Bill Hampton, publisher of AutoBeat Group, LLC, began his college career at the University of Michigan intending on becoming an engineer, but his passion for cars and writing soon led him in a different direction.
"I was a car nut as a teenager, but the interest in writing about the auto industry didn't happen until college," said Hampton. "I could tell after two years that engineering wouldn't be my calling. I thought that since I seemed to be good at writing, I could write about technology." With a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in science writing, Hampton embarked on a vocation that would lead him to the top of his field.
"This is the 40th year I've been writing about the industry," said Hampton. He began working for World News, but eventually took a position as bureau chief of Business Week. There, he authored 17 cover stories on the auto industry.
"Business Week's philosophy was always that readers are busy people," said Hampton. "They need to know more than what happened. They need to know why it happened and what does it mean. It helped me develop that way of looking at the news."
After 13 years with Business Week, Hampton was urged to relocate from Michigan, but declined because his wife, Tavi Fulkerson, had created a successful events marketing business in Birmingham.
"I decided to go to Campbell Ewald in Warren," said Hampton. "I became a group publisher. That's where I learned the publishing business, and there came a moment where I thought maybe I could do it myself." Hampton left Campbell Ewald in 1993, and began a publishing career that compelled him to create AutoBeat Group, an online news source focused completely on the automobile industry.
Today, AutoBeat Group, encompassing AutoBeat Daily, AutoTech Daily, AutoBeat Asia and AutoBeat Europe, boasts 155,000 readers worldwide and recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The company is currently reformatting its website, making it possible for subscribers to have access to all four publications. "Under the new format, we'll be doing live updates during the day."
The global publication boils the news down in the most succinct way possible, said Hampton.
"We write articles that are quite brief, a few hundred words per item. Executives can skim it within a couple minutes and start the day knowing what's really important."
An auto enthusiast, Hampton has been attending the Detroit auto show since 1971, and recalls driving down the Woodward Dream Cruise when it first began, with his wife and their then one-year-old daughter in tow. While he's drawn to newer, more high-performance vehicles, he has made a hobby out of restoring the 1965 Sunbeam Alpine passed onto him by his father....continued on page 2