Tom conquers learning difficulties to host Lincoln radio show
A YOUNG man from Sleaford is proving learning difficulties needn't be a barrier in achieving your dreams.
Tom Stevens from Brecon Way has autism but this hasn't stopped him from hosting his own live show on Lincoln-based radio station Siren FM.
Every Tuesday between 11am and 12 noon, the 26-year-old presents the Simply Jazz show and regularly interviews familiar names within the genre.
Just last week he had did a live phone interview with trumpeter Mike Lovatt who was featured soloist of the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK for seven years and is now lead trumpet in the John Wilson Orchestra. He has also deputised for players in the band on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.
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Tom said: "The interview went pretty well. I asked him a lot of questions and he was glad to answer.
"He also has his own opinions on who was going to win Strictly this year!
"I love jazz music in general. I love to go on the airwaves and show people music.
"Some people said I wouldn't be able to do radio but I have proved them wrong.
"My next step is I would like someone to pick it (my show) up in the radio world and go to the BBC."
Tom spent six years doing hospital radio in Grantham before moving to Siren FM. Initially his shows were pre-recorded but January 29 saw him take the brave step to broadcast live for the first time and he hasn't looked back.
Much of Tom's musical inspiration comes from his dad Gary Stevens who is bandmaster at RAF Cranwell.
Mr Stevens, said: "We are very proud of him and the things he has done. He has got so much self confidence from this. He's not afraid to ask anyone for an interview.
"I sit down with him every week. He writes his own scripts and I sit down and make sure it all makes sense.
"His autism means that with guests he can lack eye contact and it's also about knowing the parameters. Also memory, as short term memory is a difficulty.
"Broadcasting helps him with his personal skills and confidence. He always goes for the top.
"Siren have been very support and give him guidance. We have had to do travel training to get him to the transport on time and he's just started using some trains.
"Someone from Siren takes him back to the bus etc, those are the little things that are difficult for him.
"He's now learning to do it himself but it's those little things that take time."
Anyone that misses Tom's Simply Jazz show on Tuesdays can catch it again on a Monday evening from 8pm to 9pm.
Siren FM is avaialble on 107.3FM in Lincoln or through the website www.sirenonline.co.uk