words and photo by Erik Stolpmann
Shelley Ann Morris is a co-host of Welcome to My World—a Wednesday morning program made by, for, and about people with disabilities.
How long have you been involved at CKCU?
I’ve been a host for about three years, but I’ve been an avid listener since I was a kid. I can remember when CKCU went on the air November 1975, and I’ve listened on and off ever since I was about 14 years old. So I guess I’ve been involved since that time but an actual host for 3 years.
When we’re broadcasting—when we’re putting together our shows on-the-air—we never know who’s going to be listening. I was that little kid upstairs in her bedroom with the radio turned on, doing her homework while listening to the likes of Junior Smith, Ron Sweetman, John Tackaberry, and Roch Parisien, who are still around in different forms.
Why did you first become involved?
I always dreamed of being on the radio. You know when you’re a kid, and you have these dreams, but then life gets in the way, and you put those dreams on the shelf for a little bit—but they stay with you.
What happened with us, on January 14, 2012, Matthew Crosier was doing a presentation at CKCU related to making good radio. So we showed up—myself, my co-host Kim Kilpatrick, and another woman named Parastou—after hearing about it from Chris White. Of course, Chris is the host of Canadian Spaces on CKCU, and I think his whole reason for being is to give other people their voice. With his help and support from others, we decided that this was something that we wanted to pursue. Chris said, “Okay, you want to learn how to be on the radio? I can show three blind and visually impaired people how to do that.” So we did some sessions in the practice studio and we learned our craft and Chris taught us a lot of things. With lots of practice, we ended up feeling confident and proposed a show called “Welcome To My World.”
What is the premise of your program?
At that time, I don’t think there was another disabilities show on the air in Ottawa. So we proposed a show by, for, and about people with disabilities.