Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

Finally it's done!  Thanks to all.  It's quite a story.  Happy 70th Birthday AFRTS!

If you'd like a 441k uncompressed wav of this let me know.  Rebroadcast is encouraged, if you do then please let me know.

If you're not already on the mailing list, let me know.  Weekly I send out updates,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

The birthday greetings are going to be a big part of our history and so far it tells an important part of our story.

Still time to get yours in!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanks again!

It's been almost four years since I started doing this.  I'd like to thank you for stopping by.  Our AFRTS stories are something that I really don't want to see in the dumpster.  Thanks for sharing.  For the hundreds of you that stop by, we get a chance to tell a story again.  It's nice to be able to share the airchecks.  Every one of the AFRTS-LA stars that I could find have said it's okay to post their material and I appreciate it.

If you'd like to share your memories I think we'd all appreciate it.  Any requests?

70th anniversary of AFRTS is 2012 and my audio piece about our history is almost done.  Take a second and record a birthday greeting.  You are the story.

At the end of the month we're taking our first vacation in years.  Going to visit the in-laws in Europe.  I'll probably be cut off from the internet then.  By New Year the updates will start again.

If you're not already on the mailing list, let me know.  Weekly updates on what's happening here.

If you enjoy the page, please tell a friend.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday is coming

AFRTS will be having it's 70th birthday next year.  I'm finishing up a little documentary to tell the story.  I'd be very interested in getting a birthday greeting from you.  A computer file would be great, but if you can't do that you can leave a voicemail at 612-356-AFRS (612)356-2377 and I'll get it transferred.  If you enjoy this website, you were a part of the story.  Please share it.  612-356-AFRS (612)356-2377, operators are standing by!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spotlight Bands

Mostly, I try to stay away from CONUS network radio shows.  Spotlite Bands is a little different.  During WWII Coca-Cola sponsored the top bands in America playing at military bases in the US and to be recorded for AFRS.  Here's Charlie Barnet, playing at Lovell General Hospital, Ft Devens MA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What AFRTS meant to me

Blogwatcher Mary sends along her impressions of AFRTS:

AFRTS meant a lot to me and my husband when we were stationed in Germany, Korea, and England. It was a voice of home when we were far away, helping us to keep in touch with America. It was also very entertaining. I liked Larry Rideout and the Dufflebag Show in Frankfurt, Germany. We went to church with him. Especially in a country where you don't speak the language, AFRTS was a lifeline back to America. What impressed me the most was the variety. AFRTS was aimed at all the G.I.s and their families and the civilians that were also stationed overseas. They managed to have something for everybody. A favorite while we were in England was "the Energy Rap," this G.I. who admonished us to save energy. I also loved seeing G.I.'s in uniform read the news. Thanks!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

Next year the network turns 70 years old.  Can you believe it?  I'm putting together an audio tribute to the network and I'd really appreciate your help.  Could you please cut a drop with what AFRTS meant to you?  It doesn't have to be anything tricky, you don't have to be 'talent'.  Board operators, supply clerks, 71Limas.  Civilians in the host countries.  Several have already sent theirs in.  Thank you.  Just something along the lines of:

Hi I'm Thom Whetston, I was on AFRTS radio twice, in Korea in the 70s and Panama in the 80s.  Happy birthday AFRTS. 

Feel free to add to it.  The more of us that participate, the better it'll be.  Questions?  just click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AFKN people 1977 from Linda

Kirk Dorn

Kirk Dorn, Milk and cookies.  Milk and cookies? In Korea?

Paul Hartledge


Jack Brown 15 Nov. 1923 - 19 Oct. 2011

October 2011,  we lost former director of AFRTS programming Jack Brown. 

Jack Brown
Awarded US Secretary of Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Professor Radio, TV, Film CSUN.
General Manager KCSN - Retired
Actor, Television, Radio and Motion Pictures
Former president and charter member, Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. Former owner of the Don Martin School of Broadcasting.  Jack was a Ham radio operator and former Volunteer at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. He was also a volunteer reader at his church, St. Mary the Virgin, Chatsworth.

In the early 1960s, Jack was the host of "Rocketing Rhythms", the countdown show.

Rocketing Rhythms

Monday, November 14, 2011

AFVN "Double Jeopardy"

AFN vet  Rich Halten is still building entertainment:

"You might recall I mentioned a radio piece I did about the attack on AFVN Hue while it was under construction. It was during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and the radio station wasn't on the air yet but a bare bones TV station was.

AFVN Hue after Tet 1968

It's the first post, titled "Double Jeopardy." While the piece isn't really about AFVN, it profiles two guys (one a D.J., the other an engineer) who took very different paths while fleeing the station when it was under attack. "Double Jeopardy" debuted last Friday on KCRW in L.A.'s "Unfictional" program."

So what do you think?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FEN automation and Tokyo calling 1965

Awhile back Monte Jones had some informaton about the automation system at FEN in the late 60s.  I thought something capable of segueing the ETs and putting the news on the air was very high tech for the times.  Norm Medland was there before Monte and he had some information:

Henry Yaskell was way ahead of his time from the automation system to tropo scatter to distribute the net up the line to Misawa and other places; Kuma Station and Wakkanai in the far north of Japan. In addition to the voice network to our outlying stations, we also had a teletype network and a fulltime employee to type and send printed newscasts to all the stations. Yes, they could have had all news prerecorded on tape and I believe Henry wanted that but it pushed immediacy back by at least an hour and the programmers would not allow it.

Automation basic brain may have been a Harris-made unit, but not sure. Henry had at least four turntables connected along with a bank of ampex tape recorders and several cart machines. It used a room about 20x20 and had one fulltime GI and a Japanese engineer plus probably a GI engineer. Time hacks were automated and the unit could switch between functions and the news booth and production studios. A lot of local production done on tape like “Tokyo Calling.”

It took a lot of tending and no one but Henry thought it saved any manpower. Still, it was ingenious and way ahead of most broadcast stations. I worked at a station in Sacramento after I retired that was automated with a Harris-90 with just a bank of tape playback units and two production studios. Very simple by comparison.

FEN even had on loan from Sony an early portable tape unit that rode around on a cart much like a current day audio visual cart with a few shelves. Not very portable and weighed a couple of hundred pounds. This never worked properly and wasn’t used in the field that I know about. Our audio equipment was the best you could buy, and programming concentration was totally audio. I think we had a least six Nagra tape recorders. We were just a radio station, (no TV at all), and the network feed, but we were very good. Great talent in house. Unfortunately many of them are now deceased. I am certain we would have made money in any market in the United States.

I was just a buck sergeant and staff sergeant as I left, but had worked radio in Denver, San Diego, and small Iowa stations before arriving there. I wasn’t bad, but others there made me look like an amateur.

From January 1965, here's Burr Hoyle:

FEN FM automation c 1983 (Photo: Jon Yim)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blue Danube Network

Something new in the collecction, a QSL card from BDN.  US Forces left Austria in 1955

Welcome newbies

This page has been around for few years.  I really hope that you enjoy it.  I value your stories and we're all interested.  Did you save any airchecks/pictures/disks/memories?  Please share.  Do you have any requests?  Let me know and I'll see what I can do.  There is a mailing list.  Every week or two I send an email with what's been added to the site.  Right now there are several hundred on that list.  If there's someone you're looking for I may be able to let them know.  I never give out addresses but I would forward an email.

If you enjoy it here, please tell a friend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Pops again

Side two:
Dr Hook and the Medicine Show - Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
Sammy Johns - Early Morning Love
Marion Jarves - Hell Of A Fix
Billy Swan - I Can Help
Lou Rawls - She's Gone
Fancy - Touch Me

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your comments are welcome

Thanks for leaving your comments. Please leave your name. We're all a part of this.

If you're new here, I have a mailing list where I send out updates when things change. Let me know if you'd like to be a part of it. Click here

If you saved material or actively collect, I'd like to be able to make some of it available.  I never sell anything but I'm always open to trades.

If you enjoy it here, please tell a friend.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

AFKN Ken Hissong 1968

Back to Yongsan, 1968 with "Vagabond on the Go".  I was there in 1976.  Every picture looked exactly the same.

AFKN - Ken Hissong - 1968


Thanks for posting.  By way of background.... the Air Force made me a cop after I enlisted in Jan '66. Aftewr humping around the SAC "Looking Glass" aircraft I applied to DINFOS in November '66 (hated Nebraska winters at Offutt AFB) and was accepted.  Went to DINFOS in Apr. '67 and got orders for Korea and AFKN in Dec. '67.  Between DINFOS graduation and transfer, I was neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat to my squadron.  I was still a cop but not a cop, wierd.

After AFKN I was assigned to a PIO office at Vandenberg AFB, CA. and was discharged in May '69 due to the Nixon drawdown.  I went back to the job I had before enlistment at WWJ-AM, FM-TV in Detroit.

Became a writer producer and retired in 1999 after working for all three network afils, plus Fox in Detroit as a news producer (in spite of what Capt. Joe Malloy thought at AFKN).

I could not have bought the experience I gained at AFKN for a million dollars.  Besides being on the air, I operated camera, "starred" in a daily kids TV show we produced and was FM program director for Radio Vagabond. 

To be honest, I envied my buddies who had gone on to college,  but after I got out I was so far up on the employment chain I never looked back.  As for the total experience...  it was the most fun you could have without taking your clothes off.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AFN Nightside - Craig Miller Features 1974

Just received a crate of master reels, mostly of Craig Miller's work at AFN. (Thanks Garry!!!) I'll be posting a lot of these, features, interviews and such. They don't make radio like this anymore.

1. The Eagles Nest
2. Redback Dollar
3. Great Canyon Caper
4. Invasion Of The Ants
5. Alligator Tongue Oil
6. John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert
7. Midnight Ride of Harvey Schudlapp

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

AFN 1954 Stickbuddy Jamboree

"I was with AFN 1954-1956 (Berlin and Frankfurt) and did a variety of shows....Hillbilly Gastehaus, Duffle Bag, etc. About the only tape I have left is a cassette of one show that went full-network. Great times at AFN those years. After discharge in 56, I went back to Texas radio where I had taken that "leave of absence" and worked briefly in Austin before joining KILT in 56.  On air PD till 62.  Then on air PD at WQXI Atlanta till 75. 75-85 owned part of a station in Valdosta, Ga.  Came to Carrollton, Ga. in 85 with WBTR.  Spent my last 10 years with 50,000 watt WKNG Carrollton before retiring in June of this year.  Total of 63 years in the business and with birthday #80 coming,  I figured that was enough.”  Red's a member of The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Wish We Had This

The British Forces have a very active website, with live streaming, that anyone can access.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bob Moke 1983

Thanks Bob for making these and making them available.  It's time for Program 5 of the series that Bob Moke did for the network.

Bob Moke #5 1983

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Swingtime 1945 with Bob Crosby

Bing Crosby's brother Bob was a big supporter of the troops and always made himself available to AFRS.  His Swingtime DJ show presented some great bands, sometimes live sometimes from radio transcriptions and sometimes from commercial 78s.  Bob presents trumpeter Erskine Hawkins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Book By Chris Noel


West Palm Beach, Florida, United States of America ( July 3, 2011 --

Pin-up girl Chris Noel appeared in films with Steve McQueen, Richard Chamberlain, Elvis Presley, and Dennis Hopper. She had torrid affairs with some of Hollywood’s hottest hunks, and even dated Frank Sinatra! Then, as a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio, she turned her daily program, “A Date With Chris,” into a smash hit around the world. Chris had our boys in Vietnam listening to her every day, and dreaming of her as their favorite pin-up girl every night. These are her intimate true confessions, packed with juicy behind-the-scenes gossip and illustrated with rare, beautiful photos!

"Chris Noel helped create '60s pop culture." -- From the introduction by Nancy Sinatra

Reading "Confessions of a Pin-Up Girl" is like opening a beautiful time capsule from the Sixties. From her role as a rotating regular on Gene Roddenberry's "The Lieutenant" to her first film, "Soldier in the Rain," starring Steve McQueen and Jackie Gleason, Chris had a habit of being where groovy things were happening. When Elvis Presley was rocking America, Chris appeared with the King in "Girl Happy." When Richard Chamberlain was the hottest thing on TV as "Dr. Kildare," Chris appeared with him in the film "Joy In The Morning." When beach movies were capturing the teens of America, Chris starred in "Beach Ball" with Edd Kookie Byrnes of "77 Sunset Strip." As the Swingin' Sixties got wilder and wilder, Chris co-starred in a biker gang movie with Dennis Hopper, and appeared partially nude in "For Singles Only." Chris has captured all the craziness of Hollywood the first half of this gossipy photo-biographical memoir, a story told mainly through hundreds of rare, unpublished pictures.

The second half of the book deals with an event that dominated the Sixties: the Vietnam War. Blessed with a voice sweet as home-made sugar, Chris was hired by the Pentagon to do a daily, hour-long radio show that was broadcast to our troops in Vietnam and around the world. Every day, the storm clouds of war were temporarily lifted by a ray of sunshine -- a radio show called "A Date With Chris." But our fighting forces couldn't SEE Chris. What did the sultry-voiced vixen LOOK like? The debate raged until "Stars and Stripes" ran a pin-up of Chris on the beach in a bikini. That picture became THE classic Vietnam pin-up, and it appears (in close-up) on the cover of "Confessions of a Pin-Up Girl." Now our soldiers knew -- the vixen was no vixen at all -- she was a blonde bombshell! An angel who had fallen from heaven down to earth. A stand-in for every guy's girl back home. Our men in Vietnam made Chris their favorite pin-up girl. Chris visited Vietnam during the war -- not once but EIGHT separate times. Once she performed with legendary comedian Bob Hope. And, many years later, Chris opened Vetsville Cease Fire House, a shelter for homeless Vietnam veterans, which has since been expanded to welcome all military veterans.

"Confessions of a Pin-Up Girl" is 180 pages of glorious color, featuring dozens of sexy pin-ups of Chris, most never published before. They're awesome! If you love the Sixties, if you love Hollywood gossip, if you've been touched by the Vietnam War, and (especially) if you love pretty girls -- this is the book you have been waiting for!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bob Moke 1983

Bob Moke 1969 at AFN

Time to return to that great show that Bob Moke did for AFRTS.  We're up to program #4.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

AFN February 1991

Bernhard in Germany sent this along.  I've presented piecces before.  The first Gulf War would end any day.  The broadcast was from AFN SHAPE.

AFN SHAPE 2/14/91 4 hours

He didn't want to miss hearing the end of the war on AFN so he started a reel in the morning.  It's full of surprises.

Friday, May 27, 2011

AFN is off the air ...

May 25, 2011- The American Forces Network Europe (AFNE) is adjusting its radio broadcast signals to help State German officials hosting a huge outdoor multi-concert bash, Hessentag.

German telecommunications officials asked AFN to temporarily turn off the 873 AM transmitter in June because heavy car traffic will be routed by the normally remote AFN radio transmitter on the way to a newly created field parking lot. Workers also need time to set up and take down concert stages, lights and temporary buildings, and they are bringing in cranes to do it. The Hessentag festivities and concerts run June 10-19 in Oberursel, Germany.

"Our German neighbors asked us to temporarily turn off our 873 AM Power

Network transmitter in Central Germany for concerts with Linkin Park, Bryan

Adams, the Scorpions and scores of others," says AFN Europe Commander

Colonel Bill Bigelow, "During that time, we'll broadcast to our American

audience in Wiesbaden on 1143 AM from another location."

While 1143 AM's 1,000-watts of power will reach Americans stationed in

Wiesbaden, the temporary transmitter doesn't have the reach of AFN's

150,000-watt transmitter in Weiskirchen, which reaches American commuters in

Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hanau and Giessen.

AFN Europe will put 873 AM back on the air July 1st.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

AFN Nurnberg 1984

Time for Mike Kimbrell from "The Tower Of Power"

AFN Nuremberg. Studio im Grand Hotel (1950 - 1956). Studio at the Grand Hotel (1950 - 1956).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garry Moore, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney

Thought you might enjoy this.  Garry Moore explains the Radio Code.   It was voluntary, but done away with in the early 1980s.  Times are different.  After that Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney share some great music.

Garry Moore-Crosby and Clooney

Bob Moke 1983

Thanks for the response on the Bob Moke shows.  Heckuva jock.  The series continues with program 3

Monday, April 18, 2011

Martin Block 1954

Martin Block had the first really big DJ show in the 1930s and made a huge career after.  WNEW blanketed the eastern United States, he did several shows for the networks and for AFRTS.  His one on one style served him very well.

It's an interesting story:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Canadian Forces Network

Multinational?  This is a Canadian production aired on the British Armed Forces Station, in Germany..

The British have an interesting Armed Forces broadcasting service

Thursday, April 7, 2011

AFRTS for the family

When I arrived in Korea in 1976, I brought a very small screen TV and in the replacement camp saw my first AFKN, some sort of live puppet show.  In Korea accompanied tours were very hard to get.  Teenagers in Itaewon or Tongduchon...great idea.  On the radio, we ran a lot of soap operas.  Maybe for the General's wife. From 1962.

My True Story was one of the last of the soaps.  A Mutual program cancelled in early 1962

When I was in Panama, General Hospital was a rage even among the infantry.  Takes all kinds..

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Return of Bob Moke

Received a lot of good comments from the last Bob Moke show. Bob said "As I recall, the idea was to contact former AFN jocks who were still employed in radio and ask them to produce five 30-minute programs per week for 13 weeks, at which time a different guy would take over. As I neared the end of my run, I was informed that my "replacement" had backed out at the last minute, so I did another three months"

It was some very interesting radio.


Joe Green has a website where he's getting biographies of MACOI
and AFVN members. It's some pretty amazing reading and a great

A lot of us from that era never went to Vietnam but AFRTS was
organic. Half of the people I worked with had done tours at

Joe said "I was a listener at AFVN Saigon, mostly to FM. I was strictly a lower-
echelon clerk. I was assigned to MACV Mail and Distribution, and lived
in Dodge City BEQ at the MACV annex until it became a BOQ, and then
I lived in a plank and screen barracks. I had collateral duties as relief
Top Secret Control Clerk, and Embassy Courier. For my first few
months in Vietnam, I had an off-duty job (paid by Army Special
Services) as assistant librarian at the MACV Annex Library."

See the names, remember the stories:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bob Moke

In 1983 AFRTS started sending shows of DJs from all over the country.  Neat part was that all of these guys had a prior AFRTS connection.  Bob Moke was an AFN vet that went on to great things in Baltimore and in satellite radio.

Sgt Moke in Frankfurt (Photo: Bob Moke)

Great shows!  Thanks for sharing these Bob. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AFN SHAPE 1975 Ken Rubin

Always wanted to go to Belgium.  After being attached to the infantry twice (they used to do that), SHAPE sounded as far from that world as possible.  Almost pulled it off a couple of times.  I wasn't the only one with that idea aparently...

Here's Ken Rubin with "The Rock Garden". 

Here's what they're doing now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's like poking deep in the library...

It's not perfect, but I can finally transfer 16".  Modified a Technics table.  Works okay for most.  I have a LOT of disks that have been waiting for transfer.

From there, it's to the rest of "the studio"

Bill sent a great tapedeck, which is my next project.  So it's humble, yet functional.  I worked at several civilian stations with worse gear!

I'd wander through the libraries and just find neat things.  While I was transferring some "Personal Albums", I  found this.  In WWII Andy Williams was working regularly and was a featured singer on some radio stations but by no means the national star that he became ten years later.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What was your story?

Party in Phu Bai!

Lately we've been lucky enough to hear more and more of your AFRTS stories.  They're always interesting and the similarities have always interested me.  Doesn't seem to be a huge difference between Germany in the 1950s and Panama 30 years later.  Did you save any pictures?  Did you stay with it?  Do something else?  Was there anything that surprised you?

There are a few ways to stay updated on the new things that show up.  I post updates on facebook right after they go on.  Weekly I email updates to everyone on the mailing list ((just click here)

Finally, if you like this thing tell a friend!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

World Radio News

Hans Knot sent some scans of a British radio magazine of  1968.  Very interesting with some ink about AFN in Germany.  How good was the signal in England.? I had thought it difficult to receive.

Our AFRTS-LA friends were getting some nice press.  Was there more than one issue of the World Radio News?  When I lived near Boston there were radio magazines well into the 70s.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Found: an AFRTS library

While doing renovations at Ft Lewis, 8000 AFRTS library transcriptions were found.  The disks, which seem to run from 1943 to the mid 50s were boxed, in good shape and still had the card catalog.

Here's a couple of reports:

The disks were at Lewis for the hospital radio station KMGH, which ceased to exist long ago.

More information about WMGH

KMGH 1962 schedule

Apparently, AFRTS has called them back in for cataloging and probable destruction per the agreement with AFM.  Your comments?

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 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.