Speak Up Sunderland is a podcast proudly produced in Sunderland. Join Betty Ball and Stevie B as they meet the people of this brilliant little British city by the sea. We’re all about giving the people & projects of Sunderland a voice on a global scale. We host “open mic” events at The Peacock each month in-front of a live audience, and we record with charities & partners across the city to share their latest projects.

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.”