Story: Rohan Francis
Hope, optimism, unity and entertainment are the keywords for Burngreave resident Wajdi Raweh in his Sheffield Live radio show ‘Siteen Daqiqa be Alarabi’ meaning ‘Sixty Minutes in Arabic’.
The weekly programme, which is a mixture of discussion and music, has already earned him the backing of his radio colleagues, who have asked him to increase the length of his broadcasts for the forthcoming season.
The Messenger talked to Wajdi about his show and how he got involved in Sheffield Live.
“The Yemeni Community Association was approached by Sheffield Live’s co-ordinator, Alan Fransman, who was looking for an Arabic language show.
“I had an interest in the media and saw the opportunity to bridge the gap between the diverse communities who speak Arabic and promote integration and unity within our society.”
As well as talking about topics such as economics, culture, health and relationships, the programme attempts to bring attention to the issues facing young people and the challenges and difficulties they encounter in their lives.
While discussion is the core of the show, music also plays an important part. The show features popular Arabic music and traditional Yemeni songs. Wajdi feels the musical content of his show can help open it to a wider audience and form a connection between different cultures.
“Music is also a language and Arabic music bridges communities. Anyone can dance to it!
“Some people ask for less music and more discussion while some ask to reduce the discussion and play more music. Some people want no music at all – for religious reasons. In the end I do what I feel will help people enjoy the show.”
In a recent broadcast, Wajdi interviewed the acclaimed Yemeni Poet, twenty year old Saleem Al Shayee, during a visit to Sheffield. The show went down so well with the listeners that it was repeated.
After nearly twenty shows, Wajdi is hoping to begin broadcasting live with an expanded show of two hours. He has enlisted a volunteer called Aziz Bin Geleh, a media student, who is helping to create the programme and gain experience of radio production. Wajdi is hoping to involve more people to keep the show sustainable and continue to reflect the diversity of Sheffield’s communities.
“There’s an art to making radio. There’s a beauty in the music you choose, beauty in the words you speak and beauty in choosing the material. I feel more connected with people and that I’m helping them. I want to build on this with email and ‘phone-ins’ later on.”
Wajdi finished by saying, “The show’s success depends on retaining a good and harmonious interaction with the audience.”
Siteen Daqiqa be Alarabi can be heard on Thursdays 8-9pm on Sheffield Live, 93.2 FM, or via www.sheffieldlive.org.
For more about Wajdi’s show, visit the Yemeni Radio Show pages in the Messenger community section.
Listeners can contact the show by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org