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article imageOgaal Radio Marks 10th Anniversary with Pomp and Colour Special

By Farid Abdulhamid     Oct 5, 2011 in World
Toronto - Hundreds of revelers and supporters gathered at the Pine Point Banquet Hall at Toronto’s West end on Friday, September 30th to observe the 10th anniversary of Ogaal Radio (Somali Media), 88.9FM
As the Somali-Canadian population grew in size in the early 2000s, the need for a community voice that reflects its ever expanding news and entertainment needs clearly became apparent.
To fill such an important media void at the broadcasting level, Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM was founded 10 years ago and has since become the leading Voice for Somali-Canadians and the Global Somali Community. Today, the award winning Ogaal Radio has achieved the important milestone of being the largest Somali language Radio Show in Canada.
In recognition of his contributions to the Somali-Canadian community and the Canadian media scene in general, Anchor Hassan “Karate,” the founder and president of Ogaal Radio, was presented with the prestigious National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) Award by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a colourful awards ceremony held at Seneca College in late November 2009.
Broadcast live every Sundays 10:00pm – Midnight on CIRV Radio (88.9FM), Ogaal Radio reaches over 150,000 listeners in Toronto, the GTA and across Southern Ontario while millions around the world tune-in over the internet.
Anchor Hassan  Karate  of Ogaal Radio  88.9FM receives the prestigious BVcare award from Abdinasir S...
Anchor Hassan "Karate" of Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM receives the prestigious BVcare award from Abdinasir Sheikh, while Nawal Isse (middle) and Khadija Ali (far right) look on.
Photo: Ali Bakri
The mandate of Ogaal Radio is to inform, engage, entertain and empower its target listenership through original programming including news analysis, commentary, interviews and interactive on air discussion with and between listeners.
Its objectives are to provide 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 media is limited.
Ogaal also encourages communication, solidarity and cooperation among its diverse audience members.
More importantly, it provides a progressive voice for the socially disadvantaged including women and youth and other marginalized sectors of society whose views and artistic expressions are not represented in the mainstream media.
The eagerly-awaited, fun-filled 10th anniversary was attended by the who is who in the Somali-Canadian community including community and business leaders, artists, scholars, activists, youth, women and a dedicated, broad-based listenership from across Toronto and the GTA.
It was a memorable occasion where those in attendance celebrated Ogaal’s accomplishments as well as congratulated anchor Hassan “Karate” for his exceptional service to the community both as a major broadcaster catering to the needs of Somali-Canadians and the Global Somali community and as a respected leader involved in important initiatives.
Eloquent and articulate, MC Nawal Isse noted that despite his busy schedule as a broadcaster and family man, Hassan “Karate” has always “found time to support important initiatives that unite the community and empower the youth.”
Having served as a youth presenter for Ogaal Radio, Khadija Ali recounted her wonderful experience at Ogaal saying that she found Hassan “Karate” a very “approachable, likeable and accessible person.”
The event commenced in style as the young and upcoming Somali artist, Shukri Omar took to mike to sing the Somali national anthem in a smooth, silky, golden voice that mesmerized event participants.
Shukri Omar  the multi-talented  young and upcoming artist  with a golden voice (second right) sings...
Shukri Omar, the multi-talented, young and upcoming artist with a golden voice (second right) sings the Somali national anthem as Hassan "Karate" (right) and Khadija Ali look on.
Photo: Ali Bakri
Anchor Hassan  Karate  of Ogaal Radio  88.9FM (middle) addressing the public during his keynote spee...
Anchor Hassan "Karate" of Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM (middle) addressing the public during his keynote speech. Standing left is Faisal Hassan, Assistant to Mike Sullivan, MP, York South-Weston. At right is Digital Journal's Farid Omar.
Photo: Ali Bakri
Internationally-acclaimed Somali divas, Fadumo Nakruma and Khadija Daleys were at hand to sing patriotic songs as well as deliver public speeches.
Nakruma read powerful poems to mark the occasion to the utter delight of the crowd. She thanked Hassan “Karate” for “standing up for his people” proclaiming “We are with you Hassan. Long Live Hassan “Karate! God bless you.”
Nakruma touched the hearts of many when she said that “Ogaal Radio has become a solace for her ailing mother and that no Sunday night goes by without them tuning into Ogaal.”
MC Nawal stated that Ogaal Radio was the first public forum where she spoke about the Somali famine as part of a Project Aran Canada panel. Project Aran is a charitable, Somali-Canadian relief organization facilitating humanitarian relief on behalf of the victims of the Somali disaster.
“It was Ogaal that helped galvanize me into action. In the last three months, I got involved in the community. If I were to give out an award, I will present it to Hassan” said Nawal who described Hassan as a respected member in the community, a “friend, brother, father and husband”.
Nawal, who is also active with BVcare, another dynamic youth organization, said that she likes to speak her mind out and Ogaal Radio is the place where community members can express themselves freely.
“In Canada, everyone is entitled to their views and opinions and therefore, we should be open-minded. Ogaal Radio is where you can call-in during on air debates to ask questions and speak up your mind. While regressive forces would attempt to silence people, Ogaal would encourage its listeners to speak up. As a result, my motto is walaasheega (Somali for Speak up/let it be said) as opposed to Hasheegin (shut up)” said Nawal to a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Anchor Hassan  Karate   (second right) speaking to the public during his keynote address. He is join...
Anchor Hassan "Karate," (second right) speaking to the public during his keynote address. He is joined on stage by Abdi Dirshe (left) the President of the Somali-Canadian Diaspora Alliance, Faisal Hassan (Second left), Assistant to Mike Sullivan; MP, York South-Weston and Digital Journal's Farid Omar (right).
Photo: Ali Bakri
Sagal (right)  Bilan Hassan  Ogaal Radio s political analyst (second right)  Ladan (in red) and Abdi...
Sagal (right), Bilan Hassan, Ogaal Radio's political analyst (second right), Ladan (in red) and Abdinasir Sheikh (left).
Photo: Ali Bakri
To demonstrate Ogaal’s commitment to openness and progressive journalism, Nawal and Khadija performed a lively skit capturing the essence of Somalia/Diaspora relations. It conveyed well-crafted unity messages instilling hope, promoting understanding and was loaded with a level of humour that drew sustained laughter from the crowd.
Abdi Dirshe, the President of the Somali-Canadian Diaspora Alliance, congratulated Hassan “Karate “for his outstanding service to the community".
“Ogaal truly serves community needs. Businesses in the community use Ogaal as a way to communicate with the public hence circumventing reliance on mainstream media that can be very expensive. Without Ogaal, they could not effectively reach out to the community. Ogaal is committed to a balanced, objective reporting. More importantly, Hassan “Karate” looks at national interest and continues to play an important role in uniting the Somali community” said Dirshe.
Ahmed Eid, a community elder, praised Ogaal Radio saying that “people love it and listen to it” while Bashir Isse, a prominent community leader said that “the role of radio is important as it inspires people to act” adding that the community is behind Ogaal. Halimo Saad, a community activist, thanked Hassan “Karate” saying she is a supporter and will keep working with Ogaal Radio.
“Ogaal Radio has a hummingbird effect” said Hassan Sheikh, the coo-ordinator of Project Aran Canada. It’s effective reach, he said, has allowed Project Aran get it message across.
“When I, Suad and Nawal first appeared on Ogaal Radio to raise awareness on the Somali famine, we felt its hummingbird effect immediately. On waking up the next morning, we received calls from TV stations and newspapers. Ogaal Radio had a huge impact on fundraising for Somalia. Project Aran was able to get things rolling as the Canadian government’s initial pledge of $21 million quickly shot up to $72 million in a few days” said Hassan Sheikh.
“Ogaal Radio’s investment in the community is huge” said Hassan Sheikh, noting that the radio “paid for 22 minutes of air time worth over $1200 to allow Project Aran reach out to the Canadian public and government.”
In paying tribute to Hassan “Karate” the Project Aran Co-ordinator thanked the anchor’s wife Anisa and their kids for standing behind him throughout the last 10 years as he carried out his broadcasting duties.
“Behind every strong man, there is a woman. Hassan “Karate’s” wife is a true role model for all women” said Hassan Sheikh in reference to Anisa. The crowd rose up on its feet to accord Anisa a standing ovation.
Mire Iro, a community leader, said that “Ogaal Radio has a special place in the community. It does great things for the community, which is closely tied to it. As a community, we must continue to support Ogaal radio.”
A well-respected community leader, Zahra Haji Hassan, thanked Hassan “Karate” for his unwavering commitment to his listeners and the community in general adding that she can’t wait for the next anniversary of Ogaal radio.
Shukri Omar  the girl with the golden voice (left)  sings the Somali national anthem as Hassan  Kara...
Shukri Omar, the girl with the golden voice (left), sings the Somali national anthem as Hassan "Karate" (second left), Farid Omar (second right) and Abdi Dirshe (right), look on.
Photo: Ali Bakri
As she continued to co-ordinate the activities of the 10th anniversary with utmost professionalism, MC Nawal turned her attention to the large number of Somali mothers present thanking them on behalf of Ogaal Radio.
“We appreciate the work you are doing in the community” said Nawal. She singled out Suad Aimad, her mentor saying that “Suad and Ogaal Radio transformed me into a very confident person.” Nawal also delivered a vote of thanks to BVcare and Project Aran, two powerful youth organizations that support Ogaal and helped organize the 10th anniversary festivities.
Shukri Omar, the young singing sensation, took the mike again to demonstrate her exceptional artistic talent as she sang beautiful songs for Hassan “Karate” during the cake-cutting ceremony.
With the NEPMCC award already in his name, Hassan "Karate" was presented with three more prestigious awards by BVcare, Golden Hair Salon and the Somali Hall of Fame. The glittering awards are in recognition of his broadcasting excellence and outstanding service to the community.
In his key note address, Hassan “Karate” thanked all the participants saying that he was humbled by their support. He reiterated the significance of Ogaal Radio’s programming vowing that “it would continue to deliver its wide ranging and diverse programs, be it news, commentary, interviews, sports, debates etc”. Hassan “Karate” also thanked Universal TV that covered the entire event as well as Waberi Studios, Somali Hall of Fame, Golden Hair Salon and Zahra Haji.
Hassan “Karate” acknowledged the important role played by Somali businesses that help keep Ogaal afloat through regular advertising. He thanked the Somali business community for their continued support. The anchor also thanked BVCare and Project Aran Canada, two youth organizations that work closely with Ogaal Radio. He acknowledged their role for successfully organizing the 10th anniversary.
In his concluding remarks, Hassan “Karate” paid tribute to Ogaal Radio’s hard working team of presenters in Canada, USA, Africa and across the world including Kos Haji (USA), Mohamed Haji (South African Bureau), Khalif Abdi Ali (Juba Region, Somalia), Nairobi-based Najah Mohamed Ali (East African Bureau), and the Ogaal team based in Toronto Canada, Khadija Salal, Bilan Hassan, Faduma Osman Hirsi, Idil Abdirahman, engineer Abdi Mirad Layli and Mohamed Abdillahi. Ogaal’s 11th anniversary will take place at the end of September 2012.
From left; Garad  Mire Iro ( community leader)  Jamal Bashi  Ahmed Abdille ( Toronto businessman)  T...
From left; Garad, Mire Iro ( community leader), Jamal Bashi, Ahmed Abdille ( Toronto businessman), Tube ( community leader) and Ahmed Eid (community elder).
Photo: Ali Bakri
Ogaal Radio can be reached at: (416) 278-2944
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