From The Gainesville Elevator to The New Gator Bait Magazine

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Hello, I’m Buddy Martin, editor and publisher of the new Gator Bait Magazine. And I am beginning to feel like I just walked on the set of Ground Hog Day Starring Bill Murray as part of the new ownership group for the new GatorBait2019 effective July 10, 2019.

Hello, I’m Buddy Martin, editor and publisher of the new Gator Bait Magazine. And I am beginning to feel like I just walked on the set of Ground Hog Day Starring Bill Murray as part of the new ownership group for the new GatorBait2019 effective July 10, 2019.

Here I come again, boomeranging right back where I started from! Another fork in the road back toward the University of Florida, where I was educated, met my wife, became one of those Boys From Old Florida and wound up in journalism.  

Maybe it was in my blood. I recently found out that my late grandfather, preacher-writer William Laban Martin, actually owned and operated The Gainesville Elevator newspaper in the early 1900s. Great name, The Gainesville Elevator. As most Gator fans know, it’s an up-and-down world. Right now with Dan Mullen and Mike White & Company, things appear to be going up.

Gator Bait TV executive producer/director son Brenden is my co-owner/partner, so this is very much a family deal.

We Martin Boys have ridden down this dusty trail before. Brenden likes to say, “We know what NOT to do, because we’ve already failed at it several times.”

Brenden was talking about our stint as co-founders of Florida Sports Talk radio, two years of trying to relaunch during the depression/recession and, most recently, the accidental innovation of Gator Nation Kingdom/The Buddy Martin Show. That latter is still and going after 19 months. Ask us about Chip Kelly and The Ocala Airport someday.

From my meager beginnings as a cub sports writer with the Florida Alligator, Ocala Star-Banner, and Gainesville Sun, I ran through the gauntlet of newspapers, then network TV, websites, then talk radio…whew! I get tired just saying it. And now this gig is back in the print media. Familiar ground. Consider it a reclamation project: Doing our part to help and preserve the written word. Newspapers have already gone the way of the dinosaurs. #JournalismPreservation 

While everybody else is zigging, we are zagging with this marriage of Old School/New School ideas and technique. You’ll be able to read actual words. We believe words still matter. And you’ll see see photos. And live streaming shows and video.

After saying and writing millions of words about the Florida Gators – yes,  I hope to have millions more in this new/old venture. 

At least that’s what we’re setting out to do on short notice.

We’ve certainly made a dent with our first new “transition edition,” a thick, 27-page edition! (Thanks Zach Abolverdi!) It included our tribute to Mr. Two Bits, my favorite interview with Dan Mullen, Franz’s Thoughts of the Week column and our conversation with Paul Finebaum.

Stay tuned for more exciting plans with the debut soon of GatorBait Plus and GatorBait Gold, which will soon merge with the #BuddyMartinShow on Facebook Live streaming where all our member/friend loyalists at #GatorNationKingdom hang out. And while I’m at it, I want to thank members of our GatorBait Lighthouse project for stepping up to support this project before it was even completed. 

Not all our incredibly talented GatorBait team may be our blood, but several of them are just like family. Especially Coordinating Producer/Technical Director Chad Ritch and his brother Executive Director of Operations Darren Ritch with whom we have served with for six months or more. And soon you’ll hear the voice and see the face of my former radio partner, Tom Schmitz, who is teaming up with Brenden.

You’ll also recognize other familiar names our recent jammed-packed pre-SEC Media Days edition: Senior Columnist Franz Beard and his Thoughts of the Day — now “Thoughts of the Week.” Franz has been a key member of our team for more than 18 months. 

We are also blessed and excited to be working with some talented young journalists like special reporter Kassidy Hill, Graham Hall and photographer Alex Shepherd. I’ll stop there. More to come and unveil soon.

We jumped right in. Chad, Darren, Kassidy Hill headed right away to Birmingham for coverage of SECMediaDays19. So we are celebrating another connection with yet another version of my seemingly insatiable appetite for everything Gators. And happily doing so.

We will be rolling out lots of new things in weeks to come, including our big GatorBait Tailgate in Orlando for Florida-Miami. But we are still very much a work in progress. And our motto is “Underpromise, Overdeliver.”

I am honored to be taking the reins of this iconic 40-year-old publication founded by David Stirt and, operated for many years by Landmark Publications, with Marty Cohen and my good friend Zach Abolverdi at the helm. I intend to hang on to the shirttails of Zach, who has a brilliant future and no doubt will soon on to bigger and better things (his decision, not mine). Zach promises to keep us around as a “hobby” for some of his musings

There is a tendency on my part to gush here, so I’ll sign off with this commitment: We want to hear from you. If you need to reach me or one of our staff, try this contact information: PS I hope soon you’ll be gushing with me. Let me hear from you:


Facebook: The Buddy Martin Show

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