By Farid Omar.
Members of the Somali-Canadian community and Canadians in general continue to congratulate Mr. Hassan Abdillahi "Karate" the Founder, President and Host of Ogaal Radio (Somali Media), FM 88.9, for being presented with a NEPMCC media award by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at the November 21-22, 2009, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC), Development Training Seminar at Seneca College.
Mr. Hassan Abdillahi has clearly emerged as an influential media personality in Canada and his increasingly popular Ogaal Radio has joined the ranks of the most progressive and highly recognizable ethnic media outlets in Canada.
Popularly known as “Karate”, Mr. Hassan Abdillahi is a respected journalist and community leader with twelve years experience in community radio programming.
OGAAL RADIO is the largest Somali language Community radio in Canada and it's weekly broadcasts reach a large, diverse audience in the GTA and other parts of Southern Ontario and millions worldwide through the internet. It broadcasts live every Sundays on CIRV Radio, 88.9FM, 10:00pm – 12am.
The mandate of Ogaal Radio is to meet the news, information and entertainment needs of the Somali and all Somali speaking communities in Ontario and rest of Canada. The Radio's potential audience is estimated at over 150, 000 listeners, comprising mainly of Canadians of Somali and East African descent as well as immigrants and newcomers to Ontario.
From Coast to Coast, the Somali-Canadian and North American Somali Diaspora community in general have rejoiced at the news that an important, hardworking member of their community has received such an important recognition.
Mahad Isaniye, the Executive Director of the Somali Community of British Columbia, said that it is“wonderful news, to see a Somali person who cares about his people receives an award. It is a deserving gesture from the Prime Minister to recognize such a person who created a radio station and supported his community with his effort and dedication”.
Speaking at the NEPMCC training seminar, Prime Minister Harper called upon journalists to “shine light into dark corners and assist the process of holding governments accountable” adding that “Members of the ethnic press and their readers understand what it's like in countries where truth is only what the state says it is and journalists are co-opted as government mouthpieces or threatened with their lives”.
The NEPMCC is a non-profit media organization made up of journalists representing editors and publishers of diverse cultural media across Canada. The organization promotes excellence, understanding and cooperation among its members. The purpose of the seminar is to provide training on best practices in Canadian journalism and skills development for the NEPMCC members.
The NEPMCC media training conference brought together more that 150 members of Canada’s ethnic media who traveled from across Canada to attend the historic event held at Seneca’s Markham College.
The event was also attended by a large number of dignitaries including Honourable Jason Kenney, M.P., Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Honourable Peter Kent, MP., Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Honourable Bob Rae, M.P, Honourable Justin Trudeau, M.P, Honourable Gerry Phillips, M.P.P., Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Timothy Hudak, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and Mr. Scott Shortliffe, Director, Policy and Program, Canada Magazine Fund.
Seneca’s President, David Agnew, was delighted that the conference gives the College the opportunity to share its expertise from several programs with “an important industry, whose members reflect the diversity of our own staff and student population, and to provide them with information to better serve their communities.”
Thomas Saras, President and CEO of NEPMCC, hailed the important partnership between Seneca and NEPMCC saying that Seneca College has developed sessions designed “ to meet the needs of ethnic media, tying together our objectives of better marketing ourselves, encouraging and recognizing excellence in content, and encouraging professional and business development in the field.”
Ogaal Radio will continue to play an important role in NEPMCC circles. The lively Radio informs, engages, delights and empowers its target audience through original programming that include news analysis and commentary, interviews and interactive on air discussion with and between listeners.
More importantly, Ogaal Radio provides a forum for extensive cultural, musical and artistic expressions along with socially progressive ideas which arise from communities who are socially, politically and economically disadvantaged and whose access to mainstream media is limited.
Overall, it provides a progressive voice for the socially disadvantaged including women and other marginalized sectors of society whose views and artistic expressions are not represented in the mainstream media.
Ogaal Radio makes programming decisions based on the area's listening needs and encourages listener participation in all activities. Every week, the radio receives a large volume of phones from its listeners throughout the GTA and southern Ontario.