New radio show features Somali language

AUBURN — Gleason Media has begun broadcasting a new Somali radio show Sunday mornings on WEZR 1240-AM, General Manager Dick Gleason said.

submitted photo

Fatouma Ahmed of Lewiston, a former radio announcer in Africa, hosts a Sunday morning radio show in the Somali language from 11 a.m. to noon Sunday on WEZR 1240 AM, Gleason Media President Dick Gleason said.

“The Somali Show” is the first of its kind in the area to reach out to the Somali, Kenyan and Djibouti population living and working in Lewiston-Auburn, said Gleason, who is also the mayor of Auburn.

The show will be broadcast from 11 a.m. to noon Sundays. It will be in the Somali language.

The host of the show will be Fatouma Ahmed of Lewiston, a former radio newscaster in Africa, and a mother of one.

“It's going to have some Somali music, interviews, news and some advertisements,” Ahmed said Friday. The news will be about events happening in Lewiston and Auburn, with guests talking about adult education and the career center. The show will also feature news of Somalia, Juba, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Ahmed will translate the show's advertising to Somali.

Many are excited about the show, she said. “They want to have a Somalia program on the radio. Some people here don't speak English,” she said. “I hope the show will help the Somali community to understand what's going on. I feel very good about this. I'm very happy.”

Gleason said he was approached as Auburn mayor by Somali leaders looking for help with a sports tournament to help Somali youth. "As we sat there and talked, I said 'Gee, we have a French show. Maybe a Somali show would be of interest to you.'"

It was. The leaders told Gleason that Ahmed worked as a radio journalist in Africa.

When Ahmed came to the radio station, "I found out she knew how to operate the equipment," Gleason said. They decided to give the show a try. It aired for the first time Oct. 17. "It went very well," Gleason said. "Now we're spreading the word."

 Somali and non-Somali leaders are happy about the show, he said. It will not only promote understanding, but Somali residents will get news from their homeland, be able to hear their tongue and native music on the airwaves, he said.

It's fitting, Gleason said, that the Somali Show will follow the French speaking show, "La Revue Francaise" with Connie Cote. The French language show airs from 9 to 11 a.m. Sundays.

Ahmed moved to Lewiston two years ago from Djibouti, Africa, with her daughter, Soumaya, 3. In Djibouti, Ahmed was a news announcer for “Radio Djibouti,” a government run radio station. Part of her job was to analyze and broadcast news from various sources.

Ahmed speaks four languages, English, French, Somali and Arabic.

Djibouti is a French and Arabic speaking country that borders Somalia. Djibouti became independent from France in 1977.

In Lewiston, Ahmed works for L.L. Bean, volunteers as a translator and for Catholic Charities of Maine, helping explain mail and bills to the Somali population.

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Good sense

After reading the very hateful and threatening comments on the paper's facebook posting about this story, I am pleased to see that those here have a lot more good sense. What I find ironic is that so many people say "Speak English!" yet they can't even put a good sentence together.

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i think that its great. i

i think that its great. i have no problems or issues with it. why would i? its america... free speech.

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what are people so afraid of?

what are people so afraid of? i just don't get it...

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Its called advertising.

Its called advertising. Businesses pay money to the station in return for advertising their goods and or services. This allows the person doing the radio show to buy air time and allows businesses to reach their target audience. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how it works. Why do people care so much about what other people do? If you don't want to hear someone speak Somali for a couple of hours a day then don't tune in.

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Radio Show

It tickles me to think that we are allowing a people who hates us and worships a God who tells them to kill us are to have their own radio show and to speak in a language that none of us can understand. Try using or to check out what I am saying. I wonder what they are going to talk about. But then again ..........

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It took decades..

Before the French started speaking English as their first language after moving to Lewiston. The idea of a Somali radio show one hour a week would, you'd think, be about as uncontroversial as it gets, but still people use it as a venue for xenophobic speech.

There are many, many LEGITIMATE issues to have with many in the Somali community, but when people respond to a harmless story like this with "how about learning english" with 21 people agreeing, you no longer deserve to be taken seriously.

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Many of the descendants of

Many of the descendants of the French Canadians who live in Lewiston STILL CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH. Due mainly to being brought up in households that STILL speak French Canadian. (dere)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Have you contacted the radio

Have you contacted the radio station to find out who's covering the cost of having the show weekly? This particular situation does not seem to have a lot of "politician" involvement to it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not seeing it. The French have their radio show on Sundays, yet no one appears to be upset over that.
We're continually told by the left that unless same sex marriage directly affects our lives, we shouldn't have a problem with it.
Unless a Somali radio show directly affects your life, why should you care? Isn't that the liberal way?

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This Show...

WHO'S paying for the Airtime if they want there own radio show LET THEM PAY FOR IT... every thing these people is GIVE GIVE GIVE

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If you're not of French

If you're not of French extraction, T..what gives you the right to slim him? Hmmmmmm?

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How about learning english/you got to be kidding

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Explain your last comment,

Explain your last comment, please. It appears pretty rude on the surface. Do I need get the plank ready?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

AARRGHH!!!. I've got the

AARRGHH!!!. I've got the plank ready anyway, just in case. The sharks have been circling for some "chum".

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The French do have their radio spot but they also learned English. Learning English should be required for all immigrants. All earlier foreign settlers might speak their native language when they were home but all learned English and spoke it in public. It is not very polite to go shopping and there are 2 or more Somalians talking in their native tongue and laughing. What are they saying that is so funny?? I guess we are suppose to learn their language now. Just a thought.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

In Lewiston you have the

In Lewiston you have the French speaking program, I believe it's on Sunday mornings or least, it used to be. In that vein, the Somalis are entitled to have their Somali language program as long as it's being paid for by private and not public funding.
When I was a child, on Sunday mornings you could listen to a Polish station that played only polkas, a Greek station that played all Greek music, and a Syrian station that played Arabic music. That was the way it was, back then.
The Somalis are not exactly breaking new ground here. I wish them success.


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