Saturday, December 25, 2010

AFRS Spain

Here's a neat perspective, I just heard from Andoni, the blogger at He's a Spaniard that misses the AFRTS stations in Spain and the country music in particular.

Here's what he had to say: AFRS Spain the blog is Spanish, so I ran it through google translate.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Other Ameche Brother

Jim Ameche did his show for many years for the network. Brother Don was also quite the host.  In the early 50s AFRS did a program called Across the Board, misc musical broadcasts.  Randy thinks this is a heavily edited program from the "Here's to Romance" series.  Don and Jim sound a lot alike:

AFRTS and old time radio

Well into the 1980s, we ran a lot of oldtime radio.  We had access to huge libraries, restrictions on the television product made it another way to present a good story.  When it was being presented as a 'story', it was done well.  When it was 'nostalgia', it was a harder sell.  By 1980 90% of the troops hadn't been there for network radio, making it quaint.  They didn't understand where the joke even was with Fibber McGee joking about 'ration points'.  But drama, mystery and some comedy could be very entertaining.

Here's a 1977 repackaging of a 1940s broadcast.

I think that even today, it could be made to work.  What do you think?

Friday, November 26, 2010

AFN Bremerhaven

AFN Bremerhaven was on the air from 1945-93. Here's part of the 1993 closing, as broadcast on AFN Bremerhaven.

Friday, November 19, 2010

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.

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.


Dennis Neal

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

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.

Friday, October 22, 2010

US Army Germany

Welcome visitors from the website.  Walter does a great job with it and there's a lot of AFN infomation I haven't seen before.  Take a look!

Happy Birthday AFKN

AFN-K (I still find that hard to say) has put together their 60th anniversary tribute. 
What do you think?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Command Performance

Command Performance was a star-studded jamboree.  It was probably the biggest thing produced by AFRTS.  In 1977 Frank Bresee assembled a 35th anniversary tribute.  Guests for the tribute include Ken Carpenter and Bob Hope, sharing memories.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

History of AFN

In 1990 began the 'downsizing' of our bigger networks.  MediaNetwork discussed the history of AFN with Roy Neal.

He had a big career before WWII worked at AFN and later came back as a civilian.

Take a listen:

There's more about Roy Neal at

Friday, October 8, 2010

See AFRTS disks on PBS-TV

Jon checks in to let us know about something coming up on PBS

I was just checking a satellite feed of an upcoming PBS program, "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" and spotted a collector with some some serious WWII-era AFRS vinyl transcriptions and V-Discs.

Feinstein discussed the use of the AFRS discs and their procurement, and there was some great performance footage of Lena Horne, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland taken from "Jubilee" and "Command Performance USA."

This is in episode #2 of the series, entitled "The Best Band in the Land."

After doing a QC check of the feed, it was a segment of the show where Michael Feinstein met with former AFRS producer Marty Halperin (Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters).

Halperin was showing him the master tapes he kept over the years in the basement of his home, along with a few AFRS 12" transcription discs (in the familiar manila shuck with "Armed Forces Radio & Television Service" and "Property of U.S. Government" over the center hole.

Michael Feinstein's American Songbook

Best Band in the Land

Wednesday, October 13, 7:00pm (your date and time may vary)

The roles that popular music played during WWII, providing emotional solace and boosting morale, are remembered. Michael Feinstein also discusses the era's big bands, USO shows, V-Discs and war bond rallies; and prepares an original patriotic song.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Laurie Allen

Photo: Original Minnesotans  Laurie with Jim Pewter in Crete, courtesy Laurie Allen

Here's a double batch of memories,  Laurie Allen with the best in classic rock.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Golden Days of Radio

No recent word on Frank Bresse's condition.  He had an amazing run on the network.  Recently his amazing record collection has come on the market.  But these were the days, a 1951 Lux Radio Theatre production of Sunset Boulevard.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I miss the record library...

I was cleaning up and re-sleeving some transcriptions and remembering the libraries.

I don't think the network ever tried to be eclectic, but with a dozen disks coming in every week since 1943 there was a lot of music. I'd go in and listen to a genre I hadn't heard in a while, early R&;B, Western swing, Gospel... totally amazing libraries. The majority of the libraries were mediocre MOR. AFKN in the field stations would have random program disks from the 50s and 60s. "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" "Bob and Ray" "Date with Chris" there was probably a complete set at the Camp Casey station, at the time I didn't know what they were. In the 1970s and 80s, there were RP and RU disks. RP were to be destroyed after broadcast. RU disks were to be shipped to another station. SCN in Panama had a mostly complete set of library disks. It was the first time I'd heard all of the MAJ Glenn Miller sides. Shuffling through them was always like Christmas for me. AFN had saved a copy of probably every disk ever received. In the early 1970s those were cleaned out. Around the time that the network talent wasn't renewed cds went to the stations and the program vinyl was recalled for the Library of Congress. In 1982 was one of the earlier times they tried that. At SCN we said "No, we need everything we've got." and they let that pass. Now the libraries get their weekly CDs, but they're rebranded Superdisks, the same as used by hundreds of stations in the United States. I’m sure they’re a lot easier to program from, but an era is gone.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Early AFN part 6

Been a long time since we looked at AFN in the 1940s and 50s.  Here's some misc material from Frankfurt and Stuttgart with Bob Smith, Keith Griggs and more.

The most popular AFRS Program?  GI Jive.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The AFRTS book

Dave Phillips has written the big book of AFRTS, about all of us and all of the networks.  It promises to really be a great read.  It's finished.  The cover art is done but Dave's having a bit of a time getting a publisher.  If you can help on that one, please let me know.  We NEED this book.

Friday, September 3, 2010

WABCs Cousin Brucie On AFVN and Chris Noel

In 1969 the Coca-Cola company asked some very bigtime jocks to record shows for the troops, which were distributed on LP.  The Real Don Steele did one.  Hy Litt did one Here's the one that Cousin Brucie did.. 
AFVN Cousin Brucie

The series was not documented.  What I know for a fact is that the Don Steele one showed up on eBay last year and went for top dollar.  I've heard rumors that AFVN ran some of them on the air.  I can't confirm that.

A lot memories of AFVN were of actress Chris Noel, let's take a listen:

Date With Chris

While we're at it, let's return to AFVN Pleiku for the overnight show.  Who's the jock??
AFVN Pleiku 1970.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Morning People

Garry asked about presenting more of the AFN local shows. Midnight in Germany and time for "Morning People" with Chris Hall filling in. Here's a scoop of AOR.

AFN "Morning People" with Chris Hall 1978

Chris checked in "Where'd you get that tape?".  I'm hoping for an update.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

AFN to drop over-the-air signal in 2 countries

Once again it's the end of an era..

WIESBADEN, Germany — Some American Forces Network viewers in Germany and Belgium could soon be seeing nothing but static when they turn on the TV.

The Army’s 5th Signal Command, which is responsible for over-the-air TV transmitters that broadcast AFN, plans to turn off over-the-air signal in the two countries starting next month. The change will affect only those who receive the broadcast via a television antenna. Viewers who own AFN decoders will not notice any change, AFN officials say.
Original story

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enchantment of Music

Over the years AFRTS presented a lot of classical music. Many times listeners had never really listened to it before and it created a respect for an ageless musical form. "Enchantment of Music" was originally from KCBH-FM, Beverly Hills. They went through a lot of trouble to change their city of license from Los Angeles to the upscale Beverly Hills. They presented their shows in "the matchless fidelity of frequency modulation". Who couldn't relate to that? Here's Bruce Lindell (Windell??)

Magic Of Music 1964
Direct Download

Monday, June 14, 2010


What would you like to hear? There's a lot of material available. Thanks for telling your friends about the blog, there were a LOT of people who were at the networks, in the field listening to the shows or local nationals in countries all over the world. It's great to hear from you. Roland Bynum just sent a nice note. Thanks for that. He said that Herman Griffith was responsible for getting him on AFRTS. I hope someday to get the whole story. I've finally found the discography that Bozy White did of the first 3000 Pop disks in the library.

Unfortunately the spammers got me last week and I had to turn on comment moderation. What was your best memory of Armed (American?) Forces Radio?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Command Performance 1944

In WWII AFRS edited the commercials from US network programs and made their own programming. Command Performance was the biggest variety show, with the biggest stars from all of the networks and Hollywood. In 1944 Fred Waring (invented the Waring Blender) hosted Command Performance.

Command Performance #146
Direct Download

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Your audience awaits...

Many of us saved a tape or acetate or two. There are a lot of people that would like to hear them again. The airchecks from AFN/AFKN/SCN etc usually turn out as popular as the LA talent. If you've saved a tape or two, jammed in the back of a drawer somewhere, I'd really like to hear it and I'm sure others would too. So much of our collective history has been lost in the name of housekeeping.

"We went to different high schools together" - Jim Pewter

Please contact me if you've saved anything.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

AFN Korea now

Here's the newest presentation we've ever had. The morning show from Daegu (used to be Taegu) with Faun Mann. The tradition continues. I notice the similarities. Someone in Berlin the 1940s sounds a lot like someone in Vietnam. Done well it's just relating to the troops.

AFN Korea March 2010 with Faun Mann

Direct Download

Visit their website:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

G.I. Jive

In 1943 Martha Wilkerson was the voice of the girl left behind as GI Jill on on the brand new Armed Forces Radio Service. Here's what Time magazine said about it in 1945

G.I. Jive - WWII

Direct Download
More GI Jive here

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now loading faster and random TP-165

I think I'll only have the realtime player on the most recently posted material. When they were on everything the page loaded too slow...

Spring 1966
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels - Jenny Take a Ride
Paul Revere and the Raiders - Just Like Me
Toys - Attack
Gentrys - Spread It On Thick
Miracles - Going To A Go Go
Lou Christy - Lightning Strikes

Backed with 15 "Hollywood Hotline" programs, hosted by Dick Clark.

Sometimes I played the Clark shows with a period oldie, neat effect.

Monday, April 5, 2010


If you look to the left, there is a page of links to mostly related AFRTS websites. They're all pretty interesting. If you have a website, please send the address along.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mark White 1954

Here's Mark White interviewing Richard Widmark in 1954

AFN Safety Star Time

Direct Download

Early AFN part 5

Here's another bunch of surprises from the early years of AFN, in no particular order but probably the 1940s and 50s. (Thanks Garry!!)

Early AFN
Direct Download

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


UPDATE: Expecting new material from FEN and AFKN. If you saved anything, I'd really like to hear it!
March hit count is well over a thousand (1145!!!). THANK YOU, and thank you for sharing this site. If you're new, welcome to the archive. It's been amost 15 years since the 'old network' existed. From 1943-96 the network would block book radio shows. Over the years it changed from Old Tyme Radio but the concept was the same but with a bunch of top Los Angeles radio talent. In 1996 our friends were all fired and it seems to be more or less US satellite music networks. It's cheaper and easier to use. I don't think it's better.

I plan on celebrating those years.

Your comments, memories and ideas are always welcome. At the end of each post it'll say something like 0 Comments, click it and you can leave your comment.

So, who are you? What was the best thing about Armed Forces Radio?

Did you save any airchecks?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mark White

This is the second time we hear from Mark White, he went to AFN Berlin in the 1950s and ended up staying. He's retired and to noones surprise living in Berlin. On weekends, the salute to the Big Bands was a tradition.

Mark White AFN Berlin 1983

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who's on First

Back to more recent things after this, but it's such a classic.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

AFN and Benny Brown

Talk about a neat career, as best I can put together Benny parlayed AFN into working at Radio Luxembourg when it was over one million watts of one of the coolest stations ever. Shortly after posting this Benny called me on Skype and I had the opportunity to speak with one of the greats.

Benny Brown AFN

Benny, still the perfectionist said that the show is Veterans Day 1995. The reason it wasn't tighter was that he was feeding the network. The show was clearly recorded from the transmitter in Bavaria/Franconia as it has "local Wuerzburg & Bamberg" spot announcements rather than the generic network spots.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frank Bresee AFN tribute

Here's part one of the Golden Days of Radio tribute to AFN Europe on it's 45th anniversary (1988) Thanks Garry!!!

For the longest time, the people that collected stateside Old Time Radio primarily had a ton of GDOR shows and traded them back and forth. Today I can only find a handful. If you have any of these programs please let me know.

Golden Days of Radio tribute to AFN 45th anniversary (part one) 1988

Friday, February 19, 2010

*** Updated*** Max Floyd AFN

UPDATE: Max checked in and may be making an aircheck available!!!

Clem Stein suggests we do something with Max Floyd."First off as an OLD AFN'er 62-64 AFN Munich, I just loved my stint doing "Bouncing' in Bavaria." The real star of the station at that time however was Max Floyd, "The Rock and Roll General." Max did "Early Bird," and I believe on the first morning he did the show in 1962 he said, "Road condition RED," by which he meant that it was foggy and you should drive with care. However that was clever Army code and unknown to Max meant that the troops were to go on alert and thus he got an entire division on alert and as any old soldier will tell you that is a hell of a way to start the day.........Max is in the Rock & Roll Hall of fame, and has had a wonderful 50 year life on the radio. A Great movie has been made about Max. It is called: "The Rock and Roll General" the Max Floyd Story. It is 1 hour and 23 minutes long and is Motion Picture by Scott Sheridan copyright 2008 Noblinque Productions LLC. Anybody who likes a warm inspiring story or the AFN network, or great radio, would love this movie so go on line and order it.


Rock and Roll General

Buy it now! Here's a taste: