“We’re just two quarantined teachers getting to know Bellingham!”
What began as an often talked about dream has become a full-fledged podcast hosted by Annika and Maria, two special education teachers with a passion for podcasts and eating and drinking in downtown Bellingham.
“We were really good friends, and we both like podcasts,” Annika says. “We had kind of been messing with the idea of doing one ourselves for a while, but weren’t sure what we wanted to do it on.” The duo considered teaching as a topic, but feared that could get too personal. “So we chose our second favorite thing, which is eating and drinking in downtown Bellingham.”
And while quarantine has temporarily limited dining out in Bellingham, it’s also provided the boost of extra creative time that the teachers needed to launch the podcast. “When COVID-19 hit, we were like—well, we have time! Do you want to just throw caution to the wind and see what happens?” Annika says.
So they did just that, pioneering The City of Subdued Podcast in late March. They immediately garnered interest from the community, producing two or three episodes a week (though they’ve since dialed it back to one weekly episode). “All that content gave us a lot of practice,” says Annika.
Their first episode, The City of Subdued Positive Reinforcement, featured Michael Nichols (the Bellingham Dog Guy!), and since then they’ve aired The City of Subdued Glitt3r Shrimp Art (featuring Aireekah, Professional Party Starter and owner of Glitt3r Lyfe), The City of Subdued Half Off Growlers (featuring Gary, owner of 122 West Brewing, which has no ties to Melvin Brewing), The City of Subdued Solidarity (featuring author, facilitator, activist, and professor Joy Wiggins), and many more. They also recently did a crossover episode with Jeff and Django from the Comics Place, who also have a Bellingham-based podcast.
Though Maria and Annika initially conceptualized their podcast as exploring all Bellingham has to offer, this unique moment in time has brought them and their interviewees a renewed appreciation for the community.
“We started this in a time of crisis,” says Maria. “The people we’ve interviewed have been so grateful for community support and how everyone’s had a spirit of giving during this crisis. In normal times, I think Bellingham has a lot of fun things to offer while still feeling like a small town where you recognize people. It has a special vibe. It keeps growing and changing, and it feels like there’s good coming our way and I’m excited to see where it’s headed.”
As for where their podcast is headed, Maria and Annika are excited to talk to more Bellingham celebrities. Annika wants to see the Obama Car Lady on their show. “I want to talk to her! I have so many questions!” she says. “Or Holly from Galloway’s. I don’t know if she knows she’s a Bellebrity, but she’s so great and friendly—and how come we all know her name?”
As for Maria’s dream guests? “Some people on our local city council would be great to talk to,” she says. “Mayor Fleetwood would be an interesting person to interview.”
Once pandemic restrictions begin to ease, both podcast hosts are excited to share more about Bellingham. “Hopefully once this is over, we can get out and do more things.” Maria says. “I’m hoping to have different kinds of segments. There’s not a lot of local stuff we can talk about right now because not much is happening. When we can leave our houses we can definitely talk about more.”
Despite this, Maria and Annika are still getting creative about bringing you the latest and greatest from Bellingham. Maria does a segment for current events. “She always seems to surprise me and find things,” says Annika. “I think it’s so hard! It would be much easier with things going on, but Maria pulls through every week and finds things to talk about.”
One more dream of Annika’s? “It would be cool to record in different places,” she says with a laugh. “Right now, we’re recording in our living room or closet, and that’s it.”
The City of Subdued Podcast can be found on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, where Maria and Annika encourage folks to like and subscribe.