Media professional Nigel Thompson has presented programmes for BBC Radio 4 and 5Live as well as local stations in Cumbria, the South-East, Teesside and Lancashire. He has worked for the University of Cumbria and BAE Systems as a communications manager and today he produces podcasts for organisations as diverse as the NHS and the National Trust as well as providing media support and training. 

I was always the nosey kid at school; why does this do this? Who’s that? And when I got into listening to the radio it really captured my imagination and took this curiosity to another level.  

As a child of the ‘80s I loved music but it was hearing people's stories and learning more about what drives them that really interested me. Volunteering with hospital radio helped stoke this interest but when I landed a trainee reporter role at the Morecambe Visitor newspaper I knew I’d made the right choice. 

I met all manner of interesting people; from couples celebrating their golden weddings to country music devotees, people who had overcome major health setbacks to the fastest one-man band. As our news editor always reminded me, being invited into people's homes to talk and share what they said was a privilege. He was right. 

But it was giving people the chance to say it for themselves that I relished. When I heard that The Bay – Morecambe Bay’s first commercial radio station – would begin broadcasting in 1993 I almost battered the door down to get involved. As the station’s first news editor I was keen to get local voices on air as much as possible. Rather than a bland statement or piece of copy, we gave people the chance to tell it ‘as it is’. And they frequently did. The radio station’s sizeable audience was proof that people like to hear from people. 

And that passion and conviction to help people tell their stories remains, 30 years on. 

In the intervening years I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the UK’s best broadcasters. For example, it’s amazing how a one-word question - ‘Really?’ - can illicit a defensive response from a pumped-up politician or really draw out a nervous interviewee, just depending how you pose it. 

From 5Live, Radio 4, the BBC World Service and closer to home on BBC Radio Cumbria I’ve enjoyed telling and sharing stories.  

Podcasting – those bitesize interviews, discussions and features – fascinate me. During the Covid pandemic I created the Morecambe Bay Podcast about the people who live and work here. An initial six episodes became 20 and I’ve just passed the 100th episode. When people ask what it is about, it’s simply the chance to hear from those who aren’t often in the news; interesting people with a story to tell. 

It has led to the creation of a business producing and occasionally hosting podcasts. 

I’ve worked with the National Trust, the NHS, several universities, local partnerships and St Mary’s Hospice. 

Each commission has been very different but the overall aim of giving a voice to those with a story to tell is the same. 

And with a wide range of locations on offer and the existence of technology which allows amazing recordings to be made these days, it’s a joy to do. 

My first news editor was right; telling stories is a privilege. And it’s great to be able to help those with an inspiring story share it with a potential worldwide audience.