Radio Harrow presenter David Stone says going on air literally saved his life.
The 29 year-old, who recently won Newcomer of Year at the Hospital Broadcasting Association Awards, has struggled with mental health since his teens.
David said: “I began suffering from anxiety and panic attacks when I was young and it got progressively worse to a point where I was housebound for several months.”
It was during this period that friends suggested Dave apply for a two week course in radio production.
He’d always had an interest in performing having worked as a children’s entertainer under the moniker Dazzler David and, later, at Lego Land.
“Things couldn’t have got any worse for me at that stage and radio seemed the perfect way to express myself. Something just clicked and I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
David began work experience on various hospital radio shows before choosing Radio Harrow saying he was attracted by the mix of people and energy.
“They made me feel like part of the family and aren’t afraid to innovate and try different things out.”
Radio Harrow broadcast from the basement of Northwick Park Hospital and focuses on the health and wellbeing of the local community.
He started out as part of a group of presenters on the Harrow Today show providing an eclectic mix of news, views and music as well as taking music requests from patients.
A fortnight later he found himself co-presenting when only two people turned up at the studio.
“I got thrown in the deep end but loved it. My brother and I used to mess around doing our own podcast at home so I was used talking around subjects.”
David graduated to his own chat show - This is a Show - within a few months.
His first broadcast was interviewing himself about his personal experience of mental health before revealing his true identity at the end of the broadcast.
David added: “I’m open about my mental health and hope it encourages other people to speak up. It’s still makes a lot of people uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean you sweep it under the carpet.”
The show’s eclectic mix of guests includes people talking about specific medical conditions and hobbies along with playing their favourite music.
“I like getting people on the show with specific hobbies like trainspotting because their level of interest makes them quite eccentric. I usually trawl social media for potential interviewees and then invite them on the show.
“I’d really like to interview a stamp collector so if anyone is out there …”
David’s enthusiasm for radio has since seen him pick up paid work as a producer on a sports station where he has rubbed shoulders with the likes of double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes.
“I’ve worked hard but I also feel lucky to be doing something I living. My advice to anyone out there is to just follow your dream.”
This is a Show is broadcast every Monday night between 7-8pm.
For more details, see www.radioharrow.org