Saturday, April 22, 2017

AFVN Jolly Jim 1966


Dennis digitized a reel-to-reel  recorded off the air (lightning crackles and all) from AFVN Saigon June 1966 featuring Jolly Jim (don’t know his real name) music is not scoped. Any idea who it is?

This is wonderful.  Thanks Dennis!

Don Browne has some insight:

The air check of AFVN Jolly Jim 1966 appears to be that of SP4 James Lull.

AFVN didn't exist in June 1966. The only studio was called "Armed Forces Radio" or "Armed Forces Radio - Vietnam". It was one flagship station for Saigon/540 kHz, and two or more unmanned repeaters (Qui Nhon/770 kHz, Danang/850 kHz, and possibly Pleiku/560 kHz). There was no FM (99.9 MHz) or TV (Channel 11) yet. The expansion to a "real" network was just starting. "Date With Chris" starring Chris Noel was six months away.

The actual air check of "Jolly Jim" Lull contains an interruption of Morse Code around 0635. This sounds like a cargo ship transmitting A2 in the nearby Saigon river. Several PAMS "call letter edits" are featured as well as PAMS instrumental beds. I don't recognize the notes that cover the call letters. Each call letter note pattern was unique.

Also, the music selection is suspiciously void of mentioning or playing early (1964-1966) Beatles selections. This is because early Beatles songs were not selected by the AFRTS radio producers for inclusion in the TP or P-series. This is one of the reasons why "bootleg" radio stations were started by Army Public Affairs officers in Vietnam.

Army Public Affairs officers started their own "independent" radio stations, acquired studio equipment, and several AM or FM transmitters. The PA Offices contacted local stateside record distributors and received popular 45 RPM singles and LP records. They also purchased jingle packages from CRC, Gwinsound, and Pepper-Tanner who were "supporters of freedom's mission in Vietnam". These "bootleg" operations were heard throughout RVN and were more popular (because their music was more current) than the RP four-week turnaround of the "censored" TP and P-series songs received by AFVN.

There were never more than twenty of these "bootleg" operations in RVN. These stations would generally exist for several months until their staffs ETS'd out of Vietnam. Then the on-air time would drop precipitously.

The most popular "bootleg" station in Vietnam was KLIK (from the military term "click", meaning one kilometer) which operated on 1330 kHz and 104.9 MHz, Lai Khe Base Camp. The PAO of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (just north of Saigon) operated this station for several years (1967-1969).

These "bootleg" stations donated their purchased jingles to AFVN, who had draftee SP4 Gary Gears as the AFVN Saigon production man (1967-1969). DoD approved these "donations" because they were "Found on Post". Gary combined PAMS jingles received by his former employers WDGY, KQV, and WCFL with the donated CRC and Gwinsound jingles which sang "AFVN". The result was quite remarkable.

Don Browne