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.

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