Tucked away in a quiet part of Pelaw, near Gateshead is the UK’s first LGBTQ+ business and media centre with perfect access to a mind-boggling, trillion-dollar,global marketplace.
The Pride Media Centre, home offour LGBT+ radio stations including Pride Radio 89.2fm and Pride World Radio, was set up by Peter Darrant, Mark Nichols, Richard Kell and Jonathan Morrell,
Launched by Lord Michael Cashman a few months ago,it is already a thriving community of entrepreneurs andbroadcaster to over 127 countries 24/7.
Peter, an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a charismatic dose of chutzpah, drives the commercial side of the whole operation as well as producing and presenting a Pride radio breakfast show.
Originally from Yorkshirehe came to the North East to appear in pantomime as a Princebut ended up staying and headed up marketing Lumley Castle Hotel and then the Customs House.
After these roles he worked at local TV station Made in Tyne and Wear as a senior producer and presenter before owning and running these two businesses with the team.
He said: “I had been involved in Northern Pride and Pride Radio for a while but we needed more office space. Gateshead Council obviously saw our potential and offered the chance to move. We looked at these previously grotty offices at Stonehills as it offered more room and we could see the opportunities straightaway.
“The building already had a TV studio and radio production base inside it as it used to be the home of CBeebies. It had all of the essential sound insultation which isso important for us and that was a huge plus. We got the keys in December last year, rolled up our sleeves and transformed the centre in around three months, earning money from the radio station to pay the bills along the way.
“We would get an advert and say that’s paying for a tin of paint!Now we have a fantastic centrewhich is welcoming to LGBTQ+ businesses and anyone who is supportive of our community.
“The LGBTQ+ market, often known as the Dorothy Dollar or the Pink Pound, is worth around £5 trillion worldwide, because many of us tend to have substantial disposable incomes as we don’t have children. Wecan be major media influencers as a result, who promote holidays, fashion, leisure and tech but are also very loyal to LGBTQ+businesses and willing to pay a premium to support them.
“In Pride World Mediawe have fivedistinct brands. Pride World Radiowhich currently has around 1 million streams a month and is broadcast 24/7. We also have Pride 89.2FM in the NE, Radio Scotland, Pride Radio Decades which is constant great music and an on-line TV station, that we take pleasure in curating to provide ‘out and proud’ content.
“The potential for growth from the commercial arm of our radio brands is huge with around 40% of listeners from the USA and 33% from the UK.”
Thanks to the hard work of Peter and the team, the completed Pride Media Centre, over 17,000 sq ft,now has a drive-in TV studio, green screen studio and podcast suite, cinema for 30 people, 16 offices, work-station pods and meeting rooms. The offices are already home to a number of creative businesses.
A keen eye for a creative opportunity has also seen a great addition to its facilities with a former SAFCbus now kitted out and able to be used for outside broadcasts or for corporate bookings.
Next month Peter will share his story of encouraging young LGBTQ+ people to fulfil their ambitions in a welcoming environment.