The Cindy Stovall Project
Written by #HeliumRadio on October 4, 2017
Our last show host blog was well received. Therefore we’re continuing the show host series with some arts and culture. We interviewed Cindy Stovall, the show host behind Beauty & The ‘Burg (“BATB”) to learn about her personal back story, her history with podcasting and how the show came to be.
From the New York Arts to the St. Petersburg Arts
The Stovalls are a family from New York City. Early on, arts and culture surrounded Cindy as a young woman. Her career in nursing is considered two careers in one with her 12-hour shifts as a critical care nurse. Cindy also spent a lot of time in the NICU unit, caring for premature infants and infants born with health conditions. Cindy added that she considers her entire family to be “a service family. My father was a police officer in New York, I was a nurse and my sister was a social worker.”
In 1985, she moved to Tampa, specifically the Carrollwood area as a result of her family. She spent 6 years in Tampa before her sister married and both sisters moved to St. Petersburg in 1991. There she was heart-struck with the beauty, arts and culture within downtown St. Petersburg. Her nursing career was not interrupted for long Cindy followed her sister to St. Petersburg. She also spent 12 hard-working years as an educator at All Children’s Hospital.
Stovall was involved with nursing up until a few months before she began podcasting in 2014. It was then she yearned for a much-needed break from the intensity that nursing brought upon her. “The opportunity to leave presented itself,” she began and explained that she needed to divert her time to her mother who was in a nursing home.
A Calling From An Unknown Number
The story of podcasting is an interesting one. “Broadcasting was always something I’ve wanted to do … [I’ve] always had a passion for speaking,” she explained. There was a time when Cindy received a phone call from an unknown number. A woman left her a voicemail—turns out it was a wrong number—but she had a feeling it contained important information. Cindy called the woman back who asked her what she did for a living. Before Cindy answered, the woman said, “because I hope you’re doing it with your voice!” Ever since then, podcasting has lived in the back of Cindy’s mind.
Cindy knew of a former show host who was planning a Mother’s Day show and Cindy offered to be a guest. “I put my hand up as soon as possible and not long after, I walked into the Life Improvement Radio studio and immediately felt at home,” she commented. Helping her mother who was in poor health was very draining for Stovall. However, Cindy proudly added and we quote, “the radio show really saved me!” That particular guest spot was a way for Cindy to experience podcasting as she had quite a lot to say about her mother. Cindy went on to mention that speaking into the microphone at the former Life Improvement Radio studios was wonderful and will be missed.
Cindy Stovall: Local Celebrity
Beauty & The ‘Burg started in July of 2014. Having a footprint in the area for 23 years helped her grow a quick following. Out of the gate, Cindy’s show pulled in between 15,000 and 20,000 listeners on a monthly basis. Syndication through other local platforms helped her and the Life Improvement Radio station grow their exposure.
Because her show covers local artists and promotes local events, Cindy has been at the forefront of the big local names. The first big annual event that immediately come to mind are Creative Loafing and their Best of the Bay (BOTB) Awards.
David Warner and Larry Biddle of Creative Loafing agreed to let Cindy cover the event. The first year was mostly an introductory year. Fans of theater and guests weren’t entirely sure what was going on. Once word got out, each year thereafter has been great. The Mahaffey Theater where the BOTB awards are held is full every year with north of 700 people in attendance.
Unfortunately, Cindy wasn’t in attendance this year. The BOTB dates overlapped with her trip to London to be with her son, Jordan Stovall. Recently, his podcast was featured on our station before he moved overseas.
TIGLFF, the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, is the second big local event worth including. For the past 2 years, Cindy has covered the TIGLFF festival as the media representative.
Future Broadcasting And Influence
Moving forward, Cindy mentioned she wants her show to have a more polished feel, which is a challenge. The largest part of the challenge comes from Helium Radio Network being a virtual podcast platform. Luckily, Cindy is the only major player promoting arts and events and culture in downtown St. Petersburg in the entire area.
Her influence reaches far especially when it comes to social media. She’s very prevalent on Facebook with her BATB group, a separate podcast page and her own personal page. Friends and listeners private message her constantly asking to be a guest. She’s never at a loss for guests; they all flock to her in one way or another. She does many of her shows from ordinary spots including her own house. Occasionally, there are live remote Cindy broadcasts from as well.
Stay tuned as we cover more show hosts and their history with podcasting. More local community blogs will be popping up as well. Creative Loafing, TIGLFF and many more will make an appearance shortly!
Thank you for your attention!