Sunday, July 14, 2013

George Homcy - AFN 1951

I was at AFN, Europe, 1951-53, as a newscaster and news writer. Had my own local news show and was on air during the world news show at 7 p.m. In 1952, we had a big celebration on the Fourth of July, featuring the then-famous singer, Hildegard. It was quite a blast, with several hundred in attendance.
My assignment to AFN in the fall of 1951, along with John Keel, was a mystery, although my MOS reflected my prior service as a newspaper reporter. I was a reporter 1948-51 before I was drafted, so being assigned to AFN was great. I remember a staff car picking up me and Keel at the banhof in Frankfurt. On the way, the driver asked if we knew where we were going. We had no idea or knowledge about AFN. He told us, just as were pulling into the castle entrance in Hoechst. You can imagine our reaction!

I was assigned to the newsroom, Keel to Continuity. After a few months of writing newscasts for our news chief, Vince Lambros, I got to do some headline newscasts in the afternoon. More and more airtime followed. In 1952, I was assigned to be the AFN correspondent in Bremerhaven. In early 1953, I was reassigned to be the correspondent in Munich. In both cases, I had my own local news shows and also participated in the world news show in the evening, depending on what was happening. I do have some recordings of my shows, cut in the old vinyl records.

Some of my big news reporting was the saga of the Flying Enterprise at sea, the floods in Holland and the arrival of the SS United States in Bremerhaven, after setting a new transatlantic crossing record. We did a liv e broadcast from the ship. It was the top of the line at the time. I still have the official program from the ceremony.

Breaking into radio in 1953 was difficult. They all wanted commercial radio experience. I was not willing to leave the New Jersey-New York area, I had one job offer: To be the third man on the News-sports staff at WCTC in  New Brunswick, NJ which to this day covers Trenton and Rutgers. The salary was $50 a week. I turned it down and returned to newspaper work, putting in 20 years as a reporter, columnist and night editor. In 1974, I became president of the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce and served for 28 years, retiring in 2002. Then for three years I was executive director, a part-time gig, for the Nicholas Martini Foundation, a private multi-million dollar foundation which gave away money.

That is an abbreviated version of my career. Have a wife of 57 years, four kids and seven grandkids. I'll be 84 next month, God-willing.


George