It’s 3:45 a.m.
I am sitting on a bench in the London Muslim Mosque parking lot waiting for my ride to Western University.
We’re headed to the Campus Community Radio Studio for today’s Fajr time edition of MuslimsLive RAMADAN Radio Show.
A car pulls up. We’re both on time. Minutes later we are on the campus of Western University in a Student owned building which houses the Campus Radio station.
Time to air is short. The five of us pray Fajr in the hallway outside the studio doors. Right after prayers are done, the brothers hurry back to the studio, do mic checks. Moments later they are ready to go live.
This morning’s programming is pulled together on the fly.
A number of Islamic reminders, some fun facts, something about food, and of course the daily phone-in prize contest testing Islamic Knowledge.
The MuslimsLive RAMADAN Radio Show has been broadcast for the past 15 years on Western University’s Campus radio station, CHRW.
Western’s Muslim Students’ Association also runs a weekly radio show on Mondays through the rest of the year from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
For Ramadan, this one hour daily radio around the time of Fajr is added to the schedule.
Like that box of chocolates in the Forrest Gump movie, you’re never quite sure who will be hosting the show or what they are going to say.
This morning it’s Brothers Khatab, Firas Kamal, Bourhan and Noori Hamidi.
Tomorrow, a group of sisters.
Before Ramadan, the MSA seeks out volunteers for daily radio hosting duties. They each get a crash course on the control board, mics, and procedures for being on-air.
Beyond that, it’s up to each of the volunteers how they want to fill up the hour’s programming.
It’s all very easy going, no one takes themselves too seriously.
They might have a few thousand listeners. Many people at home keep the radio show on in the background as a kind of countdown until it’s time to stop eating.
This year however, due a slight misunderstanding in booking time-slots, the show begins after the Adhan would be broadcast, marking the start time of each day’s fasting.
Phone calls are a part of any successful radio show. The MuslimsLive daily contest is no different. It has its regular callers and repeat winners.
I ask the brothers about anything which stands out that’s happened on the show?
One or two.
Last Ramadan, a truck driver passing through London called in. That was totally out of the blue. He wasn’t Muslim, but he liked what he heard, and he wanted to let them know.
The most distant phone call came in from Australia.
A former student from Western University, called in to say he was still listening on Livestream half a world away.
Turns out, numerous Muslims who graduate from Western, do still tune in as an easy way of staying in touch.
I ask what the London Muslim Community would lose if this show suddenly stopped airing?
Their answer surprised me. All four of them said, nothing.
Sure it was something to listen to in the mornings, but they knew it wasn’t imperative in the observance of one’s Ramadan. Each of them suggested that whatever Islamic knowledge they shared over the air, could just as easily be gained in a Study Circle or a Lecture at the London Muslim Mosque.
The only thing which people might miss would be the on-air broadcast of the Dawn Call to Prayer, The Fajr Adhan.
Yet as the start of this year has shown, with the show starting in the first part of Ramadan after Fajr begins, even that argument is gone.
This is a complete contrast to the position Reflections on Islam holds in the hearts of many in the Greater Toronto Area.
I and many others grew up counting on hearing the Maghrib Adhan on radio each evening to know when to break our fast. Many still do!
But that’s Maghrib, Sunset time.
Thinking back, I realize there have been numerous Fajr Ramadan radio shows in Toronto over the years, once we even had three competing early morning shows overlapping each other time-wise. But I don’t miss any of them.
Reflections on Islam though, is different.
Before I know it, the hour is up. The show is over. A few notations in the Radio log book, and it’s time to leave.
Many thanks to the Western MSA for allowing me to sit in on the Friday Fajr broadcast of MuslimsLive.
You can follow them on Twitter: @MuslimsLive and listen live on the internet too.
Listen in to the Ramadan Radio Show Talk Show on duah/supplication : http://188.8.131.52:8000/stream.mp3 Call & win prizes (519)661-3600
— MuslimsLive (@MuslimsLive) July 11, 2013