‘Larry in Fishers’: Retiree and former journalist keeps busy with local blog, podcast


Larry Lannan had an early start in broadcast news through his high school speech team, which included a radio and TV element. That was in the late 1960s, and the experience steered Lannan toward broadcast trade school and a career in radio journalism before he switched careers in the mid-1980s.

After he retired in 2011, the longtime Fishers resident decided to return to his roots and in 2012 started showing up at local government meetings and writing about what happened for his blog, called — appropriately — “Larry in Fishers.”

“I’m not a real great tech guy, but I have a good friend of mine who is a journalist and writes nationally about technical stuff, the tech business, and he gave me some pointers,” Lannan said. “And I read a book, ‘Blogging for Dummies,’ which was written for me.”

Lannan, now 72, said his original plan was to sit quietly in the back of the room during meetings, take notes, go back home and write short blog posts about what happened. He figured a handful of government geeks like himself would be the only ones interested.

“I was wrong,” he said. “People really wanted this information” and at the time, nobody else was reporting on the day-to-day activities of the then-town government.

Lannan said he knew something was up when, after a few months of blogging, Councilmember John Weingardt approached him and asked, “Are you Larry?”

He hadn’t put a counter on the blog at that point, so Lannan didn’t know how many people were reading it, but that conversation showed at least some folks were noticing. And it’s grown ever since.

“When I started this in 2012, I figured if I could get 100 people to read this, I’d be a terrific success,” he said. “I just got my numbers in for 2023. The number of unique visitors I have had on my blog is just below 96,000.”

Lannan’s first radio job was in Franklin at a small commercial station that is no longer locally operated. He said he worked there for a couple of years before deciding it wasn’t a good idea to bypass college. He returned to his hometown of Indianapolis to take classes at IUPUI. He didn’t finish his degree, he said, but did get another radio job in Martinsville and later ended up in Greenfield, where he hosted an all-night radio talk show from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“They wanted that talk show because they were scared to death somebody was going to compete for their license,” he said. “Back in those days — the way it worked has kind of changed now, over the years — (but) when a license renewal was up, anybody could apply for the license, even if you held the license.”

If someone did try to acquire the license, Lannan said, the fact that the station broadcasted a live public-affairs show several hours a night, five nights a week, made a stronger case for keeping the license.

“I’d do fun stuff, like have psychics on, UFOs — the stuff that people like late at night,” he said. “But I did serious shows about the Middle East, about local government, law enforcement. I just dealt with any issue that was topical at the time.”

And he interviewed a lot of authors, he said, but most nights people simply called in and talked about whatever was on their minds.

“We had a very complicated system for seven-second delay, in case somebody said something that they weren’t supposed to say on the radio,” Lannan said. “That was always fun. And if that system broke down, I couldn’t take (calls that night). I just had to find some other way to keep the show going.”

Lannan said that experience helped him with his podcast, which he started in 2016. He said he wanted to provide a space for local personalities and officials to talk to many people in the community for an extended time.

Radio — and by extension, podcasts — is a more personal way to communicate with people, he said.

“You’re speaking to each of those (listeners) one-on-one,” he said. “It’s a very special kind of communication — very different than TV, print and all the others. Because I had the radio background, I did decide the podcast would be a really good avenue to talk to local people and get a long-form discussion.”

And people listened. Lannan said it got so popular that when he announced that he was taking a break right before school board elections — because his first grandchild was due — some local high school students stepped up to record interviews with all the candidates so he could put them out for listeners.

“I found out that it was so important to the community that they had podcasts available to them for candidates,” he said. “That was a chance for (candidates) to sit down and spend up to 30 minutes to talk about their candidacy, what their views were about being a candidate and their views on the school board. People have gotten used to that so much that somebody stepped forward and said that they will do it for me, and they did it and that is still amazing to me.”

Larry in Fishers is a free blog with no paywalls and few, if any, ads. Lannan said he essentially volunteers his time to keep it up and, at this point, has no plans to stop.

Lannan did try to quit twice, he said, laughing. The first time, he was talked into continuing by Mayor Scott Fadness. The second time was right before the COVID-19 pandemic. But then Lannan caught the virus and said he couldn’t do anything for a while except sit and reflect. When he recovered, he decided he needed to keep his mind busy, and continue making a contribution to his community.

Lannan’s blog can be found at larryinfishers.com.

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In addition to his blog, Larry Lannon hosts a podcast featuring Fishers officials and residents. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lannon)

Larry in Fishers’ first big story

Larry Lannan said the first big story he covered through his blog, Larry in Fishers, was in 2012 when Fishers voters were set to decide whether to remain a town, become a reorganized city or become a second-class city.

“It was not a straightforward referendum,” he said. “It was a complicated referendum, but people figured it out and wanted to be a (second-class) city.”

That was fall of 2012, and the first election for the city mayor and council was 2014. But people didn’t realize that was the case right away.

“They thought it would be 2015,” Lannan said. “That was the next cycle to have a city election in Indiana. But the legislature, somebody sneaked a provision into the law — it took a little while for people to figure out it was there — that Fishers would have a special election in 2014 for our city officials for one-year terms and then have the regular four-year term election the next year. So, all of a sudden we had this first city election.”

Lannan said the Republican primary determined who won the mayoral race, since no Democrats ran, and in the field of six candidates, only two had a chance: then-town manager Scott Fadness and former town council president Walt Kelly.

Long story short: Fadness won by a small margin and has remained mayor ever since.