In January of 2013, Jamie Golden felt that God wanted her to quit her job … But she loved her job; this feeling didn’t make sense. Nonetheless, in October of 2013, Jamie took a leap of faith and handed in her letter of resignation with no idea of what she was going to do next. Today Jamie is one-half of the duo behind one of the most popular podcasts in the country — The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. With more than 8.5 million downloads, The Popcast is in the top 3% of all podcasts and has listeners in 60 countries worldwide. Jamie’s hilarious take on all things pop culture has helped The Popcast build a huge fan base. Avid listeners are also eager to come out to live recordings of the show, hosted in cities like Chicago, Portland, Dallas, Charlotte and Birmingham. In 2018, Jamie and her podcast partner Knox McCoy launched The Bible Binge, a podcast for which they recap Bible stories with the same humor and flair they use to recap episodes of shows like The Bachelor. We’re excited to introduce Jamie Golden as our newest FACE of Birmingham.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take a leap of faith like you did when you quit your job?
At the end of the day, your mortgage company or landlord is not interested in your dreams, or God’s will, or that God is speaking to you. Start putting away a little bit of money. Know that it may not come together in your first 90 days of your leap of faith. I filled in the gaps with social media consulting, and I baked cake pops and sold them just to pay the bills until I figured out what God was telling me to do. It may not all make sense. But if you’re following a dream, work the hardest you have ever worked.
How did The Popcast come to be?
Knox and I met in a writing forum. He was already hosting a podcast just as a side gig, and he asked me to recap a season of “The Bachelorette.” We really had good chemistry on air. So, in August of 2013, we launched The Popcast. But I was doing that as a hobby. It never occurred to me that I was quitting my job to become a podcaster.
Why do you think The Popcast is so popular?
We have a Tigger and Eeyore vibe. We say we’re Poppy and Branch from Trolls. We’re like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly from Step Brothers. There are people who connect to Knox because he’s more analytical and a little more pessimistic, and then I am very rainbows and glitter and uni-kitty. So, people connect to both of us in different ways. But we’re really just having a good time. People want to listen to something that will not remind them that the world is a dumpster fire. Our tagline is, “We educate on things that entertain, but don’t matter.” We just want you to have a break from the rest of the things that are weighing down on you.
Tell us about the not-so-glamourous side of podcasting.
Such a small component of what we do is actually being on a mic. It’s running a business, having HR issues when you have staff, dealing with time management, having to pay taxes, having your finances managed, making sure you’re investing back in the business well. I have a business partner, so it’s making sure we communicate well and have a good relationship. All of those things take work. But what fun it is to have a job that’s weird and different and that my college advisor could never have guessed I would have done.
Why did you and Knox decide to start The Bible Binge?
We did an episode of The Popcast called “Twins in Pop Culture.” In it, we named Jacob and Esau from the Bible as the worst twins. People who listen to our show don’t necessarily know that Bible story, so we did a quick recap. We ended up having all these people DM us and say they would love to hear our version of the Bible — like a Knox and Jamie translation.
We began to wonder what would happen if we recapped Bible stories as if they were like Game of Thrones or The Bachelor. We did a pilot episode on Noah, and we sent it to a lot of important people like seminary professors, Bible study editors and pastors, and asked if we were heretical. We didn’t want to get hit by lightning for doing this.
We launched it thinking we were going to get so much criticism, and this will never grow, but all these people came out of the woodwork — people who had been hurt by the church or left the church or grew up in Catholic school but never liked the Bible. It’s been a fun side project that we’re both passionate about because we both love God, but we think God has bad PR.
With a podcast as popular as The Popcast, do you feel like a celebrity?
No! But I’ll be on the phone in TJ Maxx just talking to somebody like my mom and all of a sudden someone will come around the corner because they hear my voice and say, “Hi, I don’t want to bother you, but I listen to The Popcast.”
It’s really fun, but it’s made me brush my hair more when I leave my house just in case somebody comes up and says hello.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love live music. I love concerts at WorkPlay, Iron City, and the Lyric. Birmingham has great shopping. I love At Home in Homewood because I can sit on fluffy couches and get earrings. I love Square One Goods downtown — the best stationery and a quirky, fun place to get gifts for people. At Alabama Goods, I like to buy gifts that are fun and local, and I love a good condiment from anyone in the city, and they can be found there. I like to take weekend trips to Nashville, Jackson, and Atlanta.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Birmingham?
I love eating out because I don’t know how to cook, so eating out is my spiritual gift. My favorite restaurant will forever be Saw’s Juke Joint. I love The Essential. I love John’s City Diner — my grandmother used to work there. She died before I was born, so going there is always an homage to her. And the mac and cheese is dope. I love Ashley Mac’s for a perfect lunch sandwich and carry out, so I can pretend I can cook by taking home their frozen food. And El Barrio — I love a good taco and a margarita.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I have seen every episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” That was my after-school program — not going to the Y. And she famously quoted Maya Angelou, who said, “When you know better, you do better.” I think the advice there is not just to wait until you know better but to really work to learn about everything. Always be a learner because then when you learn about anything — any issue, any type of people, any type of situation — you’re going to be able to move around the world easier and with more kindness.
Name three things you can’t live without, aside from faith, family and friends.
The Cooking City app, my full-body pillow and Retinol
Thanks to Jamie for the wonderful interview, and thank you to Eric & Jamie Photography for the photos!
To meet more FACES of the South, find our archives here.