A FORMER freelance journalist is giving people a new voice after setting up his own podcast company.

Nick Brownlee was a freelance journalist for more than 25 years but has now turned his talents to podcasting in the form of his productions company, Paperfoot Productions.

The business is Cumbria’s only podcasting production company, something that Nick feels represents a massive opportunity to highlight issues facing the region in a more nuanced and focused way.

He explained how his interest in this emerging market first developed.

“I started listening to podcasts probably seven or eight years ago when the industry, particularly in the UK, was almost quite amateurish.

“I started investing in some rudimentary kit and learned about sound editing, teaching myself over the course of the years.

"Over the past couple of years, podcasting has become a lot more professional and there was a lot of interesting, in-depth work being done. I was noticing that people were getting a real grasp of what podcasting was all about.”

He said he felt much of the power of the medium of podcasting came from the fact that anybody could set one up.

“I think a real strength of podcasting is that it has quite a democratising aspect to it in that, in theory, anyone can buy a decent microphone, for example, for maybe £50, find recording software online and can go from there.

Through Paperfoot, Nick started making his own podcasts towards the end of last year including the popular Cumbria Business Podcast.

“Although a lot of businesses were beginning to see the merits of podcasting, production remained kind of amateurish. I felt that I could combine what I’d learned over the years with this newfound world of audio," he said.

“I set up Paperfoot as a vehicle for doing my own work but word spread and as a result, I was able to gain work recording people on their own podcasts and it’s taken off from there really.

“I think given that many people have felt isolated in the past year, podcasts fill that gap for a lot of people and then on the business side of it, over the past couple of years, podcasting has gone from being a cottage industry to something that is fully-fledged.”

The next phase is to set up a channel specifically for Cumbrian podcasters.

“I’d love to help people and work with them as Cumbria is still a little undeserved in terms of podcasting.”