Observer Media Group

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Observer Media Group
IndustryOnline and Print media
Founded1995; 27 years ago (1995)[1]
FoundersMatt Walsh
Lisa Walsh[2]
Area served
Southern Florida
Key people
David Beliles, chairman[2]
Matt Walsh, CEO[1]
Number of employees

Observer Media Group, Inc. is a media company that publishes local newspapers and magazines in the U.S. state of Florida. The company publishes twelve newspapers, three quarterly magazines and maintains six news websites.


Observer Media Groupstarted when Matt Walsh and Lisa Walsh purchased the Longboat Observer in 1995 from Ralph and Claire Hunter with the help of Lisa's parents and a small group of other investors. The Hunters started the Longboat Observer in 1978.[2][1]

Since then, Observer Media Group established new local newspapers, such as the Sarasota Observer in 2004, and acquired other older newspapers, such as the 100+ year-old West Orange Times in 2014 and Financial News & Daily Record in 2017.[2][3][4] OMG maintains journalistic offices in Tampa, Clearwater, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Lakeland, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, New Port Richey, Winter Garden, Lakewood Ranch, Port Charlotte, Palm Coast, and Ormond Beach.[1] The name was changed to Observer Media Group in 2012 from The Observer Group.[1][5]

Observer Media acquired Pelican Press from Wisconsin-based Journal Media Group in 2011.[6][7] Pelican Press serves the Siesta Key area of Florida and in 2013, OMG renamed the paper to Siesta Key Observer to fit its overall branding.[2]

In 2012, The Observer attempted to publish the Palm Coast Observer twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. With a circulation of 25,000, OMG abandoned the idea and returned to a Thursday-only publishing schedule. The move, however, saw circulation increase to 30,000. "At first glance it looks like we may have an overall increase in ad revenue. And lower delivery cost," observed CEO Matt Walsh at the time. "In any business manual it is a wonderful thing to increase revenue and reduce cost at the same time."[8] August 1, 2013, saw the launch of the Plant City Times & Observer with an initial run of 15,000 copies, the publication was sold to a group of local investors in December, 2018.[9]

In 2016, Emily Walsh was named publisher of several of OMG's assets, including East County Observer, Longboat Observer, Sarasota Observer, Siesta Key Observer,, Season magazine and LWR Life magazine. As the daughter of the founders, Emily Walsh has worked most of her career for OMG.[10]


As of 2021, Observer Media Group owns twelve newspapers (directly or indirectly), three magazines and six websites in support of the print editions, reaching more than 441,804 readers per week.[2] OMG works with issuu, the largest digital newsstand, to publish online digital copies of its print material.

Name Since Format Frequency Area served Paid or free Circulation Website Notes
Business Observer[11] 1997 Tabloid Weekly Southwest Florida Paid 5,269 Formerly known as Gulf Coast Business Review[2]
East County Observer[12] 1998 Broadsheet Weekly Sarasota-Bradenton Free 24,187
Jacksonville Daily Record[13] 1912 Tabloid Daily Jacksonville Paid 4,950
Longboat Observer[14] 1978 Broadsheet Weekly Longboat Key Free 11,373 First publication owned by OMG
LWR Life[15] 2014 Magazine Quarterly Lakewood Ranch Free 20,000 None, but digital editions available here Partnership with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., a land management company[2]
Ormond Beach Observer[16] 2013 Broadsheet Weekly Ormond Beach Free 6,000
Palm Coast Observer'[17] 2010 Broadsheet Weekly Palm Coast Free 12,000
Plant City Times & Observer[18] 2012 Tabloid Weekly Plant City Free 13500 Joint venture with Times Publishing Company[9]
Port Orange Observer[19] 1987 or 2017 Tabloid Monthly Port Orange Free 2,500 July 13, 2017 edition is called "Volume 1, No. 1" so it may be titled same as a defunct paper[20]
Siesta Key Observer[21] 1969 Broadsheet Weekly Siesta Key Free 5,520 Formerly known as Pelican Press[7]
Season[2] 2000 Magazine Quarterly Sarasota area Free 60,000 None, but digital editions available here
Sarasota Observer[22] 2004 Broadsheet Weekly Sarasota Free 23,157
West Orange Times & Observer[23] 1904 Broadsheet Weekly Western Orange County Free 7,407
Southwest Orange Observer[24] 2015 Broadsheet Weekly Windermere Free 7,593
Winter Park-Maitland Observer[25] 1989 Tall tabloid Weekly Suburbs of Orlando Free 12000


  1. ^ a b c d e "Company Overview of Observer Media Group, Inc". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Observer Media Group. "About Us". Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  3. ^ "Daily Record has new owner". Financial News & Daily Record. January 18, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Bull, Roger (January 18, 2017). "Financial News & Daily Record sold after 104 years in same family". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Braga, Michael (December 27, 2012). "Observer Media Group borrows $2.75 million". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Observer buys the Pelican Press". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. June 10, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Pelican Press & Pelican Marketplace Change Hands". Community Papers of Florida. July 28, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  8. ^ Tristam, Pierre (September 25, 2013). "Eighteen Months In, Palm Coast Observer Retrenches Back to Once a Week". Flagler Live. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Plant City Times & Observer to debut Aug. 1". Tampa Bay Times. July 24, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  10. ^ "New Publisher at Observer Media Group". Cision. July 8, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  11. ^ "Business Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "East County Observer, The". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "Daily Record, The". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  14. ^ "Longboat Observer, The". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "LWR Life - Magazine Advertising Costs". Resources for Entrepreneurs. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  16. ^ "Ormond Beach Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  17. ^ "Palm Coast Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "Plant City Times & Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "About Port Orange Observer". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  20. ^ "Ptoo 07 13 17". issuu. July 12, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  21. ^ "Pelican Press". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "Sarasota Observer, The". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "West Orange Times & Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  24. ^ "Windermere Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  25. ^ "Winter Park-Maitland Observer". Florida Press Association. Retrieved December 19, 2017.

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