There are many reasons why a growing cross-section of Montrealers is tuning in to The Morning Detour show on CKUT 90.3 FM every Friday from 7 AM to 9AM.
It could be that they are drawn by the free-flowing discussions on current events in and around the city and beyond as well as the flavoring of the latest in hip-hop and rap music; it could also be the contagious energy and magnetism of hosts Ian Morris who is known to fans as Wizzy Moonchaser and his co-host Svetlana Chenienko, some call her ‘TheRealSvetlana’
Whatever the appeal, the show is capturing the attention of a demographic among whom radio is not the foremost attention-grabber.
Wizzy, who states that as a student at Champlain College on the south shore, he was contemplating a career in counselling but took “a detour” and ended up in radio, created the Morning Detour based on his love of music and communicating.
His formula was simple one:
“It had to be entertaining and informative but not too much talk and certainly not preachy,” he told the CONTACT in a recent three-way call with his co-host. “Most of all it had to be tasteful. ”
When you mix that with a steady dose of urban flavors, the show is growing to be one of the most popular on the airwaves in the 514, 438 and 450 among the urban
“Today, I think we’re building a niche audience, one that (extends) outside of our community and outside of our age group but we’re also online and reaching audiences way beyond the broadcast range of the antennas of CKUT 90.3 FM.”
The intention he says, is to peel back some of the cultural, social and political layers of the city and expose its core to Montrealers interested in a different perspective or to people who might have never visited and have no clue about the Black reality here.
Airing from DG Kicks a sneaker store in western NDG, The Morning Detour stakes its “ownership” of Montreal’s Friday morning airwaves based on a line-up of power-packed interviews that it brings to its audiences week after week.
Over the years Wizzy and his co-hosts have had conversations with what he describes as some of the “dopest (trendiest) people” around who are making their marks on the scene today. Among them are, emerging and established entrepreneurs, artistes, artists, politicians, educators, community advocates and spiritual leaders.
It’s also not unusual for local heavyweights such as Balarama Holness, leader of the provincial party, Bloc Montreal, as well as anti-racist psychotherapist and author David Archer to seek out the Detour’s microphones to pitch their messages.
The already mighty reach of the Morning Detour has been given an added boost when Svetlana took her place on the co-host chair earlier this summer, bringing a powerful voice as an entrepreneur, a mental health advocate, a social media influencer and a community advocate.
Like Wizzy, she is big on urban music. And as hosts of the only show that makes it their business to play the music on the radio here the two is constantly on the frontlines repping the music.
That’s why they considered it a massive disrespect when organizers of the Montreal International Jazz Festival rescinded their press accreditations and access to the media space just minutes before a scheduled interview with members of the hypa popular urban group, Roots who were in town as the closing act for the 2022 festival.
“We are the only show in Montreal playing this group’s music and the Jazz Festival is denying us an opportunity to interview these artistes,” Wizzy says.
More than that, Svetlana was forced to go on the offensive when organizers attempted to undermine a previously arranged interview with one of Roots’ members, Ray Angry.
“We were using the media tent to conduct the interview, which I had arranged for long before the band got to Montreal and we couldn’t believe the level of disrespect from the staff,” she says. “We could hear them in the background eating and talking as if we weren’t there.”
Of course Svetlana challenged them and was able to finish the interview.
She accused organizers of disrespecting them, the music, and by extension the entire Black community.
If anything, that incident revealed to the duo some of the challenges and hurdles that they might have to deal with as Black broadcasters.
But they’re not fazed.
Both are convinced that the Morning Detour is without rival in the city but their eyes are on a bigger prize.
Wizzy is convinced that there’s a place for them and the Morning Detour on satellite radio.
And they’re working their way towards that place one show at a time.
Listen to the Morning Detour on CKUT 90.3 FM on Fridays from 7AM to 9AM.