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Bob Devin Jones launching ‘celebratory’ podcast

Bill DeYoung



Bob Devin Jones, left, and Richard Santora will co-host "R&B." A premiere date is expected within the week. Photo by Joey Clay.

The ever-expanding world of podcasting is about to gain a new inhabitant: Bob Devin Jones, the artistic director at thestudio@620, is launching an interview show he’s calling R&B.

The full title is Thestudio@620 Presents R&B: Art, Culture, Heritage and Community For St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay, a Bit of Sarasota and the Rest of the World.

Jones, a longtime, central figure in the St. Pete arts community, will be joined by co-host Richard Santora (the “R” to Jones’ “B”). “I just thought it would be fun to spotlight somebody other than myself, have a cohort,” Jones says. “He looks like Captain America.”

The first two episodes, shot at thestudio using three cameras, are in the can. The first interview subjects include Eugenie Bondurant, Carla Bristol, Ray Arsenault, Nate Najar, Daniela Soledade, Roy Peter Clark and Mark Lombardi-Nelson.

The show will appear in the St. Pete Catalyst, along with thestudio@620 Facebook page. St. Pete Radio will broadcast the audio portion.

A launch date is expected within the week – the programs are still being edited. “This is my first foray into this, so of course there is a learning curve,” says Jones. “And maybe it’s not a curve, maybe it’s a mountain.”

Jones explains that he and Santora cooked up the idea because of the overabundance of bad news and negativity in the media.

Not that he’s putting his head in the sand, mind you, blithely ignoring that there are indeed dark forces at work everywhere.

Take the media’s constant take on Covid-19, he explains. “It’s always leavened with a big dose of fear. And, to quote a friend, I’m over it.”

Jones went through a Covid scare of his own in 2020. “I nearly died, and then I didn’t. So I understand about being informed and telling it like it is, and I’m letting everybody else do that.

“And I’m also telling it like it is, because I walk in a lot of good vibrations. And that’s what the show is about. That’s the whole impetus of doing it. What’s good about where it is.”

R&B, he adds, “is just a celebration. And we’ll do it as long as we get at least two listeners.”

According to Jones, St. Pete’s mayor and deputy mayor always ask him “What’s on the agenda?” “And I tell them ‘I’m just here to praise.’ Of course, life it has its deleterious bits and it has its celebratory bits. And I’m concentrating on the celebratory ones.”

He says he’s been complimented on his interviewing technique, which includes the all-important paying attention.

“I have a very narrow thing that I can do,” Jones chuckles. “I can make chocolate chip cookies. I make very good cornbread. And I can talk and listen to people.

“I’m not trying to be a savant, and know a little about this, a little about that – no, I have a very narrow bandwidth of what I can do fairly well. So that’s all I’m doing.”

Watch the Catalyst for updates on the premiere of the R&B podcast.
















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