Talk Business

Mondays & Fridays, 6:51am; Wednesdays 5:20pm
  • Hosted by Roby Brock

A multi-media news organization focusing on Arkansas news and information.Content is driven by Roby Brock, who has interviewed more than 2,000 business and political leaders. Brock is the host of Talk Business & Politics which airs Sunday mornings at 9 am on KATV Channel 7. He also moderates a radio program which airs on NPR affiliates statewide. Supporting staff, contributors,and content partners represent the most knowledgeable and experienced in their fields. 

Digital platforms such as, Facebook and Twitter allow news and information from around the state to be made accessible as it is happening and keeps those most affected in the know. Talk micro-sites further providing dedicated content to the Northwest and Northeast regions.In addition, micro-sites are dedicated to specific industry insights such as entrepreneurial, education, healthcare and financial news. 

The Talk Business & Politics publication reaches affluent decision-makers across the state and is an essential resource guide for new entrepreneurs and leaders at all levels of government. With a dedicated delivery of 16,000 copies bi-monthly, readers receive an in-depth look at business and political profiles, the most current developments in key industries, and corporate and policy strategies. 

Courtesy of Talk Business & Politics Facebook page

Talk Business and Politics airs on KASU 91.9 FM on Mondays and Fridays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:51 am.  It also airs during NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesdays at 5:20 pm.  You can follow more of their coverage on their website where you can also catch the latest Northeast Arkansas news.

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The first medical marijuana dispensary in Northeast Arkansas will open Tuesday (Dec. 10) in Brookland.

NEA Full Spectrum has been formally approved by Alcohol Beverage and Control to open for business. The dispensary was inspected by ABC agents last week with an approval letter issued by ABC Director Doralee Chandler on Dec. 6. Owners announced Tuesday, December 10 (10:00 a.m.) as the opening date.

Arkansas State Capitol

State Rep. Fran Cavenaugh, R-Walnut Ridge, will seek re-election to state House District 60. Cavenaugh was first elected in 2016 and is in her second term representing the district, which includes portions of Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp, and Greene counties.

Artist rendering of the Lockheed Martin expansion in Camden, AR.
Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Lockheed Martin announced a $142 million expansion investment in its Camden, Ark. facilities that will add another 326 new workers to the complex. Currently, Lockheed Martin employs around 700 workers in Camden.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Paris Air Show – a worldwide trade show for the aerospace and defense industry.


Arkansas’ overall ranking improved from 41st to 40th in the latest annual Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Data Book. Its economic well-being ranking improved from 44th to 36th, but its health ranking fell from 30th to 37th after it experienced its first decline in children covered by health insurance since 2010.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at a press conference in the Governor's office naming his new cabinet secretaries
Talk Business and Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday (May 22) named his 15 new cabinet secretaries who will be tasked with overhauling and then streamlining state government for the first time since former Gov. Dale Bumpers was in office in the early 1970s.


China customs has announced it will allow imports of U.S. rice and industry leaders are waiting for the first orders. The move is part of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Protocol signed between the United States and China from July 2017.


Two cannabis industry trade associations in Arkansas have merged to form a single organization.

The merger of Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association (ACIA) and Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association is effective immediately, according to a news release issued Tuesday (Dec. 11).

Dr. Joe Thompson, CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Imporvement, on Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Dr. Joe Thompson, CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and a former state surgeon general, says the data is still incomplete to shape policy over two of the biggest health insurance programs in Arkansas.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Thompson discussed the state’s Medicaid expansion program, known as Arkansas Works. Thompson helped craft its predecessor, the private option.

Former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton film a public service announcement encouraging the American people to make cash donations to the tsunami relief effort through in the White House Library Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005.
George W. Bush White House Archives

The nation’s 41st president died late Friday (Nov. 30) at the age of 94 after a series of health complications.

George Herbert Walker (H.W.) Bush was elected president in 1988 and served one term. He was vice-president for two terms under his predecessor, President Ronald Reagan. He was also the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.

The Delta Queen Steamboat
Talk Business and Politics

The Delta Queen, an overnight steamboat that once travelled many rivers including the Mississippi and Arkansas, will be back in action soon. The ship had been beached since 2008 when it didn’t receive a congressional exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea Act that prohibits boats with wooden superstructures from sheltering overnight guests, according to the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.


Soybean and peanut farmers still have thousands of acres to harvest in Craighead County, Craighead County extension agent Branon Thiesse told Talk Business & Politics, adding that constant rains in recent weeks have hampered efforts to finish the harvest in Northeast Arkansas.


While Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen to an all-time low of 3.5%, UA economist Mervin Jebaraj warns that there is a troubling trend of younger workers dropping out of the state’s labor pool.

Duane Highley, CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas
Talk Business and Politics

Deadly storms strike the east coast, but Arkansas forces mobilized to help.  Duane Highley, CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas joined Roby Brock of Talk Business to discuss his company’s “power moves.”

Stock photo of a random coffee shop.

U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon knows how the power of positive thought can translate into business success.


President Donald Trump has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports this year, and China has struck back with retaliatory tariffs of its own. Those tariffs are targeted on agriculture imports, and many of the impacted states voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new study released Tuesday (Aug. 7), and conducted by the Walton Family Foundation in Bentonville as part of its Heartland Project.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 6, 2017, presenting his proposed changes to the state's Medicaid-expansion program, which included the addition of a work requirement.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson offered a steady dose of good news concerning the state’s healthcare marketplace on Friday (Aug. 3), highlighted by new year-ending data showing Medicaid spending in Arkansas in fiscal 2018 was flat or near negative growth for the first time in recent memory.

Talk Business and Politics

Black River Technical College President Eric Turner has resigned. Turner told Talk Business & Politics he has been offered the president’s job at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. Turner’s last day will be Tuesday (July 31).

Talk Business and Politics

Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators joined the majority of Republican Senators who pushed back against President Donald Trump’s comments following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But like many of their peers they did not mention Trump by name.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

In 2016, Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana sales.  In the 21 months since its passage, legislators have adopted rules, a commission has processed applications, and the courts have dulled out legal opinions.  The bottom line is, there still isn’t any medical marijuana for sale in Arkansas, and the prospects look dim to any change in that diagnosis.   Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Roby Brock discuss the most recent Medical Marijuana Commission meeting.

Dr. Joe Thompson, CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and former Arkansas Surgeon General
Talk Business and Politics

Former Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson is still plenty active on a variety of healthcare topics.  He remains the CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.  A recent Kentucky legal ruling has complicated that state’s work requirement for Medicaid expansion—a system that was similar to the federally approved Arkansas Works work requirement.  Talk Business’ Roby Brock sits with Thompson to discuss how the Kentucky ruling could impact Arkansas.

John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Constitutional changes, including term limits and tort reform, are likely to be on the November ballot for Arkansas voters.  Could corruption in the state legislature be a factor in either of those two issues this Fall?  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Columnist John Brummett and Talk Business’ Roby Brock ponder that possibility.

The aquatics center in Batesville is one of the largest in the state, and cost about $25 million to build. It was funded by a voter-approved 1% sales tax increase.
Talk Business and Politics

The city of Jonesboro has experienced impressive economic and population growth during the past decade, and quality of life has become a focus for civic leaders interested in maintaining the momentum. One idea in that effort is an aquatic center.

Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux
Talk Business and Politics

Newly named Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux has the background to run just about any division of the state’s largest energy utility and she plans to use that experience to guide her in her new role.

John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an opening that’s about to occur in the U.S. Supreme Court.  It’s rare when a vacancy exists, but Justice Anthony Kennedy said he plans to retire.  That leaves President Donald Trump with the task of selecting a new justice.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett and Talk Business’ Roby Brock discuss the politics of the situation.

Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

Economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses tariffs, trade, deficit growth and personal income data.


Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

Angela Lowther, Executive Dir. of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, sitting with Paul Gatling, Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Talk Business and Politics

Health insurance—it’s constantly a worry for business owners, and the dynamics are continually changing.  TB&P Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling recently sat down with Angela Lowther, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, to find out what’s happening… in the Marketplace.

Talk Business and Politics

About three years ago Ronnie Samuel’s son was searching for a bumper for his ATV. When Samuel saw what was on the market, he told his son they could make something better.

Rage Fabrications was born.

The company opened its doors on a new facility Monday (June 18) in Trumann. Samuel told Talk Business & Politics his company invested about $200,000 in the company and it employs 10 workers. The facility located in the Truman industrial park is owned by the city, but Rage has signed a lease for at least five years and it has options for it to be extended up to 20 years.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson closed out the annual Arkansas Bar Association (ABA) meeting in Hot Springs on Friday (June 15) by urging Arkansans not to rush to judgment concerning the ongoing federal bribery probe involving his nephew and other state lawmakers, but he still used the forum to lay out a few ethics proposals he hopes will help address legislative misconduct at the State Capitol.

(L to R) Ray Hanley, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care CEO; Marquita Little, Health Policy Advisor for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families; and Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics.
Talk Business and Politics

Ray Hanley with Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care and Marquita Little with Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families discuss with Roby Brock of Talk Business a new Arkansas Works study that examines how the work requirement for Medicaid will impact Arkansans.