Local podcaster Olivia Noel took a look around Gainesville and knew something was missing.
Noel, 26, is the co-host of “Girlish,” a podcast that covers the depths of the transgender experience as told by longtime friends Noel and Gage Adkins, who met on Twitter at the beginning of each of their transitions.
When Spotify asked Noel where it should place the next pop-up podcast location, the answer came easily.
“I was like, ‘It has to be Curia… It's my happy place,’” Noel said.
Anchor.fm, Spotify’s free podcast-hosting platform, launched its second pop-up podcast studio Jan. 26 as part of its Making Space program. Dedicated to “democratiz[ing] audio” by offering the resource to anyone interested, the program aims to invest in minority- and local-owned businesses for future pop-ups.
Spotify selected Curia On The Drag, a coffee shop located at 2029 NW 6th St., to become the second-ever location in the nation to host the complimentary recording space in partnership with Anchor.fm.
Anyone can book a free podcasting session. The link to do so can be found at Anchor.fm’s website through Calendly. Budding creatives can instantly book a one-hour slot at the overflow space across the way from Curia’s coffee shop.
The venue has been a big source of support for the LGBTQ community in Gainesville, Noel said. Between hosting weekly drag brunches and its vegan menu, she said, Curia emphasizes community.
Noel’s excited to begin using the podcasting space to record “Girlish,” she said.
The self-defined “trans culture” podcast features YouTubers Adkins and Noel. The pair released 26 episodes in 2022 and saw an increase of 565% of listeners, according to Spotify’s statistics.
Using the Anchor.fm app, the pair has amassed over 58,000 YouTube followers combined.
Adkins, 28, works for an insurance fraud adjustment company and co-hosts “Girlish” from her home in Los Angeles, California. Noel, a Gainesville resident, works in learning and development for a payroll company, and they both record episodes from the comfort of their living rooms.
The duo recorded the first episode of their podcast in 2019. Now in their eighth year of friendship, they’ve been sharing their rambling opinions on various queer-related topics ever since.
Having a space like Curia to record a podcast can be helpful, Adkins said. The hassle of securing a quiet space and accessing at-times expensive equipment are often the biggest barriers for beginners when starting out.
“It being here gives so many opportunities to everyone in the community to use it and start their own podcasts,” Adkins said.
Anchor.fm offers two podcasting microphones and two broadcast arms, as well as two sets of headphones and a Rode Rodecaster Pro mixing console to rentees during their time slot.
The recording space will offer opportunities for Gainesville creatives to design podcasts and potentially open space for music artists’ recordings or even stand-up routines, Adkins added.
The pair dives into the importance of a trans-hosted podcast during their episodes. In a space where LGBTQ topics may remain taboo in some households, Adkins said, the pair feels it’s their duty to fill that gap and be role models for younger transgender kids who might be questioning their identities.
“Our biggest purpose is to be that representation for a newer generation,” Adkins said. “It's just a way for us to kind of share our own experiences and maybe help other people along the way.”
A podcast like “Girlish” is trailblazing, Noel said. The fact that transgender people can work with a national company like Spotify shows changing values among the public, she added.
With the recent increase of LGBTQ-related issues entering local and national political discourse, the duo hasn’t had any shortage of topics to discuss.
From covering Texas legislation regulating drag queens to recent attacks on the LGBTQ community, the pair said, they feel grateful for their platform.
The recent policies passed by Florida legislation to ostracize LGBTQ students have had an unfortunate effect on the trans community, Noel said. Concerns with privacy and health when it comes to gender-affirming care have also arisen within the UF transgender community.
“We see news like Ron DeSantis counting trans people,” Noel said. “Or requesting information of trans people within the public universities, which directly affects me. It's super scary to see that stuff happening.
Noel feels empowered when they reclaim negative instances like these as jokes during episodes, she said. Not only does it offer their listeners a more well-informed view on these topics, but it creates an environment safe enough for an open dialogue with their audience.
“We want to bring a twist to these really awful things and just reclaim it to be something that's humorous to us,” Noel said.
Noel believes there will be a large number of Gainesville creatives who will want to utilize the space because of how interactive, accessible and easy the recording space is to navigate, she said.
The pair encourages any podcast hopefuls to take the leap, no matter where they are in the process.
It doesn’t matter if you have a $1,000 microphone or if you record using the Voice Memos app on your phone, like the “Girlish” pair did when they first began their show, Adkins said.
“When we first started, we were a mess,” Adkins said. “But we still ended up here… It's more important to really be passionate.”
Contact Loren at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LorenMiranda13.
Loren Miranda is a second-year journalism major and a staff writer for the Avenue. She is also a copy editor for Rowdy Magazine. When she's not writing, she enjoys watching either critically acclaimed films or cheesy reality TV, no in-betweens.