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Annika Fleming (left) and Maria Dalla Gasperina on a field trip with Western during their internship in 2017. // Photo courtesy of Annika Fleming.

By Katya McMullen

Two Western alumni living in Bellingham created a podcast about the city during the COVID-19 pandemic

titled The City of Subdued Podcast

The podcast is recorded remotely with a guest each episode.

They cover the pets, hot gossip, people, food, places, businesses and things of Bellingham, according to the podcast description. New episodes air every Sunday on Spotify, Google Podcasts and The City of Subdued Podcast website.

Maria Dalla Gasperina and Annika Fleming are elementary special education teachers who met while studying at Western. They planned on starting their podcast over school’s summer break, but are taking advantage of the extra time because of COVID-19.

Dalla Gasperina said they started the podcast because they are both big podcast fans and wanted to create one about the community that they love and are enthusiastic about Bellingham. Fleming said she loves true crime podcasts and will binge them while she does work around the house and Dalla Gasperina said she loves NPR and pop culture podcasts.

They get inspiration for their podcasts by scouring the internet, Dalla Gasperina said. Dalla Gasperina said they try to find things that people want to talk about outside of COVID-19. She said they do one interview per episode with the well-known and the not so well-known people of Bellingham.

Aireekah Laudert of Glitt3r Lyfe, a party-starting business, was interviewed on episode nine.

 “I was honestly a touch nervous, but Annika and Maria are really friendly and fun, and I had a great time,” Laudert said. 

She was interviewed about the story behind her business and the situational photography of shrimp she makes calendars from.

Fleming said she likes the connection to the Bellingham community. She said a guest they interviewed, local comedian Emily Howard, listened to episode one of the podcast featuring dog trainer Michael Nichols “The Dog Guy.” She used his remote dog training services that she found through the podcast.

 “That was great because we were getting some practical information out to people and also helping our guest,” Fleming said.

Fleming said she’s enjoyed learning how to do remote interviews. She said it can be tough to learn but now they feel comfortable doing them in any situation, with or without COVID-19. 

“I think in our ideal world we’re next to each other drinking wine,” Dalla Gasperina said.

 She said hanging out with Fleming and getting to know people together is one of her favorite parts about doing the podcast. 

“Our plan is to be popular so when we enter the room people go ‘Oh, it’s them,’” Dalla Gasperina said. “You know, reach for the stars.”


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