Parkinson's Patient Creates Radio Station for Parkinson's Patients

A phone call from a Parkinson's disease advocacy group motivated a Maryland man to take his Internet radio station of classic rock, pop music and comedy and turn it into a workout music station for people who, like himself, suffer from Parkinson's.

"Guilt is a powerful motivator," said Bill Schmalfeldt, a 59-year old Elkridge, Md., man who is retired from his job as a federal writer/editor after 14 years with Parkinson's disease.

The unintended guilt he felt after a phone call asking for information about his defunct Internet radio station devoted to Parkinson's disease got Schmalfeldt motivated to retool his classic rock/pop station and turn it into what he calls "Parky Bill's Parkinson's Disease Disco."

"This very nice lady from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation called and wanted info about the station based on information I sent out in November," Schmalfeldt said. "I felt horrible when I told her that I had to take the station off the air for lack of listener support."

At the time, Schmalfeldt was running his station on a service that required a high cost for running a radio station with music licensing. But he found a Shoutcast server and a music licensing service that were much more affordable and, in February, launched a station of classic rock, pop music, comedy and specialty programming on the weekend.

"After the call, it wore on me," Schmalfeldt said. "I have this Internet radio station, and it's good. But what's unique about it? Nothing."

He decided to tear the old station down, load it with disco music and the sort of music played in gyms for workout classes, along with public service announcements and messages about how to live with Parkinson's disease, and he relaunched it on March 18 under its new format.

"It may catch on, it may not," Schmalfeldt said. "But at least I know it's unique and it's doing something good."

Schmalfeldt said his neurologist constantly impresses the importance of exercise on him and all people with Parkinson's. He is in Stage IV, which is advanced Parkinson's. He is able to walk with the help of a rolling walker.

"If you're in Stage I, go out for a run," Schmalfeldt said. "If you're in Stage II, just do what you can do. If you've entered Stage III, it's the treadmill for thee. And if you're in Stage IV, that's what walkers are for."

You can hear Schmalfeldt's station by visiting http://cabinboyradio.com and clicking the "listen now" link.