Friday, November 26, 2010

AFN Bremerhaven


AFN Bremerhaven was on the air from 1945-93.  There are some great pictures and stories from Mike Thompson at http://staff.rio.edu/miket/afn.htm

Here's part of the 1993 closing, as broadcast on AFN Bremerhaven.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Enchantment of Music

Over the years AFRTS presented a lot of classical music. For a lot of our listeners, it was the introduction to styles of music that they hadn't heard before. "Enchantment of Music" was originally from KCBH-FM, Beverly Hills. They presented their shows in "the matchless fidelity of frequency modulation".   The station was also the first one for The Real Don Steele.


Did we ever actually run these on FM stations?

KCBH sounds like a very interesting place Here's their tribute website



Early AFN part 7

AFN Germany was the only network that actively archived over the years.  It's a great thing that these memories aren't lost to the ether.  Let's go to Frankfurt, in the early 50s...



What an amazing place to have a gig.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Open your own AFRTS network


DOD regulation was the one that ruled everything. here's your copy:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SEB Vincenza

Dennis Neal shares some SEB pictures...
SEB I= The old Southern European Broadcasting (SEB) logo, before they were swallowed by the Great AFN Amoeba.




SEB II= One of the SEB TV News Studio cameras. Note the lack of teleprompter; I would not see a teleprompter until I reported to the USS America (CV-66) in 1984.



SEB III= Overview of the SEB TV News Studio circa 1978-1981, with both cameras and lighting in view. The "Chroma-Key Blue" backdrop allowed us to have slides seem to appear behind us -- cutting edge back then!



SEB IV= Then-JO2 Melanie Morrell (left) delivers the local news while then-JO2 Dennis Neal (me) naps. Melanie and I both retired as JOCs, I in 1994, Melanie in the late 1990s. Sadly, Melanie passed away due to cancer in April 2007.



SEB V= Then-JO3 Ray Gamrat (left) signs off after giving the weather while anchorman and then-JO2 Dennis Neal (me) tries to look helpful. These days Ray is rich and famous and still as good-looking as he was in 1978. Dennis Neal still can't retire and he looks like the Picture of Dorian Grey.



Best,



Dennis Neal

AFRTS 1976-1981, U.S. Navy Journalist 1974-1994, JOC USN (Ret.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top Pops 63

So what were your memories of Armed Forces Radio?  Just a gig?  Did you make a career of it?  Were you listening in the field?  Your story is interesting, please share.


I was listening to some TPs, the early ones had locked grooves.  LOCKED GROOVES, who remembers those?  If you don't, what a locked groove would do is just stop after the song.  That made it harder to leave the switch open and run the next song accidentially.  Pronounciations?  It was never a regular thing, I only remember rarely seeing them.  At least noone could say Joe Maphis wrong!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Victor Returns

Just received a nice note from Vance Graham's stepson, filling in a lot of blanks



"Vance Graham", was a radio announcer, on-the-scene news reporter and later disc-jockey. He was born in Denver, Colorado. In 1927 he received a scholarship from the United Daughters of the Confederacy to attend the University of Virginia where he studied journalism. After graduation he traveled to Los Angeles. Soon after his arrival, he worked as a cook in a downtown hotel.


Blessed with a deep, clear and resonant voice, he soon found work at radio station KMPC in Hollywood as an announcer, newscaster, interviewer and disc jockey.
During World War II, he worked as "Assistant News Editor" for KMPC and because he was bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish, he recorded Latin American music shows for the Armed Forces Radio Network. He did live reports for the station in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.


In the 1950s and 60s, there was a huge surge in the popularity of Latin music with the "cha cha cha" and "bolero", so he had a radio show called "Bolero Time" heard every Sunday on KMPC.  A recorded version of Bolero Time was also heard on AFRTS.   He was married from 1954 to 1958 to Estrellita Santos who acted as co-host for his radio program during that time.

In the 70s he had 2 more Latin American shows on KMPC, KFI and KTYM. Graham hosted the shows called "Latino" and "Viva" as a character he named "Victor".

We lost Vance Graham in 1984, his ashes were spread over the Pacific.
(a more complete version of the above is at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=49068615  )

But now, from 1973, here's Victor:

Friday, November 5, 2010

What was YOUR story??? Thom Whetston SCN

Karl sent such a neat letter, I felt obliged to tell my story...


When I was a kid, radio in Minneapolis was special. Storz had WDGY, KDWB was an early Drake station.  KSTP rocked.  KQRS was an early AOR.  Talky WCCO would pull a 60 share...The Minneapolis schools had a 5000 FM that ran educational programming and was a trade  at the Vocational school... teacher Warren Christy was a late 60s FEN guy.  The circle starts.  After that the army. 

I knew about AFRTS.  I was at the DINFOS in fall 1976 at Ft Harrison.  Mr Runda, Monte Jones, Larry Rogers and the rest, still bigger than life.  The rest of my class pulled orders for CONUS or AFN.  I pulled Korea and was upset.  One of teachers said "I've been to Germany and Korea.  You're not believing this but you won.".  I had an great year, first doing radio news, 3rd shift.  Ed Masters NEVER slept.  "Thom, Ma's cow is with Pa's bull, Musco is in Russia.".  After that to Camp Casey.  Pat Daigle ran that place.  If you ever knew Pat, there's nothing more to say.  Partied pretty solidly for 9 months.  After that the PAO shop at Ft Devens.  zzz.... Nights I was working at WEIM, Fitchburg MA.  Tiny station but it was a P-3 with most of the trades, the owner did spend money it.  Panama was next, 3 years at SCN.  Super weather, nice people and we made some pretty good radio.  Every time a neat series went on TV, the Panamanian stations would buy it, so there were a lot of 1950-60s reruns and East German TV movies "But it's in color!!!".  I couldn't do that.  I stayed on the radio side for three years. 

After that the real world called.  I was doing afternoons at WEIM, weekends for Curt Gowdy's WCGY in Boston.  Fitchburg was about 20 miles from Worcester, 50 from Manchester (mkt 140 but priceless during the NH primaries), 40 from Boston and about 40 from Keene NH.  It's all commutable. I worked several at a time, almost every one owned or run by a 'character' then  nights at WSRS in Worcester 'lite n easy'.  That was one of those stations with totally insane ratings.  Worcester is almost completely under the Boston umbrella.  Anything lower than 40% in anything was pretty much regarded as failure. 

In the mid-90s the business had changed.  In Boston there was a company doing the talking phonebook nationally and across Canada AND I get to learn about UNIX.  cool.  They were bought out by a competitor.  "You still have a job, but it's in Wichita".  Back again to WEIM and the only time I was ever canned in radio.  "You cost too much" I was pretty tired of the whole thing.  Time for an adult job, I guess.  It sure was a change to have a reasonable expectation of a job still being there.  It's the help desk for me, and this blog.

I wish I had saved more tape, but about 15 years ago I had several large trash bags of airchecks, myself, friends, neat things.  Hadn't used them in many years.  gone.  Now I try to find copies.  Tom Konard "Aircheck Factory" had saved this and I'm grateful.