Interview with President and CEO Stephen Rocheford
by Joe Siegel
Year founded: June 1995
Staff size: 5 in editorial, 6 in sales, 3 designers, 3 administrators and 17 writers
Average page count: 62
Physical dimensions: 8.375” x 10.875”
Readership: 38,500 per issue
Print run: 17,500
Media age of reader: 28
Gender profile of readers: 55.1% male, 44.9% female
Education of readers: 24.9% with advanced degrees, 46.3% with bachelors degrees; 9.1% with some college; 7.8% with high school diploma, 6% with less than high school diploma
President and CEO Stephen Rocheford: Lavender was the 13th LGBTQ publication in Minneapolis/St. Paul history. The first 10 were out of business before Lavender started; numbers 11 and 12 owned the market when Lavender started and within 3 years they were out of business. Since then [others] have started and failed. We expect challenges.
PPQ: How has Lavender changed since its inception?
Rocheford: Lavender has been full glossy since April 1, 2005.
PPQ: What has been the biggest news story Lavender has covered?
Rocheford: Lavender has made national wire services several times. We were named the Magazine of the Year in 2016 by the Minnesota Magazine and Publication Association.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone wishing to start their own LGBTQ publication?
Rocheford: If you wish to start a publication, purchase an extant one, as it is considerably cheaper than trying to compete with one that controls a market. You should know business; if you don’t, you should be willing to burn a great deal of money for no purpose. If you are wealthy, you don’t have to worry about it. Each market is different, and I know mine. I know how much it would cost for a competitor to start and put me out of business. It is significantly cheaper to buy a company out.