Businesses and the local community are getting their message out via podcast thanks to a media studio in a West Cumbrian town.

Cygnus Studios, in Cleator Moor, opened in 2020 just before lockdown.

Despite its first two years being affected by pandemic restrictions, it is now in regular use by various people and businesses.

Users include the Mixed Mams, three local mums who come together once a month or so to discuss, debate and record a podcast.

Cygnus Studios is the brainchild of Nick Ford and his friend Ross Whitfield, owner of the town’s North Press Printers.

Nick, 74, was previously an IT network consultant and ran an IT company in the City of London and in the NHS before retiring to Cumbria with wife Gloria in 2012.

Aside from his work with Cygnus Studios, he is also a town councillor and vice chair of Cleator Moor Town Council, as well as secretary of the Cleator Moor Chamber of Trade.

When Ross wanted to expand his business, he teamed up with Chelsea Wright of Chelsea Wright Developments, who had bought the former chemist’s premises in Cleator Moor High Road.

This was developed into an office, printing and studio hub named Stirling Place.

Ross uses part of it for his business and rents out offices to other companies. Part of the building is also dedicated to the podcast studio.

They have now added video equipment to the studio with three cameras, so it is available for people to edit and record film.

“One of the reasons we set it up initially was to do some of our own podcasts, which are still out there under Cygnus Radio on Spotify, and also so local people could come in and have the ability to put forward their views,” says Nick.

“We hire out the studio and we have a mix of people who come in and use the facilities.” Lindsay Gray, managing director of Natterjack Marketing, based in Whitehaven, has also been recording a series of podcasts in which children from Netherhall School, in Maryport, interview local business people about their jobs.

So far Year Seven students have interviewed people including Gemma Kirkpatrick from design agency Geo & Co and John McAllister, the Barclays Eagle Lab manager at the Bus Station in Whitehaven. Students from other schools will be invited to do the interviewing in the future.

The podcast, named the Natterbox, began recording in November and other interviewees on the list for the future include paralympians, business owners, psychologists, university lecturers and vets.

The podcast will be released on channels including Spotify and Apple Music in the New Year. The interviews are also being filmed and will be available on YouTube.

Lindsay says the podcast is intended to inspire young people about potential future careers and give them an insight which is led by people of their own age.

“In each episode, two students interview somebody with a cool job,” says Lindsay.

“They are asking questions that people that age want to know the answers to. There's lots of great work done by organisations and schools on careers but this is a chance for them to learn about jobs in their own time in an environment that's comfortable for them.”

Lindsay hopes to produce the podcasts weekly, which will be about 30 minutes in length.

"The podcasts will be video recorded too so we can share sneak peaks on social media " she says.