Speak Up Sunderland

Speak Up Sunderland

Speak Up Sunderland is a podcast proudly produced in Sunderland. We’re all about giving the people & projects of Sunderland a voice on a global scale.

Join Betty Ball and Stevie B as they meet the people of this brilliant little British city by the sea. Produced by Jay Sykes Media.

Recent Episodes

Little Pricks

April 11, 2021

Feels like it's been AGES since Betty & Stevie properly caught up. It must be, because apparently Betty "misses Stevie's face". Yeah, right! Betty & Stevie share their experience of receiving the "little prick" - erm, vaccin…


Nov. 12, 2020

World War One Sunderland on Film with Filmmaker Prof. Esther Johnson

Len Gibson and the Sunderland Remembrance Service

Nov. 7, 2020

This is Len Gibson, BEM. He’s reading from his collection of poetry, which he’s compiled over the past hundred years of his life.  You heard that right, Len Gibson turned 100 years old on the third of January this year. Len’…

Number One Fan

Aug. 12, 2020

"I'm Getting Wet!" and Other Stories

Wor Vera - Singing for Care Home Residents

April 18, 2020

Meet "Wor Vera", a.k.a. singer Deborah Taylor-Smith, who's donating her time and her voice by performing songs from throughout the decades outside care home residents across the North East. As care homes across the country a…

About the Hosts

Jay Sykes Profile Photo

Jay Sykes


Jay is a freelance audio producer based in Sunderland - with a specialism in documentary, audio collage, and drama production.

As well as producing Speak Up Sunderland, Jay hosts and produces the arts podcast ArtyParti, the Stand Alone Charity’s podcast, the upcoming CCSkills podcast, and teaches audio and radio production at the University of Sunderland.

Jay’s production credits include the New York gold award-winning audio drama SeaBurn, the 2018 BBC Radio 4 documentary Drawing in the Dark, and the annual Charles Parker Prize programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra. This year, Jay is producing Accidental Therapists, broadcast on BBC Arts.

Betty Ball Profile Photo

Betty Ball


Betty Ball is awesome, even if she’s from South Shields.

When she’s not presenting the Friday Breakfast Show on Sunderland’s community radio station Spark, she’s busy being a model, or saving kids’ lives as a lifeguard.

“Sunderland is an amazing city, filled with everything – and that’s what Speak Up Sunderland is all about. Being part of the team is nothing more than fun. It’s very local, funny, relevant and random – which I think is a great selling point.”

Stevie B Profile Photo

Stevie B


Suck it in, Stevie!

He might have lived in Sunderland all his life, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get lost on the roads.

He’s a freelance DJ, and you can hear his voice on Sunday’s The Evening Show on Sun FM in Sunderland, and on his own funky music show Funk Soul Brother on Spark.

“Sunderland is packed full of stories and characters. Even by just scratching the surface, we find so much to talk about. We really feel that many groups and organisations benefit from having their voices on our podcast – and we want to highlight those stories, the unheard voices.”