Life looks a lot different these days for Stu Schwartz. Known to many as Stuntman Stu, he's worn many hats throughout his nearly 30-year career in local media and entertainment and risen to celebrity status in the city of Ottawa.
He still broadcasts live every weekday morning to his listeners on MOVE 100.3, although now making the connection from his basement in suburban Barrhaven. Since his double header brawl with leukemia, Stu has embraced a slower pace in life. He’s taking time to rest, be present with his family, and enjoy the little things.
Stu has traded in the limelight and the constant buzz for a cozy basement alcove where he sits ensconced in memorabilia that spans his career, an impressive collection nicknamed the ‘Stusonian Museum’. But one small detail that might go unnoticed, just to the left of his microphone, is a simple strip of paper with a handwritten note that says, “Have a good day. Smile. Be Grateful.”
How would you describe the past year in the life of Stuntman Stu?
2022 has been another year of constantly learning from past mistakes and trying to become a better person. I’m a work in progress. Step-by-step. Day-by-day. My perspective on things has changed a lot after this year — and my focus is to stay positive, surround myself with people who bring positivity into my life, and get rid of any negative energy around me… because it can become all-consuming if you don’t.
The highlight has been watching my kids become their individual selves. They are very different from one another, and it’s cool to see who they are shaping into.
Can you talk a bit about the challenges you faced going through 2020?
2020 truthfully, is all a bit blurry — my life took another unexpected fork in the road when the leukemia returned. This second round in 2020 was hard. The pandemic added another level of emotions, and it played a part in my mental headspace and not being able to stay positive all the time.
The most difficult part was being in hospital, away from my family. With the pandemic, I spent a lot of time alone in my hospital room since visitors were not allowed. It hurt not being with my wife and kids and not seeing them regularly. There was some pretty major depression that I experienced and am still working through. With that said, I’m incredibly thankful for my better half, who was my rock through that whole experience.
Can you talk a bit about your return to radio during the pandemic in 2021?
Coming back during the pandemic after being off for a year was very different. It was very surreal living in this new normal. I went from doing the MOVE Morning Show with Angie and Janel in studio every weekday to broadcasting from my basement. The fact that I’m able to do what I love in a different way is very special to me. We live in such an amazing city, and I love meeting our listeners and hearing from them. This city has embraced me from day one, and I am forever grateful for that. Broadcasting from home is fantastic for me — it’s been a real blessing.
Doctors were brutally honest after the second diagnosis. They told me that unless I want to come back a third time, I should cut back on events and take the time every day to rest, sleep, and pace myself. I thrived on hosting fundraisers, working for the Ottawa Senators as the PA announcer, and being at every gala and event in the city.
It’s been a very difficult transition for me — I feel like I lost a part of myself, but I’m finding my way back to this “new normal” chapter in my life and enjoying the smaller things more.
What does life for Stu look like when the microphone is off, and the smartphone is put away? What brings you joy?
My phone is always on! As for what I enjoy… my list now consists of spa days, checking out local farmers' markets in the area, mini Sunday road trips to investigate surrounding small towns, having espresso with my in-laws, watching Sens games on TV, and watching shows and movies on every available platform… I’ve seen all the shows.
What’s the number one priority for Stuntman Stu in 2023?
Hopefully, I’ll finally win an argument with my wife — we’ve been married 20 years, and it’s never happened.