Student Showcase: Nick Charles

Hi Everyone! Welcome to this month’s series of showcases of our fantastic students who we’ve worked with. This month, we wanted to show off the amazing projects that our student network have been working on outside of Hype.

We were lucky to snag some time with Nick Charles, Liverpool Hope student, Gaydio presenter and co-host of the 802 podcast, to talk about his colourful career in broadcasting. He also filled us in on his work with Hype and Frontline (a recruiter for the care industry), involving a series of online episodes dedicated to talking about men’s mental health and the importance of men in the care system.

Hype: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Nick: I’m 32, in my final year studying Media & Film at Liverpool Hope University. I’ve been around broadcasting for seven years, doing stuff like running a radio show whilst at Uni.

I got involved with Hype through their recent campaign with Frontline, a recruiter for social workers in the UK. The campaign which I featured on incorporated mental health and toxic masculinity, which for me is such an important issue to tackle. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve seen toxic masculinity both on the straight and LGBTQ+ side, so I really wanted to input on the matter.

When I watched the first episode of the Frontline series Men don’t care? , I really saw myself come into my personality. Even though I’m a huge extrovert, I’ve only just realised how vocal I can be about issues important to me. I really connected to everyone’s stories in different ways, and it was really progressive to talk about the absence of men in the care industry. I want men to know that it’s ok to work in a stereotypically ‘feminine’ role, and I also want men to open up more about their mental health. The suicide rate in men is so high, so I hope these conversations that we had across the episodes make a change.

Hype: Why do you feel like it’s so important to take about men’s mental health and men in the care system?

Nick: The demographics of the care system are heavily diverse (in terms of gender/race/religion etc) and there are often situations where someone is more likely to reach out for help if there is the option to speak to a man. We want to start the conversation in these episodes for Frontline, so that we can distribute more men across the system.

Hype: Amazing! So I’ve just seen you’ve landed an evening show with Gaydio, congratulations! How did you get into broadcasting to begin with?

Nick: 7 years ago, I used to have my own radio show on East London Radio, when I lived there for a while. In fact, I met my podcast co-host, Dan Partington, through broadcasting. I was on Twitter a few years back, and there was a training session on radio, I bumped into a girl called Mel, who invited me to a party, which is where I met Dan.

I then became friends with Matt, who’s now my line manager at Gaydio. He knew I worked in radio, and kept tabs on me for ages. As the years passed, I started working on student radio whilst doing my degree and then they closed the station down. I thought to myself, there’s my dreams going down the drain once again! However, in September of last year, I got a text from him, saying he needed to talk to me. I thought, ‘oh god, what have I done or said whilst I was drunk?’. Thankfully, he asked if I wanted to audition for a slot on Gaydio. I went in, he told me to press some buttons, then off I went. Had an audition completely on my own, so I just whipped out my radio knowledge (which I hadn’t used in a year and a half) and tried my best with it. I was so scared I was gonna press something and end up going live without realising. After a few failed attempts and delays, I got the chance to cover some sessions over Christmas. My mate kept on telling me a show was gonna happen for me, but I thought ‘yeah whatever’, I just really appreciated the experience.

After all of that, Matt called and offered me my show in January. But he said, ‘yeah, you’re gonna have to do it all from home’. I’m absolutely shitting it, but so excited. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for years, knocking down doors until something happened. Now that it’s here no one can stop me now!

Hype: Why do you think your personality is a good fit for radio and podcasting?

Nick: I’ve literally been singing and making fake adverts since I was little (Nick gets out a picture of him when he was little to show me him pretending to do tv ads whilst speaking into a deodorant bottle). I’ve got bags of music knowledge, and I’m such a people person cause I’ve always worked in customer service. Because of this, broadcasting has just come as second nature to me. I also think I standout because my accent is so interesting, being a mix of British and Caribbean. It gives you an insight to want you to know more about me.

Hype: What do you think your biggest challenge is gonna be in terms of live broadcasting?

Nick: I swear a lot, so I feel like that’s gonna be a huge hurdle. I’m also at home so I’m gonna have to watch myself, just in case I get too comfortable.

Hype: What are the first 3 songs you’re going to play on your show?

Nick: Oh Simple! Dua Lipa – ‘Levitating’, Kylie Minogue – ‘Magic’, and Cedric Gervais & Nile Rogers ‘Everybody Dance’. These are the songs that I’m drilling at the moment.

Hype: How did you start your podcast? What’s the meaning behind the name?!

Nick: The idea stemmed from many a drunk conversation between Dan and I. Podcasting is a massive deal now, so we’re jumping on it whilst it’s hot. We’ve got so much to say and it’s an easy form to just edit and get out.

I think we just work well together as hosts, too. Dan can be the serious one and I’ll just be the one laughing in the corner. Even when we argue on the podcast, it works out so beautifully. We once had a huge argument about drag race on an episode, which we had to resolve the next day.

Dan and I live in different cities now, so we were looking for a name that connected us. The 802 is a National Express coach service that goes from London to Liverpool, so we just ran with it.

Being able to create content during lockdown has been fabulous. Because we’ve been in lockdown, we’ve been able to promote it the right way too, and edit to a great quality. We also had time to take part in coming out stories for a podcast called ‘I’m coming out’. It was a fantastic experience.

Hype: What’s your favourite bit you’ve recorded for your podcast so far?

Nick: There was one episode where Dan got read for filth for being from Clapham. He always reads me for having bad taste in men, so it was hilarious to watch him getting rinsed for a change.

Hype: What podcasts have inspired your content?

Nick: I love ‘A gay and a non gay’, Jessie Ware’s ‘Table Manners’, ‘Being Black’. When it comes to the content that directly inspires what we make, ‘delusional daters’ (who we got to collaborate with on our recent episode), those girls are incredible. Also, ‘shagged, married and annoyed’ is pure gold.

Hype: What do you think your podcast brings to the LGBTQ+ community?

Nick: There aren’t many black queer creatives who are known out there, so we really try and stand out. We try for a balanced approach by bringing comedy and serious issues together. We just try and give a different spin on what everyone else is doing. Our main thing is honesty, what you hear is what you get.

Hype: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into podcasting?

Nick: My advice is, if the thought is there, just go for it. Secondly, find your niche. If you want to talk about finding a dead fish on the sand every time you walk on the sand, do it if it excites you. So many people are too scared to do stuff these days. When it comes to expressing yourself, it’s an art form and if you’re true to yourself, people are naturally going to connect with that. Finally, just know what you want to talk about and who you want to talk to. Be yourself and own what you have to say, with a loose plan.

You can find Nick on Gaydio every Thursday at 7pm. To stream his podcast ‘The 802’ on your favourite platforms, click here.

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We’re back with another Early Careers Pulse Check, a webinar which delves into the most pressing student marketing topics for early careers employers. At 10am on Tuesday 9th March, we’ll focus on attracting diverse talent from LGBTQ+ communities. We’ll discuss several interesting points: What do LGBTQ+ students think of employers’ efforts to reach out to them? Which career industries do LGBTQ+ students think are the least inclusive? What more can employers do to foster a truly equal and inclusive working environment?

As well as reporting the findings from our latest pulse interviews of LGBTQ+ students from across the country, we’lll be hosting both student and employer panels to dissect the insights and share what needs to be done, to ensure employers create and maintain diversity in their workplaces.

If you’re interested in this event, Register for the free webinar here.

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