list — researched and developed by IBJ, Indiana Lawyer and Inside INdiana Business — includes CEOs, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, attorneys, economic development officials and more from across the state. Host Mason King talks with IBJ Media CEO Nate Feltman and IBJ Editor Lesley Weidenbener, who oversaw production of the Indiana 250, about...


The state has $6.1B in reserves. What will lawmakers do with it?

Lawmakers are preparing to return to the Statehouse next week for a special session that will focus on two key issues: abortion and how to spend some of the state’s $6.1 billion the state has in reserves. That's right—$6.1 billion. That huge balance in the state's reserve accounts is the result of higher than expected tax receipts as well as pandemic relief money the federal government sent to the state. Gov. Eric Holcomb wants lawmakers to send some of that money back to Hoosiers in the...


Pete The Planner: ‘The best thing you can do right now is stop spending money’

Americans are back in the throes of financial anxiety. Folks with most of their savings in the stock market have been in the profoundly uncomfortable position of watching their portfolios lose 20% to 25% of their value since the beginning of the year. Gas is still near its all-time high and is continuing to play a major factor in skyrocketing inflation. And most experts agree that if we’re not already in a recession, there’s still a very good chance we’ll get stuck in one soon. IBJ Podcast...


What lies beneath downtown’s Diamond Chain site?

IBJ reporter Mickey Shuey broke the story last month that Indy Eleven majority owner Ersal Ozdemir has purchased the Diamond Chain industrial site downtown to be home to Eleven Park, a mixed-use development that is to include a 20,000-seat soccer stadium. Shuey joins the IBJ Podcast this week to discuss the Diamond Chain site, which is located at the corner of South and West streets downtown, and what sorts of surprises it might hold for the development. Of course, there's the usual...


Ryan Vaughn talks sports, the tech sector and whether he might ever run for mayor

Ryan Vaughn has spent the past eight years leading the Indiana Sports Corp., a job that requires constant work attracting big sports events to the city and then pulling them off once they arrive. The goal is to always have a pipeline of events coming to help bolster the region's tourism industry and economy overall. IBJ reporter Mickey Shuey (in for vacationing host Mason King) talks with Vaughn about what he's learned during his time in the post and why he's leaving to take a job in the...


Examining the $175M plan for downtown’s City Market block

The city has endorsed a $175 million proposal from two Indianapolis-based developers to significantly recast the entire block that contains the Indianapolis City Market. The proposal from Gershman Partners and Citimark included the following: A $90 million redevelopment of the Gold Building (which is the 9thlargest office complex downtown) into an apartment building with 350 units and an entirely new façade with a darker, more neutral color. Next up: Construction of a $40 million, 11-story...


Is a funding slowdown hitting the local tech sector?

The amount of venture capital invested into Indiana-based tech companies was down overall in the first quarter of the year—despite several recent announcements. That tracks with national trends, and has local venture firms urging their portfolio companies to think about ways to make their cash last longer. IBJ tech reporter Susan Orr talked with local tech firms and venture funders about the trends and tells host Mason King about their concerns and expectations. But Orr said there’s plenty...


Inside the risk-taking mindset of Maven Space’s co-founder, CEO

The name Leslie Bailey might ring a bell. She was a reporter for The Indianapolis Star from 2012 to 2016 and penned a regular column titled "The Adventuress." She’d jump into some new sport or activity or an unusual situation and write about it. As she discusses in the latest edition of the IBJ Podcast, taking risks is in her DNA. In 2019, Bailey and business partner Amanda Kingsbury co-founded Indy Maven, a lifestyle website and membership organization focused on providing a wide variety...


What Indiana’s auto industry must do to adapt to EVs

Carmaker Stellantis NV made big news in Indiana last week when it announced it will build a $2.5 billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Kokomo with partner Samsung SDI. The plant—which is expected to employ 1,400 people—is one step in a fledgling transition in the auto industry from vehicles with internal combustion engines to those with electric motors. But what does that transition mean for a state like Indiana, which has five vehicle assembly plants and more than 500 auto industry...


Doug Boles is the Speedway’s chief evangelist

As most racing fans know, Doug Boles is president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But that title isn’t quite adequate. Boles is the Speedway’s chief evangelist, its omnipresent public face and its buck-stops-here customer service guru. Beyond presiding over the day-to-day management of a 300-acre venue that hosts dozens of large, complicated events annually, Boles is the protector of its legacy as Indy’s symbol of industry and speed, while lifting its vital role in the city’s...


How favorite son Mayor Mark Myers is changing the face of Greenwood

When Larry Myers was mayor of Greenwood in the 1970s, about 20,000 people lived in the Johnson County city. Today, Larry's son, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, leads a city of more than 64,000. But he says some of the most important duties haven't changed: Fill potholes, pick up the trash and plow the snow (without blocking anyone's driveways). Still, Greenwood has definitely changed. And during Mark Myers' three terms, downtown has been revitalized, parks and trails have been greatly expanded...


Pete the Planner: A financial loss doesn’t define you—and you can recover

In the latest issue of IBJ, financial advice columnist Peter "Pete the Planner" Dunn shares a letter from reader who for undisclosed reasons has spent a great deal of the money that he made through a successful business. It’s evident from the letter that this person has hit an emotional low. And in his response, Dunn addresses the dangers of linking your self worth to your financial worth. IBJ Podcast host Mason King picks up on that thread for this week's podcast and talks to Dunn about...


The ’surreal’ story behind filming supernatural thriller in West Baden

Best-selling author Michael Koryta of Bloomington based his book, “So Cold the River,” at the West Baden Hotel in Orange County. In fact, you could argue the hotel is essentially a character in the book. And so when it came time to make "So Cold the River" into a movie, there could be no other spot to do it. Enter Pete Yonkman, president of the hotel's owner, Cook Group. Yonkman is friends with Koryta and the folks at Pigasus Pictures, a Bloomington-based film company. So he connected the...


Kevin Lee on broadcasting the Indy 500 and the business of motorsports

As spring turns into the month of May and Indy 500 season, broadcaster Kevin Lee is reviewing his notes for many hours on radio and TV, explaining the nuances of IndyCar and its drivers to fans. Lee has had a 30-year history covering sports, a career that included doing play-by-play work for the Indianapolis Colts and the Indiana Pacers but is focused today largely on auto racing. He’s in the pits for most IndyCar races and hosts the radio show “Trackside” on The Fan, 93.5-FM and 107.5-FM,...


Jeff Simmons on Elanco’s global HQ and creating a magnet for talent, innovation

Elanco Animal Health on March 12 broke ground on its $100 million headquarters campus on the former GM stamping plant site just west of downtown Indianapolis. CEO Jeff Simmons explains why the project is far more than simply an office building. He tells host Mason King that the goal is to create what the company calls "a post-COVID workplace destination" that attracts talent to the city and the company and gives workers more flexibility and engagement. And Simmons is aiming to make the...


Lebanon’s millennial mayor navigates path between charm, change as state seeks land

Matt Gentry was just 26 when he was elected mayor of Lebanon in 2015, after running a campaign in which he argued it was time for the Boone County city to embrace change, attract jobs and revitalize its downtown. Since then, Lebanon has become one of the fastest growing communities in the state—both in terms of population and commercial development. And now, the state is negotiating to buy as many as 7,000 acres of land just outside Lebanon for what could be a high-tech business...


The story behind Andrea Bocelli’s big gig with ISO in Indy

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced last week that Andrea Bocelli, the operatic star who has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide, will perform Dec. 7 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse along with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In this week's episode of the podcast, IBJ arts reporter Dave Lindquist talks with James Johnson, the CEO of the orchestra, about how the show came to be and what will make it special for the ISO and the city. Plus, they dive into what’s upcoming for the...


Pete the Planner goes car shopping during an auto-industry shortage

Anyone who has driven past a car lot knows that dealers have virtually no inventory. So what do you do if you need a car? IBJ personal finance column Peter "Pete the Planner" Dunn found himself in just that predicament recently. And he tells host Mason King that shopping for a car was like nothing he's experienced before. Buyers have no negotiating power. Zilch, he says. And that's because there are as many buyers on a lot looking for a vehicle as there are cars. In fact, dealers are...