Friday, February 25, 2011

AFRS England

Part of the network history was the Stations we had in England in 1943, US forces were building up before going to Berlin. I had heard that the stations were all shut down in 1945.

Gary Trammell was at RAF Bentwaters 20 years later. What was that all about?


"Bentwaters had the only AFRS station in England. When asked why we didn't have a TV station there, I would respond that "we spoke the same language as the English". Of course this would always bring some negative remarks from our English Station Manager, Alan Martindale! We were a closed-circuit operation and only broadcast to the barracks and buildings on base. Unfortunately, Bentwaters has been closed as an American facility but is still used by the Brits.

There was a full-time staff of five: The Station Manager, who was also our engineer, our NCOIC and three broadcasters; also, three part-timers who would come in on the weekends. We just broadcast to the buildings and dependent housing on both the twin bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge. There were two studios, a control room between them and a full record library. We did live and taped shows and received recorded programs from AFRTS on McCadden Place in Los Angeles either every week or every other week (I don't remember). Each studio had three turntables and an Ampex reel-to-reel tape recorder. The second studio had a conference table for, uh...conferences. We had a newswire where we could change frequencies to different news services as required but in the mornings I would pick up the news from the base's comm center. We also did remotes from around the bases, in Ipswich and the surrounding towns and the NCO and Officers' Clubs when the opportunities arose using portable equipment and permanently installed equipment in the clubs. Nothing big as you can see. It was a small operation but we enjoyed it."

There was a USAF presence at Bentwaters 1951-94.

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