Radio man Nick tunes into his past

Radio presenter Nick Conrad gets Norfolk talking on his mid morning chat show.

One of his regular callers at BBC Radio Norfolk is grandmother Audrey Brayne from Sheringham who helped bring him up after his mother died when he was just three years old.

'She calls the programme all the time but we don't usually put her through. A couple of times we have and it is as though she forgets it is live radio with people actually listening, which is hilarious,' he laughs.

Audrey, 84, is still a major driving force in his life, keeping him on the straight and narrow in his teenage years, whose interest in politics rubbed off on Nick.

'She is involved with Amnesty International and when we were kids, we used to make papier mache models of Saddam Hussein during the Gulf conflict,' he says with a hearty laugh.

At the age of 14, while a pupil at Sheringham High, Nick, who was desperate to get into radio wrote to a commercial broadcasting company with stations throughout the UK to ask for work experience. He found himself reading sports bulletins and then having his own show. By the time he was ready to take his GCSEs, he presented a weekend show.

At 16, he went to Paston Sixth Form in North Walsham, and while doing his A-levels did some work at Radio Broadland thanks to some great support from Rob Chandler – to whom he says he owes a lot.

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But his rebellious side, and his youth, caught up with him and the station lost patience with him.

'I was very ill-disciplined and would just say what I wanted. Even though they were very supportive I think they felt I wasn't quite ready.

'I had a lot of disciplinaries and they took me off air. It was the best thing that could have happened to me as I realised I wanted to focus on journalism.'

He went on to do a degree in journalism which, he says rather frankly, 'he hated'. But, always ambitious, he set up his own company with some friends from university doing commercial production work.

His big break came when he was approached by a well known media agent, and from that he was commissioned to do a comedy show on BBC 6 Music.

'It was with a guy called Big Tom. We did it for a year, but the problem was I didn't really think it was that funny.'

It provided a stepping stone to join London radio station LBC, where he was asked to 'bring politics down to a younger level'.

Now as well as the LBC show, his Radio Norfolk show and his commercial work, he is also a regular doing the newspaper review on Sky News, and has appeared on This Morning, Newsnight, Inside Out and even the Alan Titchmarsh show.

Nick continues to fondly remember his younger days with granny Audrey at Sheringham.

'My friends and I would go out to Time in Norwich and stay at Audrey's and then she would get us all up at the crack of dawn because there was a nightingale or something in the garden. I don't think she had any clue that we had a few drinks.

'I remember when I was 17, one of my friends called me and said he had gone out to Morston Quay to see the seals with a lot of German exchange students and Audrey.

'We always had all these people coming and going from the house – people who needed shelter or support, or exchange students. You never knew who you would meet at breakfast. It was great though, always interesting.'