Noha Mohamed went to Calgary, Canada, to study. She ended up doing much more. You see, growing up in Egypt, Noha’s mother would play the radio on their way to school. This family ritual never left her, and she would sometimes imagine herself in a soundproof studio speaking into a mic. Then she moved to Canada for university, and listening to her favorite Egyptian radio station helped with her homesickness. “That’s when I stumbled across the opportunity to apply for a host and producer position at Red FM. So, I applied and didn’t think much of it,” Noha tells. She was later offered the role of host and producer of her show Calgary Arabia.
I am luckily working in radio and have also had tremendous luck in my career in marketing
One of the best parts about this is that Noha did not need to switch careers in order to work as a radio host. “I am luckily working in radio and have also had tremendous luck in my career in marketing,” she explains.
I self-learned everything and spent days and nights building upon my skills and formulating the best show possible
That does not mean her journey was without challenges. “It was very challenging at the beginning because I held a unique position,” Noha tells. As her show was the first and only Arabic one in Calgary, she had no guidance, mentors or academic training in this field. “I self-learned everything and spent days and nights building upon my skills and formulating the best show possible for our hybrid Arab-Canadian community,” she recalls. Nor was that the only obstacle. When the show first started, it was difficult for Noha to find local artists due partially to the lack of opportunities offered to them back then, because of the lack of community engagement and the smaller population that was there at the time. All this has changed, though. “Now, within five years, our community has come a long way. I have been introduced to many artists and I am pleased to have had the chance to showcase their talents,” Noha continues, “I am very proud of my role in helping the community become more engaged and active.”
It feels especially rewarding when I run into one of my listeners and they say that listening to the show makes them feel at home
From singing along to her favorite songs on air, to audience interaction, Noha loves plenty of things about working in the radio. “It feels especially rewarding when I run into one of my listeners and they say that listening to the show makes them feel at home,” she tells. Noha’s listeners can catch her not only on the radio, but also on live streams on Facebook, and on Calgary Arabia on Spotify, Apple and anywhere you can get podcasts.
I absolutely loved interviewing Asser Yassin; conversation with him was rich and multifaceted
Being on the radio means plenty of celebrity interviews for Noha. “I’ve learned something new from each and every one I interviewed be it celebrity or not,” she continues, “I absolutely loved interviewing Asser Yassin; conversation with him was rich and multifaceted.” Another of Noha’s favorite interviews is the one with Basma, which she conducted last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Calgary Arabia has had a role in spreading Arab culture in Calgary. It contributed in publicizing local events and organizations such as the Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival. “The show has also been a media sponsor for The Immigrants of Distinction Awards for the past three years. These awards highlight immigrants who excel in their fields,” Noha explains. She has also put together two poetry and spoken word events called Etkallemo (Speak Up). That is not its only impact of Calgary Arabia. “It’s very important to me to keep the audience aware of their options when it comes to provincial or federal elections,” Noha continues, “I also consider the show an outlet where we can spread the word about community events which serve the community.”
I’d like the show to be involved in producing more works of art such as short films and Canadian Arab music
As for what the future holds, Noha is optimistic, “I’d like the show to be involved in producing more works of art such as short films and Canadian Arab music. I’d also like to put together more events like Etkallemo,” she concludes. In the long term, Noha’s sights are set on reaching every Arab in Canada; she would like the show to be a beginning of a Canadian Arab media production company in North America. We cannot wait to see it happen!