Local tourism officials announce partnership with Steel Magnolias podcast

Pictured are Franklin-based podcasters sisters Laura Beth Peters and Lainie Stubblefield. Local tourism official Ryan French recently announced that Experience TN and the South Central Tennessee Tourism Association plans to partner with their show, the Steel Magnolias podcast, to bring more tourism awareness to southern, middle Tennessee. | Photo Credit: Stephanie Estelle 

Ryan French, executive director of South Central Tennessee Tourism Association and Experience TN, recently announced a strategic partnership with the popular Franklin-based Steel Magnolias Podcast. Sisters Lainie Stubblefield and Laura Beth Peters hosts the show, which sits comfortably in the top one percent of podcasts in the country.

The hosts cover “all things Southern” and discuss culture, food, hospitality, travel, history, regional events, and even college football on their weekly podcast. Recent episodes discuss John Grisham novels and the Southern Live Oak tree.

“We’re excited to collaborate with the Steel Magnolias Podcast on highlighting some of the incredible people, businesses attractions, and hidden gems throughout the region,” French said. “These are going to make amazing stories, and even more amazing visits for the Podcast listeners who decide to come and experience this spectacular region of Tennessee.”

As you will recall, state tourism opened the Tennessee Whiskey Trailhead and Lynchburg Visitor’s Center in September 2023. French, a graduate of Moore County High School, oversees management of the center. {To read our full coverage of that grand opening, click here.}

Telling great southern stories

The partnership comes for Lainie and Laura Beth on the heels of launching season 6 of the Steel Magnolias Podcast. The inspiration for the podcast was to educate and welcome newcomers who recently relocated to the South. The inspiring show has now grown into an audio library of Southern historical topics and modern-day cultural moments numbering more than 200 episodes. 

“We started the podcast in 2018 because we felt there was a need for a resource that could help people understand the South,” Lainie said. “People move here from all over the country and the world, and they don’t always know what to expect.”

The sisters say that as southerners, the conversation is lively, but also uplifting. They also say their mutual love of the South inspired them to turn to the world of podcasting to share the conversations they were already having around Lainie’s kitchen table. The podcast now spans six continents.

“We’re so proud of how far the show has come and we would never have guessed some of the scenarios and opportunities the show has offered us.” said Peters. “Partnering with Experience Tennessee is a great next step in continuing to tell great Southern stories to people all over the world.” 

Plans for the collaboration include regular podcasts from the small towns and rural communities in the South Central Tennessee region like Lynchburg, as well as cross promotion of content captured from on-site visits, as well as Laura Beth and Lainie’s participation in media FAMS and special events, along with marketing and PR opportunities with the organization. A brand-new Steele Magnolias Podcast landing page will soon be featured and available to the 3.58 million visitors to the regional website.

To learn more about Experience TN, click here. To visit the Steel Magnolia podcast website, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned and locally-operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It’s published by a native and current resident with over 20 years of journalism experience. If you’d like to support local folks writing local stories about local people, please consider subscribing, by clicking here.}