Roughly half of Americans listen to podcasts, according to the Pew Research Center. As the demand for new podcasts grows, more people are stepping up to participate in the trend as podcast creators, and Pearland residents are no exception.

Thea Curry-Fuson, who pastors First United Methodist Church of Pearland, said she found community by listening to podcasts about church leadership but felt women were underrepresented in ministry podcasts.

“There were not a lot of options for that I could find with a woman’s voice that wasn’t super flowery or telling me to be a man and act like a man, and so I just felt like well, there’s this gap in this area,” Curry-Fuson said.

She decided to create her own women’s leadership podcast called “She Leads” and now records at Charlie Mike: Pearland Podcast Studio, a podcast recording studio in Pearland that opened in March.

Charlie Mike, which is military code for “continue mission,” was founded by Pearland residents and Army veterans Raul Moreno and William Garay, who wanted to create something that would bring veterans together to talk about their experiences in the military. In addition to offering podcasting services to the community, the owners host their own podcast, called "Charlie Mike The Podcast," where they connect with other veterans to discuss topics like transitioning out of the military and healing from PTSD. On July 4, the podcast will host a 12-hour YouTube livestream to raise money for Helping a Hero, a nonprofit dedicated to building homes for America’s wounded veterans.

Moreno said eight regular podcasters use Charlie Mike’s services, which include recording, editing, distribution and marketing. Both owners said proximity is a big sell for local Pearland podcasters.

“We wanted to do one in Pearland because we’ve been to the studios in Houston. ... They’re very friendly, but ... they’re in Houston,” Garay said.

Prior to recording at Charlie Mike, Brianda Carrasco Nava, who hosts “Built from the Inside Out,” said she had to drive north of Houston to find a quality recording studio.

Private companies aren’t the only ones creating places to record podcasts. In August, West Pearland Library will open a radio, television and film makerspace that will have capabilities for recording podcasts.

“We tried to cater for beginning users or people who wanted to try out some different products before they committed to buying them on their own because one of our missions here at the library is to connect people and resources,” branch librarian Jessica Williams said.

In January, the city of Pearland released the first episode of its own podcast called “People of Pearland,” where city staff members share about their lives, experiences and day-to-day work serving the city of Pearland. City officials have committed to releasing one episode a month and hope sharing their stories with the public will help foster better trust of government.

“We’re a people-based organization,” Communications Director Josh Lee said. “So when people say they don’t trust government, they’re saying they don’t trust the people.”

City staffers record the podcast in a mixed-media space in City Hall, but Lee said they hope to build a permanent, dedicated space.