The mission was clear and simple. Raise the bar.
Those were the marching orders from Gary Press, then-chairman of Lifestyle Media Group, after he hired me in 2016 to oversee the company’s Lifestyle magazines. It was an offer that I couldn’t refuse, in part because of all the wining and dining involved (emphasis on the wine). It also helped that the talented team in place at Lifestyle, led by publisher Michelle Simon and creative director Melanie Geronemus Smit, already stood on the precipice of something special.
But what sealed the deal for me was that the leadership team never stopped thinking several moves ahead on the chessboard.
Even after Lifestyle won a combined 18 Florida Magazine Association awards, including 14 first-place honors, during a period (2018 and 2019) that included consecutive years of statewide recognition in the prestigious category of Best Overall Magazine (for our circulation bracket), we kept asking the question.
How can we better serve our readers, our advertisers and our community partners?
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, Lifestyle was the only local magazine to continue publishing monthly—without interruption—and add a daily newsletter to keep our communities abreast of breaking developments.
The latest answer to the ongoing question that drives our business came into sharp focus in July with the acquisition of Lifestyle Media Group by Babcox Media.
The Akron, Ohio-based company—renowned nationwide as the leading provider of business-to-business content and services for the transportation industry—brings more to the South Florida market than a media legacy that spans 102 years.
The acquisition—which includes all seven Lifestyle titles, along with our company’s business magazines (South Florida Business & Wealth and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth)—gives our team access to the cutting-edge products and capabilities that continue to distinguish Babcox as an innovator when it comes to multimedia content development. All of this means new and increased opportunities for our advertisers, sponsors and collaborators—as well as next-level engagement for our readers. Think advanced audience targeting, social media campaign management, and state-of-the-art digital services, from videos and livestreams to podcasts.
In describing his dealings over the course of the transaction with members of Babcox Media—led by third-generation owner Bill Babcox, CEO since 1990, and company president Greg Cira—Gary Press noted that the company’s culture, passion and vision align perfectly with the Lifestyle Media Group philosophy.
“The future couldn’t be brighter for our team—as well as for our existing and future clients,” said Press, who will continue to serve in an advisory capacity.
Once again, the bar has been raised. Enjoy the issue.