Radio. The familiar voice of Chris Morris echoes throughout the hallways of Emmerton Park every week.
At a live broadcast with an audience of residents, staff, volunteers and visitors watching on, the volunteer radio host hit the airwaves for the 400th time last Tuesday.
“This was the biggest sit down audience I ever had,” Chris said after presenting the one hour special.
Among those to tune in were residents Ivy Furphy, Lois Sharman, Frank Scolyer and Brian Hampson, all of whom have been avid listeners since day one. Mrs Sharman was in fact the first to put in a song request when the in-house radio program started.
Airing on February 2, 2011, the show began as a pre-recorded segment of songs requested by staff and residents, dotted with interviews and talkback here and there.
As the program’s following grew, a studio was established allowing the show to be broadcast live weekly. The program has aired every Tuesday afternoon since and a recording is replayed on Thursdays.
The 400th program took a trip down memory lane to feature tracks from the very first show, as well as recent interviews with Emmerton Park chief executive officer Ian Adams and director of care Christine Hyde.
The Everly Brothers were the featured artists of the day, as requested by Bob Palmer, with their hits playing throughout the day.
Mr Palmer also won a competition run between residents and staff to choose the most fitting tune for the milestone broadcast with his request for ‘Play Me Another One’ by Breakmen.
A blast from the past was dedicated to former residents, including the late Elsie House who was a dedicated listener and encouraged Chris in the early days.
Mrs House requested ‘Can You Feel the Love’ by Daniel O’Donnell for the pilot program, played again during the milestone broadcast in remembrance.
Chris also gave a shout out to his wife Kathleen with the track ‘You To Me Are Everything’ by The Real Thing.
“It’s amazing what people come up with,” says Chris of the array of musical requests from over the years.
“Some older ones, but every now and again we get a head banger.”
A hub in the Emmerton Park community, the radio show celebrates new residents to the aged care home, birthdays and anniversaries.
“All some [people] have got is the memories that music brings back to them,” says Chris.
“Music is a universal language, it doesn’t matter what generation you’re from.”
Chris’ radio career started with Coast FM, where he continues to broadcast breakfast programs every Thursday and Friday. At the milestone event, friends from Coast FM came along to surprise Chris.
While he says he’d like to see the local show to 500 programs, another two years away, he is on the look out for a successor.
If you are interested in sharing the airwaves with Chris Morris at Emmerton Park, contact 6452 9400 to find out more about volunteering.