Growing up in the church, Paul Brooks always wanted to become a radio presenter. After his mission to Toulouse France, he tried for 2 years to join his local Hospital radio station, which broadcasts a show for their patients, but never managed to join, as the training days were only held on Sundays. Deciding that this wasn’t a reason to quit, Paul spoke to a Hospital radio station in a neighbouring town and asked to sign up. He joined the friendly team who presented the evening “Request Show” and found it to be as fun as he always expected! He says: “We would arrive a bit early for the show and visit a few of the wards in the hospital and ask the patients for their song requests. Its nice to be able to speak to those who probably haven’t spoken to anyone all day but we had to be a bit careful of the patients who were sleeping though! We’d then go back and present the show together in the studio”.
After 6 months at the request show, Paul became a full member of the radio station and following a few weeks of pleading with the programme controller, secured his own show in the evenings discussing peoples favourite songs and memories. Paul would encourage patients to call into the show or email in stories of great songs and why they mean so much. “It was such a great experience broadcasting to the patients and entertaining them each week... Hospitals are an excellent way for anyone to get started in radio as most will let you join in and give you some air time straight away, it’s also a great way to give a bit of fun service in the community”.
To move up onto the FM airwaves, Paul joined a community radio station about an hour from his town where he co-presented a new talent show with two other presenters, one of which was a Pentecost Christian. They became great friends and were able to discuss their religious beliefs in their spare time together. The radio station was a bit too far away, so he approached another station closer to home. When Paul asked to join he was warned by the station manager that radio presenting wasn’t all easy, but in fact involved a lot of voluntary service, too. Paul responded that he was a missionary in France for 2 years for the church and was used to giving service to others, as well as being actively involved in the church weekly. The station manager was intrigued by this and Paul was invited to the station to explain more about his religious beliefs and the voluntary service he had done in France. He was then offered the chance to begin a brand new religious show once a week that they had been wanting to start but couldn’t find anyone with the religious background to do it. Paul put together the idea for a chat show where he would bring in local religious leaders and ask them about their beliefs on air and their views on current issues.
Knowing this was a perfect opportunity to bring the church out of obscurity, Paul's first show was interviewing one of the Latter Day Saint bishops from his stake, “I thought this would be a fantastic way of starting the programme and let everyone in the local community know our beliefs and promote the good works that the members do in the area”. They spoke about the Helping Hands projects in the area and even made a plea for a new project this year! They also discussed the church's core beliefs and other topics such as tithing and church standards. “Bishop Barter did such a brilliant job on the show representing the church and speaking out to the people in the local area. He even finished with a spiritual thought from the Book of Mormon! It was strange but fantastic to hear teachings from the Book of Mormon on the radio! The show was a great chance for Bishop to speak out and teach all those in his area under his stewardship”.
Paul has since interviewed a Catholic Priest, a reverend from the United Reformed Church, members of a Pentecostal church and has lined up leaders from the local Buddhist and Scientology congregations. The Mayor of the town is also lined up to come in and talk about the importance of Mothers before Mothers Day next month. Paul says “I've found radio a great way to make acquaintances and expand my circle of friends. Each person that comes in to the show always leaves knowing more about the church and my beliefs, its humbling to be able to testify to the local leaders of all churches of what I know to be true. As members we can do a lot of good in the community by opening our mouths like the missionaries do, so any chance to speak to as many people as we can is a great thing to do. I’d recommend radio as a exciting way to get involved in the community and be an example of good to all those around”.