Hot Springs Village Voice

The Hot Springs Village Voice, founded in 1990, is a weekly newspaper in Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties). The publication’s major emphasis is producing feature stories and covering local news, community events, feature stories, newsworthy area residents, recreational activities, and sports, along with locally oriented business reports, political coverage, display advertisements, and classified advertisements. Having an estimated circulation of 4,500, it is published once a week, with subscribers receiving their copy via the U.S. Postal Service each Tuesday. Jennifer Allen bought the newspaper from the Gannett Company in 2021.

Hot Springs Village is the largest gated community in the United States. By the 2020 census, its population was 15,861, reflecting a growth from 12,807 in 2010. In the half century since the founding of the planned community in 1970, there have been three newspapers in Hot Springs Village. The LaVilla News was founded in 1970 by John A. Cooper, who served as its publisher until 1987, when that newspaper ended. It was followed by The Villager, founded in 1988 by John Gearhart, who had been assistant editor of the LaVilla News. After The Villager ceased publication in 1989, the Hot Springs Village Voice was established in 1990.

Mel Fluhart was the first publisher and editor of the Hot Springs Village Voice. Its first issue was printed in September 1990. Fluhart published the newspaper weekly until he sold it in 1996. Beginning on November 26, 1996, the Voice was printed by its new owners, Delores and Ken Richardson, who served as its publishers. Delores Richardson was listed as business manager, with Ken Richardson as editor.

In 2007, the Voice became corporate-owned when the Richardson family sold it to Stephens Media, which already held more than fifty newspapers across the United States, twenty of which were located in Arkansas. The Southwest Times Record, published in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and the Pine Bluff Commercial of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) were the two largest daily papers in Arkansas owned by Stephens Media.

Under Stephens Media, Jennifer Allen served as regional advertising director, overseeing about a dozen publications for the company. Allen had worked her way through college as an advertising sales representative at the Arkadelphia (Clark County) Daily Siftings Herald while attending Henderson State University. Just before graduating with a bachelor of business administration degree in 1992, she accepted a sales position at the Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs (Garland County). She spent almost fifteen years there, with the last several years as retail advertising manager, before joining the Hot Springs Village Voice staff in 2007.

Along with the Hot Springs Village Voice, the newspapers she oversaw as regional advertising director for Stephens Media included the Heber Springs Sun Times, Newport Independent, North Little Rock Times, Maumelle Monitor, Sherwood Voice, Jacksonville Patriot, Cabot Star Herald, Lonoke County Democrat, Carlisle Independent, Pine Bluff Commercial, and Van Buren County Democrat.

In 2015, GateHouse Media of Rochester, New York, purchased all of Stephens Media’s newspapers. Allen was promoted to general manager in 2017, overseeing advertising and overall operations of the Daily Siftings Herald, Gurdon Times, Hope Star, and Nevada County Picayune, as well as the Hot Springs Village Voice. Allen was promoted again in 2019 as Group Publisher over the Voice, as well as the Newport Independent, Stuttgart Daily Leader, Helena World, White Hall Journal, and Pine Bluff Commercial.

Under Allen’s management, the Voice became a leader among newspapers in the central Arkansas area and was awarded several Arkansas Press Association accolades. In 2021, the Voice was noted in the nationally published magazine Editor and Publisher as one of “10 Newspapers That Do It Right.”

In November 2019, GateHouse Media merged with Gannett, owner of the national newspaper USA Today and a number of other publications around the country. With headquarters in McLean, Virginia, the merged corporation became the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by total daily circulation. Under Gannett’s ownership, the Voice ran more articles from around the country, reducing local features. There was also a reduction in staff, including Allen, who had been running the Voice for Gannett.

However, a Gannett executive soon contacted Allen to ask if she would be interested in purchasing the Hot Springs Village Voice. In 2021, Allen acquired the Voice from Gannett. Upon completion of the purchase, which Allen officially finalized on February 16, 2021, she announced that under her leadership, the Voice would be the main source of local news for the Hot Springs Village area, including club announcements, local activities, features about area residents, and coverage of the HSV Property Owners Association.

In October 2021, Allen was recognized in Editor and Publisher magazine as part of a story about previous Gannett newspapers that came under new local ownership. In the article, Allen acknowledged her appreciation of her time with Gannett for the chance to learn management skills, adding, “Our community has been loving the paper being locally owned. They have been so supportive. This paper is my heart and soul.”

For additional information:
“Publisher Jennifer Allen Finds Her Voice.” Arkansas Business, August 9, 2021. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Cantrell, Randy. “Jennifer Allen: From Newspaper Publisher to Owner, Hot Springs Village Voice,” InsideOut, July 27, 2021. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Cole, Ryan. “Allen Purchases Hot Springs Village Paper.” Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, July 6, 2021. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Hot Springs Village Voice. (accessed October 18, 2022).

“Hot Springs Village Voice.” Mondo Times. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Kwasnik, Brianna. “Gannett Sells Hot Springs Village Voice to Former Publisher.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 18, 2021. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Meek, Jeff. “Voice Owner Recognized by E&P Magazine.” Hot Springs Village Voice, October 12, 2021. (accessed October 18, 2022).

Nancy Hendricks
Garland County Historical Society


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