Monday, January 31, 2011

AFVN DaNang 1969 Your Brother

Bob Mayben sent in a neat AFVN memory: "I was company clerk for the 43rd APU (Post Office). I have a 30 minute air check of “Your Brother” on AFVN DaNang that I recorded at the 80th Logistical Command in the Arts and Crafts shop."


AFRS Mail Call 1944

Here's a description from
Mail Call. May 24, 1944. Program #93. AFRS origination. The program is dedicated to the state of Kentucky. Borah Minevich and His Harmonica Rascals do a spectacular arrangement of, "Brazil." Mortimer Snerd tells Paulette Goddard about his first date. Charlie McCarthy tries to apologize to W. C. Fields for setting a skunk trap in Fields' garden. This is a well-known routine, using the same script as in, "The "Chase and Sanborn Program" recording from September 21, 1941. This time, W. C. loses his place in the script and mis-reads several lines. The date above is the recording date. The program was released June, 1944.

Early AFRS and WC Fields, total win.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chris Noel 1966 VIDEO

Never thought I'd see this, here's a couple of minutes of Chris Noel recording A Date With Chris

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What was radio?

I was writing a letter to Melvin and I thought I'd share:

When I was a kid, I had an old Grundig record player/tuner. In Minneapolis WDGY (Storz), KDWB (Drake) and KSTP were blowtorching at each other. Full service WCCO would pull 50 shares on a regular basis. I’d DX the evening trying for the furthest catch. Just not the same to hear a live stream from the internet and anyhow who really cares if they’re listening to a satellite feed from a station a thousand miles away. I guess some kids must get excited about radio today. I’m not sure why. Generic garbage, or sometimes someone mispronouncing voice tracks from far away.

A well recorded AM aircheck from the 60s sounds better than present day FM. It was part of the romance of radio. It was a friend. They’ve done so much to wreck AM and eventually managed to kill it. I’ve had line airchecks from WABC or WCFL that didn’t sound as good as an aircheck from a tuner. The sound chains were that good.

Radio was a contest. It was a life. It was a love. It was my career. I kicked tail it some markets and was bruised up in others, but it was a fight by people who cared playing by the same rules.

Armed Forces Radio is where I learned a lot of lessons and honed my skills. It would always be special.

The great stations were always a lot better than the sum of their parts, the magic and momentum. Now it’s an ipod with music that isn’t as good as on my ipod.

So what happened to it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And yes Virginia, there was an AFVN-FM

By 1969, the AM station was missing an important element, the "Golden Sounds of Music".  Mike Halloran was one of the first on the new AFVN-FM.

Halloran had a radio career prior to the army and went on to great things after.  Before the FM station, he had been been commuting in for a weekly show on the Saigon station, sometimes under fire.

Let's relax with the Golden Sounds of Music

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 2011 update

Wonderful bunch of transcriptions came in. Many were early library disks.  The rest were program disks.  Normally I don't get provenence on these (where did they come from?).  These came from the Pacific, primarily the Phillippines in 1944.  It's a different feeling when one can feel the history of _that_ disk.  They cleaned well and were mostly in great shape.  Hopefully you'll get a chance to hear them.  Also a bunch of One Night Stands, that was the bigband show that ran from WWII well into the 1960s, a bunch from 1955.  During WWII they started putting parts one and two of the same program on the same disk, they had to be flipped live.  In the civilian world they would have been on different disks to avaid dead air.  A lot of disks were damaged in wartime transit.  The network didn't want a broken disk to ruin two shows.  They were still doing that in 1955.  Why?

Discovery Channel has "Vietnam In HD" in pre-production.  Some AFVN/AFRTS clips may be in the final program.  Hi Doc!

Still rebuilding the new 12" turntable.  Anyone know where I can locate a 16" turntable?  Know anyone who has the stuff and would like to help with transfers?

December visits were 4884, January was 6118.  I know that's probably not all that interesting for the folks at home but more and more visit each month and I'm greatful for every click.  Thanks again!

Your comments are more than welcome on any post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GI Jive

GI Jill (Martha Wilkerson) was our first big DJ.  She was the voice of home to thousands.

The program continued well into the Korean War.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We get letters...

There's a lot of people who're interested:  If you saved anything, please let me know.

Hi Thom,

Thanks for sending these shows, but what I'd really like to hear would be some of the local shows by us guys who were military jocks. Do you have any air-checks of any of those shows?

I was at AFKN in Korea from 1971-75 and we had some super talented jocks come through there. Great memories! Those are the guys that I personally would really like to hear again. Any chance you can scare-up some old air-checks from any of us enlisted guys?

ALOHA from Tokyo,

-Kamasami Kong (a.k.a. PFC Robert Zix)

InterFM, Tokyo
KUMU, Honolulu


You’ve just explained the biggest problem, I’d love to run a lot more tape of us in the field but VERY little tape seems to have survived. In Germany, the civilians saved airchecks but I’m trying to not turn the whole thing over to AFN. Then when the tape does exist, it seems to take upwards of six months to actually get the tapes.

Did you save any AFKN tape? Please say yes. In 1978 I was at Ft Devens and working with JJ Gould. He was a true fan of your work.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome! And trades....

There's a bunch of older things that have been donated and I'm trying to figure how interested you'd be in hearing them.  I plan on posting the occasional Command Performance or Mail Call or such.  The network started in 1943. When I was in Korea and later in Panama I'd go to the record library and listen to the classic material.  Wonderful things, but never really stored in a particular order.  Digging through the library was part of the fun.  Up until the mid 70s apparently there was a mostly complete library in Germany.  Must have been a thing to behold.

If you have some material that could use a new home, please let me know.  If you'd like to trade original material or copies, please let me know.  This material needs to be shared.  Email Thom (612) 356-AFRS

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I wish I could share these, but I just located the 1977 series and the Masked Minuteman series (did we run THAT one?), Chickenman cast in 1776... 

AFN in Afganistan is apparently STILL running these.  Great!

Dick Orkin makes the original 1966 ones available over at:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Laurie Allen

Welcome to the new year!  Laurie Allen has a look at two and a half decades of great rock and roll!

If you're looking for voiceover with style, or you'd like to hear some great demos be sure to visit Laurie's website: