From the Publisher

A word from Publisher Brian Rowland


What’s in a name?A new addition to the Rowland Publishing family

{mosimage}For a quarter century we have published to the east and for six years we have published to the west – now, it was time to fill in the middle gap and create a complete footprint of consumer lifestyle magazines in Northwest Florida.I have been studying the Panama City market for quite a while and, after a couple years of meeting and research, I got the feeling the market was ready. I was about to pull the trigger last year to initiate the launch process when the onslaught of hurricanes began their forays into the Gulf of Mexico. So onto the shelf it went for another year, until early this winter when we quietly began the process of developing the third jewel to our crown of consumer titles.

In hindsight, our most daunting task was naming the new magazine. There have been several publication startups and failures – all with the word “Panama” in them – which made me uncomfortable. Market research made us keenly aware that the Hathaway Bridge is the line of demarcation between two civilizations, the residents of Panama City and the newcomers of Panama City Beach (A place where the teenagers of P.C. could find nothing but trouble after dark).

For weeks, we put every combination of words that could make sense and fit on the masthead of a magazine, but it just wasn’t right. One day, with the counsel of a good friend from Atlanta, the name Bay Life came into focus. We thought it covered all of the bases. The name encompasses all of Bay County, so neither the areas outside of the municipalities, nor Lynn Haven or Mexico Beach would feel snubbed. The market is surrounded by bays and it’s all about life – and the words fit perfectly at the top of the page.

Whew, the new baby was named! We had 90 days to market our inaugural summer issue. So, with a Rowland Publishing money-back guarantee to advertisers in hand, Mike Voznick (a former Tallahassee and Panama City resident) began the task of meeting, greeting and earning the trust of the business community. On June 21, 15,000 copies of a 100-page perfect-bound magazine arrived at the homes of the affluent cone of Bay County residents – and the next day our phones began to ring.

In conjunction with the debut performance of Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Bay County’s new symphony, we will host the Bay Life launch party September 22 at Panama City’s Marina Civic Center. Bernadette Peters will make an appearance after her performance with Sinfonia. We want to share in the excitement with patrons of the event as well as many of the business professionals who took a risk and made an investment in the beginning of Bay Life. If you’d like to see this performance and join us for the christening of Bay Life at the launch party afterward, call (850) 267-1478 or visit and purchase a ticket. Tell them you’re a Tallahassee VIP guest and admission to the party will be included with your Sinfonia tickets.

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the issue of Tallahassee Magazine we deliver to you today. Our cover story profiles one of Tallahassee’s most accomplished and prolific artists, Jimmy Mathewuse. If you’ve read a book, chances are you’ve seen his work on the cover (and you definitely have if you came of age reading “Sweet Valley High” teen romance novels). His works have an almost photographic realism that is captivating – as is the story of his artistic success.

Another feature in this issue – about Tallahassee’s real-life Crime Scene Investigation – is a story I’ve personally been excited about, and I know you will find it interesting too. Unfortunately a lot of the whiz-bang technology seen on television’s multitudinous CSI shows is just Hollywood fantasy. But it is fascinating to see how local sheriff’s deputies were able to solve one local murder with a combination of technology, hard work and good luck.

And with cooler weather just around the corner, we share a glimpse of some of the top area retailers’ fashion picks for fall.

With Florida State University and Florida A&M University games kicking off, this fall our economy will get a shot of financial adrenaline after a steamy, slow summer.

Enjoy your autumn days.

Brian Rowland, Publisher


Categories: Quick Reads