Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jubilee - 1942

Here's the first Jubilee show.  I've never heard one of these that didn't have amazing music.

Rex Ingram is the host.  The program was recorded at a small studio in Hollywood in October 1942 with Duke Ellington, Ethyl Waters and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Ethyl Waters and Duke Ellington with Vicente Minnelli during the filming of Cabin In The Sky.  Thank you Kurt!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jimmy Wakely 1972

Jimmy Wakely was America's cowboy. In the 1930s,40s and 50s he starred in hundreds of movies, hit songs, television and comic books.

Jimmy started recording shows for AFRS during WWII and was doing them well into the 70s,

Jimmy Wakely - 1972

More Jimmy Wakely

Monday, December 29, 2014

Jim Ameche - 1965

Jim Ameche has another hour of the most beautiful music of the best orchestras from around the world.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bob Kingsley - 1978

In 1978 AFRS Iceland vet Bob Kingley took over American Country Countdown from Don Bowman and made a monster show.  This is Bob's first show and it jumps..

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wake Island - 1953

Hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Wake Island was also assaulted.  In 1953 the bodies were re-interred in Hawaii at the National Cemetery at Punchbowl.  Lt Edward Fernandez explains. 

The families were sent a recording of the ceremony.  This is from one of those sets.

Wake Island ceremony - 1953

Bonnie Gilbert has been researching Wake Island civilian contractors and Marines Click Here

Spectrum USA - 1971

Dick Stark was a child actor in silent movies.  He worked in radio from the 1930s-60s.  He was on active duty in the Pacific during WWII and went back on active duty to Vietnam in 1966, later running the NY PAO shop for the Marines until retiring in 1973.

In 1971 LTC Stark was producing a show for Marine reserve recruiting.  It's pretty good.

Negro College Fund - 1961

In the 50s and 60s the United Negro College Fund presented a series of choirs from member universities of the fund.  This time, the choir of St. Augustine's College. The series was run on the ABC radio network, hosted by Metropolitan Opera host Milton Cross.  AFRTS picked up the series and ran it worldwide.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Spread the word

If you like what you see, I'm pretty sure you have a friend that would like this website.  An email, Facebook share, Twitter link they all help.

If you haven't already, you should be on the mailing list.  About once a week get updates of what has been added.

There were a lot of us at the stations, listening in the barracks or people that lived in the host countries.  We shared this then.

Tell a friend,

Other ways to help

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Downbeat 1943

In 1943 the military hadn't totally decided how to do broadcasting but there were a lot of entertainers that would perform for the troops.  Initially boxes of 12" were sent out.  One of the most popular programs was "Sound Off".  Here's bandleader Xavier Cugat.

Charlie Tuna - 1973

Charlie and Andy Kim

Be sure to visit Charlie's website for your daily Tuna fix!!

Here's more from Charlie Tuna

Thursday, December 11, 2014

AFN - Rik Delisle - 1977

Another great memory from Hans Knot, here's Rik Delisle with "Old Gold Retold".  Rik had done AFRTS hitches with Thailand and Portugal. By 1977 it was AFN Berlin.  By 1984 he was at RIAS and made a lot of great radio.

 "I'm Air Force Sergeant Rik de Lisle - reminding you, did Rock'n Roll is just a state of mind".

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Independent Radio Station - 1951


So how did they show the overseas troops what radio can do?  Films like this. A behind the scenes look at WMCA, New York.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Carl Reese Obituary - 2014

Carl Reese was a 1940s AFN talent that went on to be a legend in Cleveland

Carl Reese - obituary

Brian Hartzell: I think I met Carl Reese back in the late-60s.  Living in Cleveland at the time.  I was looking for advice on a broadcast career just prior to heading off to DINFOS.    

Christmas in Vietnam - Bruce Blackburn AFVN 1971

I couldn't find a biography for Bruce, he may have went to KLAW after his hitch.  But it's early morning Christmas 1971, recorded in DaNang and time for the Orient Express.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar

By the 1980s there were a lot of troops that hadn't heard radio dramas or comedies the first time.  Since there were several places that AFRTS didn't have television we aired shows from a pretty amazing library.  Frank Bresee's Golden Age Of Radio was recorded until 1996.

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar was a fun show:

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. September 22, 1957 "The Ideal Vacation Matter". An escaped convict sends Johnny on a mission to protect someone doesn't know that his life's in danger. He's on ideal vacation!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Country Style USA -1961

Pee Wee King

In 1961, we were (largely) between wars but the Army recruiting command was doing it's job.  Country Style USA had new recordings of top country talent.  Sergeant Tom Shaw was our host.  The program went to hundreds of US stations and AFRTS.  Here's a visit with Pee Wee King and Del Woods.

Breakfast Club - 1961

Don McNeil was a Chicago tradition with the "Breakfast Club".  The show went on in 1933 and ran until 1968.  AFRTS ran it most years from WWII until the end.

Don McNeil with comedian Sam Cowling

All around the table, it's 1961...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Roger Carroll - Christmas 1979

That's a long day...

Roger brought the holiday season.  Vicente was in Madrid, recording the station at Torrejon.

Christmas is coming...

Gary Hannes CFN, Panama Canal Zone 1955 Part two

As far as I can remember, we boarded ship on April 29, 1955, heading out from New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, with San Juan, Puerto Rico our first stop where, four days later, we dropped-off most of the troops. After only an hour or so in port, we hustled off to Colon, Panama, arriving exactly seven days after walking up the gangplank. The ship "parked" about a half-mile off the coast and a WWII LST chugged out to meet the small bunch of us disembarking there. It was a dull, rainy arrival and we traveled wet on the train that took us across the isthmus to Fort Amador to await local assignment. On TDY (temporary duty) at Amador, I bunked with a fellow named Jim Anderson who, as it turned out, had been a radio announcer in Springfield, Mass. before coming into the service. On TDY we were both assigned the job of riding in the back of a big truck that visited all the officer's quarters, picking up bed linen destined for the military laundry at Amador. Every chance we got, Jim and I would run into the C&A office and ask if there was anything open. Then, one fine day, the clerk said there were two new openings: one at CFN, the AFRS station located at Fort Clayton, and the other as an English/Spanish translator at Quarry Heights H.Q. We told by the officer in charge at C&A that we'd both like to be assigned to CFN since we were both "veteran" radio announcers. He phoned CFN and (thank God!!!), we were both invited to come and take an audition. 

 I do not fare well with auditions. And so it was with this one. I sat in the big studio across the table from Jim who was tossing around the names of Russian composers, Chinese despots, Italian politicians, and forgotten cities in the Ukraine as though he had intimate dealings with each and every one. During my turn, I stuttered, gurgled, choked, and mispronounced every third word...even the easy ones! By the end of our audition I felt it was A-plus for Jim and D-minus for Gary. I do not recall who gave the audition since CFN was between civilian program directors at the time. Probably it was Major John Morrissey, CFN's OIC at the time plus a couple of old-timers on the staff. At any rate, we were told to return to TDY and we would be advised. Lo and behold, the very next day Jim and I were both advised to "pack up your gear and c'mon over to CFN!!!" 

 Anyone reading this who is not a veteran of CFN/SCN should know that the building the radio station was in was a huge, three-storey affair, with storage and limited car parking on the first floor. The third floor was living space for staff plus a few strays from other military offices near-by. The entire second floor was relegated to the world of radio. Coming into the building at ground level (1st floor) you made a right turn, walked up a flight of stairs. There was a reception area at the top of the stairs, and off to the right and to the rear, the backup team: copy-writers, news gatherers, phone answerers, and heaven-only-knows what else. In the opposite direction, down the hall and off to the right was "Studio A," the big one that was used for live orchestras, radio drama shows and formal interviews, though it was mainly used as a private lounge for the staff. At the end of the hallway, to the left was the technical office under the direction of Robert Botzenmayer, the civilian engineer-in-charge. The door on the right opened into the music and program library, packed-full of 16 inch vinyl discs containing all the music that was allowed to be aired on AFRS stations worldwide as well as hour and half-hour radio shows from the USA with the commercial messages taken out. Once inside the music library, you had access to the CFN on-air studio/control room which was entered by a door at the right rear of the library. So much for the interior physical layout. The building itself was half in the jungle on the back side with the front facing a huge well-kept (not by us) lawn and a ten meter covered sidewalk that led to the front door. This was to be "home" for the next year and a half. 

 This is May, 1955 and CFN, a radio-only operation, had a staff of around twenty-five people who did the work of what 6 or 7 would do in a normal, small-town radio station in the U.S. and this was not even a commercial operation with a sales staff and creative team. Yes, CFN was over-staffed, but that was fine with me. I was assigned to what's known as "morning drive-time" in commercial radio, on the air Monday thru Thursday from 5 to 9 a.m., plus a couple of mavrick programs throughout the week. Please allow me to pause here to pass along information regarding as much as I can remember about our staff during the time I served. 


 MAJOR JOHN MORRISSEY - John was OIC when I arrived. He was 100 percent non-military. Before CFN he had served as liason between talent and producers of some of the Armed Forces transcribed radio shows which were aired on commercial stations all over the U.S. as Public Service programs. He had a rolodex on his desk with the addresses and home phone numbers of virtually every Hollywood star, Broadway actor, and recording artist known to the U.S. public in those days. It was his job, he told us, to contact these people to arrange for them to do their "patriotic duty" by performing on these public service programs. John was either of equal rank or of higher rank to the Ft. Clayton commander since he had laiddown the law that his CFN guys did not march, pull K.P. duty, go target practicing, or even do lawn work in front of our own building. We were all provided class A passes and pretty much packed our uniforms away in the "dry closet." Since we were a mixed bag of army, navy and air force members, nobody had any idea as to who would inspect our "barracks" even if Major Morrissey consented to an inspection. John would invite a number of us to his Ft. Clayton house for barbecue and beer and to be with his family. He had, as I recall, two young children and an attractive wife. John was reassigned to Paris while I was still at CFN, and the word was that he died suddenly not long after. 

 JIM PATTISON - Civilian program director who arrived soon after I did. I believe he had been a friend of Major Morrissey in civilian life. Jim had spent a number of years in commercial radio in the U.S. He was a gentle guiding spirit for all of us and you will no doubt hear an awful lot more about him and his adventures (and mis-adventures) as leader of the CFN/SCN pack for a number of years long after my tour. 

 BOB BOTZENMAYER - Civilian engineer-in-charge of CFN. Bob came on board a few years before my arrival and stayed on, I'm told, until the early 1970's. He passed on in 2005. A couple of years after I mustered out and was working in Michigan City, Indiana, Bob came by my house to visit. He was in the area to bone-up on TV technical matters at the Dage Electronics plant in Michigan City. All the starting TV equipment at CFN-TV was from Dage. 

 JOE (don't have a last name) - He was, for most of my time at CFN, Mr. Botzenmayer's assistant. He was an air force sergeant, very quiet, and spent most of his time alone, residing in one of those private cubbyholes in the upstairs dormitory. The day he left CFN he confessed to some of us that he had been the CID "plant" at CFN. 

 AL LOHMAN, JR. - Al was at CFN when Jim and I arrived, doing his mid-morning air shift. He was a master on the air, smoooth as could be as he had had prior experience in radio before his CFN tenure. Al lived with a divorcee off-base so we didn't get to socialize too much, though a group of us, including Al, would occasionally hang-out at the Atlas night club. During these times, Al would be invited on stage to sing (which he did well), play the piano (also well) and/or do a comedy routine (ditto). He was a real showman. When he mustered out (before TV arrived), Al went on to big-time radio in Denver, Omaha, New York (WABC), and ultimately teamed-up with Roger Barkley in Los Angeles where the team of Lohman and Barkley entertained morning drive-time audiences for many years on KMPC radio. Al passed on in 2002. 

 A.J. CAROTHERS - A.J. came on board around the same time that I did. I don't really remember what his job was. It may have been an afternoon air shift. A.J. was from Houston so he had a pretty strong Texas accent, but apparently had taken elocution lessons from an English native. The result was a British/Texas accent: highly unusual. A.J. came from a wealthy family and remained somewhat aloof at CFN, not mixing with a lot of the rest of us. When TV came, A.J. excelled as an actor/director on "The Studio" and with readings from literature. He left CFN a few weeks before I did. I swung by to visit A.J. when I left service and stayed at his home for a few days. A.J. later hooked-up with Walt Disney and wrote several successful screen plays that Disney produced ("How to Succeed in Business Without Trying" with Michael J. Fox. "The Miracle of the White Stallions," "The Happiest Millionaire" a musical starring Fred MacMurray and several others including a TV series, ""Nanny and the Professor") Wikipedia says that A.J. wrote over 100 movies, TV shows and plays. A.J. once said he considered Walt his father-figure and Walt apparently thought of A.J. as a son. He passed on April 9, 2007. 

 CHANNING GRIGBSY - Channing came aboard in January, 1956 before the arrival of TV, and got involved in radio news reporting. He had married a Panamanian girl in 1955 while working on commercial radio station HOG in Panama City and resided off-base. Channing eventually became a heavy-weight TV person, taking-over the hour-long "Panorama" news block from 6 to 7 P.M. He left the service in August, 1957 to finish college at Penn State. Happily, Channing is alive and well at this writing (mid-2011). He teaches at Yuba College in Clear Lake, California 

 JIM ANDERSON - Jim and I arrived at CFN on the back of the same truck which delivered us and our gear to building 209 (though we never referred to it as that). Jim had prior radio experience in his native Massachusetts and was really keen on sports. He did most of the sports news reporting on radio, plus carried a late morning shift (methinks he took Al Lohman's shift when he left). We were both bachelors with more ambition than brains, so we took-on a number of extra-curricular radio chores. Together we produced holiday specials, did a carbon copy of "Your Hit Parade," and the "Uncle Jim and Tinker" kid's show on Saturday mornings. Tinker was a character that was born out of the production studio's Ampex reel-to-reel (or was it Magnacord??), recorded at 3-3/4 and played back at 7-1/2 ips. I was "Uncle Gary" on the show. Jim also (happily) is alive and well, retired in Maine and tending to family matters: wife Carol, son, daughters, grandkids and, above all: church matters. We communicate often. Almost all of the pictures that accompany this history are from Jim's collection. 

 TIMOTHY COOMBS - Tim, if I recall correctly, was assigned to CFN because of connections his stepfather had with the political world. His stepfather, I was told, was one of Guy Lombardo's famous twin piano players. Tim had no experience in radio, but Al Lohman took Tim under his wing and got him doing some on-air work. All other memories of Tim have evaporated into thin air. 

 JACK BOGGS - Another transferee from HOG. He came on board in September, 1955 after he was visited at HOG by Al Lohman and Jim Anderson. He remained with us for only about a year since he had already put in a lot of military time elsewhere. We made contact with each other in 1996 when I was hosting a big band dance in Kansas City and he was living in nearby Stover, Missouri. We made some taped interviews around that time, some of which I will pass on later. 

 GERRY STURGES - Formerly a staff writer for a newspaper in the San Francisco area, Gerry ended up at CFN as a sports guru and "creative writer" which meant he wrote notes of social events to be aired by the on-air grunts. Gerry was a real "head," a master of the English language, and very articulate. When TV came along, Gerry did on-camera readings and held down the sports anchor job, doing a duo with Channing Grigsby on "Panorama." Gerry and I got along really well and we corresponded off and on long after CFN. He and his wife came to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1969 and paid me a very brief visit. At that time or shortly thereafter, Gerry became aide to Wisconsin Representative David Obey who served over four decades in the U.S. House of Representatives. I hear that Gerry served the congressman for a number of years. 

 "BLUEGRASS" ERVIN - Well, he had a REAL name but I don't recall what it was. He was a career man, an army sergeant whose function at CFN was a bit nebulous. He was kind of the in-house country-western expert. He had a musical group that performed regularly, live, from studio A. He sang and played one of them there stringed instruments. Sgt. Ervin lived off-post with his wife. More later!! 

 TOM MOORE - Tom was an air force guy whose function at CFN was and still is, unclear. He lived off-post with his wife and kids, but since he had his own automobile, was very much in demand by the staff. Tom got a hardship discharge because of a terminally-ill relative back in the Memphis area whom he was obligated to care for. I visited Tom in Forrest City, Arkansas a couple of days after my discharge, bearing a bottle of Drambouie, our favorite recreational drink in Panama. At that time he was on the staff of the local TV station. 

 RON HARPER - Ron pretty much arrived with the TV start-up. He was billed as an "actor," and pretty much took-over "The Studio," a weekly live drama show. By the time Ron arrived, I was a short-timer, so don't have much of a handle on his doings. I do know I saw him as a featured player on the network TV series, "87th Precinct" in 1961-2. From his bio, I now see that Mr. Harper went on to bigger and better things in the motion picture and TV world. He served in the U.S. Navy, tho' who ever saw him in uniform? 

 RICHARD LEARMAN - Another TV guy. Learman told me he had appeared in many Shakespearean productions on and off Broadway before coming into service. He prided himself as a "method" actor. One day when I went into our upstairs bathroom, here was Richard, shaving with his right foot elevated to sink level and growling and cursing to himself. He told me later that he chose a different personality each day and attempted to imagine living that person's life for a full day. That particular day, he said, he was playing a rough and tough truck driver. I understand he became a professional actor in Canada after CFN. Channing Grigsby says he made contact with Richard after the service. He was in Los Angeles at the time. 

 JACK ESSEX - Jack was another HOG graduate. He came in as I was going out so I really can't say much about him though I do have a memory of Jack doing some stuff on-camera. He married a local girl and lived off-post. His bio says he passed-on in 2002. 

 RICHARD HEHMEYER - Dick was our late-night jazz host on radio. I believe he had previous radio experience and was very knowledgeable about his subject. Dick lived in the baracks for awhile but later met and married the daughter of an army officer and moved off-post. He left CFN before TV arrived. Jim Anderson and I visited Dick a few years later at his office in NYC where he was an advertising executive. 

 GIANCARLO LUI - He came as part of the TV package. He was an air force enlistee who had roots in Italy. He claimed to have had experience in directing TV productions. Even if he didn't know much, he knew more than any of the existing staff (including Jim Pattison), so he had his hands full in the TV control room. That's all I know about Mr. Lui (accent on the "i", please). 

 JIM GIAMPAOLI - I believe he was the first (and only?) artist for the TV facility. I do know he worked in the room at the top of the stairs on the second floor and was busy most of the time. He was in great demand for almost every show that went on the air and was darn good at his trade. I have also seen Jim's name as "Gianinni" which is possibly the way most of the non-Italian staff pronounced his name! 

 SGT. CURRAN - I may be dreaming this, but my memory bank has an awareness of a man by this name who very well may have been the equivalent of a Chief Announcer or military program director. I also seem to recall that he was also tucked-away in one of those two private quarters on the top floor. So, sue me if I'm wrong! 

 ALBERT McCLEARY - I think he was a bird colonel on TDY to CFN for a couple of weeks in the summer of 1956. Col. McCleary has the distinction of having produced color TV's first dramatic shows on NBC-TV. He was a reserve officer assigned to CFN-TV to conduct classes for those who wanted to learn more about this new medium that had invaded our space. I balked and did not attend any of his classes (held in the big studio) since I had resolved long before that I was RADIO and would never, ever be involved with TV. Mr. McCleary returned to Hollywood from TDY at CFN to produce "Matinee Theater," probably the most ambitious undertaking in early TV: a live one-hour dramatic show every weekday in color on national TV. Others, mainly involved with CFN-TV and about whom I have only a vague memory include: 
 Ted Isaacman 
 Jim Duex 
 Gary Rodgers 
 Tom Sherman 
 Charles Kinosz 
 Bruce Glenn 
 Lt. John H. Zachary 

 Well, there is the cast of characters as I remember them from the CFN days of early 1955 to late 1956. Now, let's see how they fit into: THE REST OF THE STORY!!!! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sugar Report - 1946

Joan Edwards has a full plate of the Sugar Report.  The program touched on the news from the entertainment world and played clips from current shows.  We only have part one.  Each of these shows are unique.  They were one of a kind disks for one time airings on the AFRS shortwave station.  The closest I can come to dating this is Wayne King started up his post-war band in 1946.

Friday, November 28, 2014

AFN SHAPE Bob Switcher 1977

It's a summery night in Soesterberg, 1977 and Bob Switcher has Music Off The Record..
Thanks Hans Knot!!

AFN SHAPE - Bob Switcher 1977

Hans says that this is really Bill Swisher.  This sounds like the makings of a good story...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chris Noel - 1967

The run wasn't that long but "A Date With Chris" was a very important thing to a lot of Vietnam era troops.  It's easy to hear why.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Could This Be You? - 1961

Staring in the 1950s, KVI Seattle was producing an interesting show "Could This Be You?" ran on the Golden West stations and later on Mutual.

The program was live recordings of people being pulled  and is a precursor to Highway Patrol and Cops.

It's a pretty amazing job of educational radio, making it perfect for AFRTS.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

American Country Countdown - 1977

Before Bob Kingsley took over ACC it was hosted by Don Bowman on this special, Johnny Cash is the guest host on this 1977 visit.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jon Rivers - Countdown Magazine 1990

Jon Rivers was a Marine in Vietnam that came back and worked for a ton of great stations.  His radio ministry was heard everywhere on  “POWERLINE” , “COUNTRY CROSSROADS, “MASTER CONTROL”, “THE BAPTIST HOUR”, “GOSPEL AMERICA”  and “TWENTY THE COUNTDOWN MAGAZINE”.

Jubilee - 1943

I certainly wish I had both parts of this.  In 1943, Art Tatum, Billie Holiday, Red Allen and an All-Star cast were part of Jubilee.

Los Angeles 10/April/1943  Henry Allen Sextet
Henry ‘Red’ Allen(t), J.C. Higginbotham (tb), Don Stovall (as), Alfred Williams(p), Benny Moten (b), Alvin Burroughs (d), Billie Holiday (v)
NBC Studios in Hollywood, and dubbed March 22. The broadcast took place on April 9 or 10, as they were normally transmitted on a Friday night.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gary Hannes CFN, Panama Canal Zone 1955

A few years ago Gary Hannes shared his memories of the Caribbean Forces Network (CFN, later SCN).  Originally these were put up on a website with a company that went out of business..

CFN Ft Clayton 1955 (Photo: JWA Archives)

It was inevitable, I suppose, that radio broadcasting would be a major factor in my life. I was born in 1933, practically in the shadow of the antenna of one of America's first radio stations, WGY, Schenectady, New York. For the record, KDKA, Pittsburgh, was the first on the air in 1920, with WGY following less than two years later as the 12th station officially broadcasting in the USA. I grew up, then, with those wonderful after-school thrillers: Tom Mix, Jack Armstrong (All-American boy!!), Sky King, Don Winslow of the Navy, Little Orphan Annie, and many others. We had a Philco console model radio that physicallydominated the living room and audibly took control of our entire two story house in Tribes Hill, N.Y., a suburb of Amsterdam which was a bedroom community of Schenectady. I loved that radio with it's back-lighted faded yellow dial which showed only about 200 kilocycles at a time. There were two wooden knobs: volume and tuning. Hidden behind a faded brown grill cloth was a 12 inch speaker that furnished enough sound to reach even the third floor attic. On evenings and weekends my mom, dad, little sister and baby brother would park comfortably on couches and easy chairs near enough the radio to enjoy Amos 'n Andy, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, Fred Allen, The Molle Mystery Theater, Friday night boxing, and scores of other delights. The ear candy was absolute heaven. We each lived with our own mental images of those radio characters. When TV arrived, most of us were shocked to see what many of our beloved radio stars really looked like! On that radio we heard the Pearl Harbor attack, all the bulletins of World War Two battles (and even kept a wall map with little flags showing allied gains and losses), the live report of FDR's death, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, and the surrender of both Germany and Japan.
My very first radio broadcasting experience was in that environment. I announced thru a six foot flexible vacuum cleaner tube, with my source of music a wind-up Victrola with steel needle. I recall my favorite shellac record at that time was an RCA Victor recording of "Der Fuhrer's Face" by Spike Jones and his City Slickers. My sister and brother were my captive audience, taking turns holding the end of the tube to their ears (one at a time!!!).
We moved from Tribes Hill to Amsterdam in 1947, the same year that WCSS came on the air in that city. By that time we had graduated from the old Philco radio to a Magnavox console model with a 78rpm record changer built-in. And, once again, as the only radio in a large house, its 12 inch speaker blared out from the living room all day long with WCSS (an independent station - no network affiliation) as the major source of entertainment. I was in Junior High School by this time and cocky enough to think I could do what those guys on WCSS did. Around this time I saw advertised in a Burnstein-Appleby mail order catalog a device known as a "phono oscillator" ("Hey kids, plug your record player into this and it will broadcast your music to any radio in the house!") "Heck," I thought, "if it will broadcast music to any radio, it should broadcast voice as well." Bottom line: a new radio station in Amsterdam, New York...on the air weekdays after school and all day Saturday and most of Sunday with a coverage of nearly a five mile radius (thanks to 100 feet of heavy copper wire as an antenna!). The FCC rattled its sabers around the time I entered Senior High School in 1949. The H.S. had a radio class that had connections to WCSS and every Friday the class would put on a 30 minute live drama right from the radio station studios.
One day in 1950 our radio teacher told us that WCSS was looking for a part-time announcer and would be conducting auditions the following week. I auditioned with 16 other hopefuls and ended up with the "job." Part time was 6 p.m. to midnight weekdays, a 12 hour shift on Saturday, and the entire broadcast day on Sunday (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). It ended up being more hours than the regular announcers worked, at one buck an hour....but with my love of radio, I would have welcomed even more time on the air! In those days we were not known as "D.J.'s". We were "radio announcers" who did anything that required a voice: introducing a name, we did it!
In the fall of 1951 I went to Valparaiso Technical Institute in Valparaiso, Indiana, one of the country's top electronic trade schools. In those days, having a First Phone FCC license was desirable if an announcer wanted to earn more than four or five hundred dollars a month. He could double as a bonafide engineer at any small or medium market station. It was that license I was hoping to get by attending VTI. While at VTI, several of us with previous commercial broadcast experience persuaded the school to put its own closed-circuit station on the air, so WVTI was born. Plus, to earn food money, I worked part-time (nights and weekends) as announcer on WIMS in Michigan City, some 25 miles from Valpo.
On graduation from VTI in the spring of 1953 I worked as a technician on two secret air force projects at the General Electric plant in Utica, N.Y. while moonlighting as booth announcer on WKTV-TV. I came as close as I'd ever come to being fired in this profession. Reason? It was customary to crowd two announcers into the 3 by 5 foot announce booth if there were two announceable events on any given break. We had a standard I.D. plus a 10 second "Jack's Tasty Snacks" spot to crowd into a 15 second cutaway, so Dick Brown (with whom I had worked several years previously on WCSS) and I jammed into the booth. There was only one chair so I took it as the spot reader and Dick inverted a metal wastebasket to sit on. On cue, Dick did his station I.D., then I launched into my spot, which contained lots of delightful alliterations and which was more like a 30 second spot to be squeezed into 15 seconds. Just as I started racing thru this minor nightmare, Dick passed an enormous amount of gas into the metal wastebasket which, in turn, threw me into absolute hysterics. Within mere seconds came management's warning via a phone call. I got back at Dick, though. That night after he left, I made a 180 degree turn of the circular blade of the saw he used daily on a live infomercial. Boy, did he have trouble next day trying to saw thru a plank with "this amazing power tool!!!" At the end of 1953 my family moved to Mexico City so my dad could take up a job as plant manager for the Mexican branch of Mohawk Carpets, the company he had been associated with for thirty some years. I went to Mexico City College and struggled to learn Spanish until the fall of 1954. The Korean conflict was winding down by this time, but the draft was still in effect. Being out of the country I was classified somewhere around 4-C, or in layman's terms: "unavailable." However, at this time my girlfriend of some five years suddenly decided she was going to marry a Turkish chef at the restaurant where she was waitressing at Jones Beach on Long Island. When I heard this, I became so emotionally irrational that I decided to call my old draft board back in the USA and volunteer for the draft.
By mid-November, 1954, I was doing my basic training at Fort Bliss. To me, those were the funniest eight weeks of my life. Since I was about four years older than the majority of the recruits, I didn't buck the system....just followed orders and observed the rather humorous foibles of the rest of the troops.
Since the military was now pretty much out of Korea with no other conflicts looming on the horizon, there seemed to exist a lack of direction from the Pentagon as to what all these new draftees were going to be doing. So, my second eight weeks found me in what was known as an M-33 radar van, an already obsolete device employed by the artillery to automatically "lock-on" to an enemy airplane, via radar, and shoot that bugger out of the sky. Somewhere near the end of those eight delightful weeks, it was announced during an informal assignment meeting that "Hannes would be going to Detroit to attend newspaper correspondent's classes." O.K. by me. BUT, a few days later I was told to see a certain officer at C and A (classification and assignment) at Bliss. When I got there I was told the correspondent's schooling was canceled and that I would go to wherever the powers-that-be assigned me. Fortunately, a few minutes later I was fated to meet one of those "powers." I tend to be "the friendly sort" and so while tooling down the hall from my meeting, I ran into a fellow who turned out to be a native of Michigan City, Indiana. Not only that, but he had heard me on WIMS back in my part-time days there. I asked him what his job was in the military, and he told me he assigned second eight week "graduates" to foreign assignments. I asked how he did that and he told me, "If Alaska Command wants 30 troopers, I take the first 30 names on the list and assign them to Alaska, and so on down the list. Aptitude and skills have no part in most of my assignments." "Aha," thought I. Then, out loud I asked: "What would happen if I really wanted to be assigned to Hawaii? Could you assign me there?" "Sure," said my new-found friend, "but Hawaii these days is chicken doo-doo since the command is gung-ho on training."
"Then where," I asked, "would a better place be?" " far, the best duty is in the Panama Canal Zone. Most everybody is doing half-days in almost any military job right now, but....looking over your record, I see nobody with your MOS is needed there." "I speak Spanish," I said, "so maybe they can find something for me to do." "Well, I see that out of the 120 in your group, 110 are to be assigned to Thule, Greenland. The other ten will be going to Puerto Rico and the Canal Zone, five to each place. Would you like either of those?" "Hell,'s about the CZ??" "Done," he said, even though I somehow didn't believe him.
Came the day of assignment and I recall very vividly standing at ease outside our barracks at Bliss as the sergeant called off names and assignments. By the time he got to my name I was shaking and sweating, since, so far everybody called was going to that hunk of ice up north. When the sarge said "Hannes, Panama," I nearly passed out!
By now it was mid-February, 1955, and then came a slow train trip to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, only to find out the MATS ship to the Caribbean had left the day before our arrival. It would be thirty more days of waiting. But, what better place to wait than just across the river from NYC!!! The USO was still very active, and buses were free, so about every other day a bunch of us would head to the Big Apple for fun and games. I went to Birdland for a wonderful jazz fix, to a hidden den in the worst part of Brooklyn to see and hear Jack Teagarden sound-off with his ensemble, Louis Prima at at highway club in Jersey, plus a bevy of now-forgotten places in many corners of my favorite town. I also had the opportunity, for the first time in my life, to meet and hang out with my uncle, Art Hannes, who was the announcer on the Ed Sullivan Show. By the time he left, Art had been the first and longest-lasting (16 years) announcer for Sullivan. Oh boy, do I have some stories from him about his experiences!!!
Well, finally the time came to ship out to the Caribbean.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Join us on facebook

The facebook page is great way to stay updated and share your memories and requests.  click here and be sure to "like" the page.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Charlie Tuna - 1988

Ask must anyone about Armed Forces Radio in 70s, 80s and 90s and they'll remember different things, but always Charlie Tuna.

Charlie woke the world for a quarter century. Who else can make THAT claim?

Charlie Tuna - 1988

Visit Charlie's website at

Thanks John!

Longtime friend of the blog John just made a contribution. A bunch of really great early 60s shows will be finding a new home. I'd like to say thank you!  When you click the "Donate Via PayPal" button it does two things, it allows us to get better things.  Many times thing come up and I'm just a few dollars short of being able to make it happen. It says that this is important to you.  You never have to but I'm very grateful if you choose to do it.  Thank you for visiting!

We Who Fight

This was a great show from WWII with the troops telling their stories.  I've located a few partial shows, recently transferred.  Take a listen:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chris Noel 1968

Chris Noel was very important to Vietnam era troops.  Her show A Date With Chris was the girl next door to thousands.  Today Chris still serves with her shelter for homeless veterans.  She needs you help, please click here.

But here's how it sounded in 1968

Army Hour - 1970

The Army Hour had a long run.  PAO shops all over the country getting the message out.  Aired on hundreds of stations in the US, most of the time it was also aired on AFRTS.

Top Pops

Between 1962 and 1975 the weeks new hits would ship on special albums, the "TPs" would have this weeks 45s in a handy place.  These 650 albums were a wonderful, easy to find oldies library.  After 1975 they made similar disks but they'd be filed at random in the regular library.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hymns From Home - 1945

Every Sunday morning, time for chapel.  AFRTS had a long history of working with the chaplains to minister worldwide.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jill's All Time Jukebox 1944

Martha Wilkerson did the GI Jive show.  Starting near the end of the war was the "All-Time Jukebox", memories with GI Jill.  Here's a 1944 visit

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Invitation to Learning - 1950

"The Voice Of Information and Education", over the years the network took that very seriously.  Part of that was being done by stateside radio and part of it was an obligation to the troops.  In 1950 "Invitation To Learning" had a panel discussion about the writer Cicero.  I wonder if such things will ever find a mass audience again.  The program continued well into the 1960s

Walt "Baby" Love - the Countdown - 1990

Walt "Baby" Love has spent almost four decades in radio.  In 1990 he was doing "The Countdown", which ran every weekend.

While still making great radio, Walt practices his ministry, visit his website:

AFVN PSAs 1970-71

Duke Miller at AFVN

We pause for Command Information.  These are from 1970-71.  Primary voices are Doug Jennings, Phil Davies and Bob Kohtz

FEN - Frank Knauer 1980

Chip Barris recorded this on Kedena AB. Frank Knauer was running the AFKN Taegu station 1977.  This is the second hour of an East Of Midnight that was posted a few years ago.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chris Noel - 1969

Chris Noel has your Date With Chris.  It's 1969, a Thursday show and the weekend starts a lot nicer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bolero Time - 1973

Victor was Vance Graham.  Vance had entered Los Angeles radio in the 1930s and found his greatest success as a spanish DJ.  Bolero Time was heard on multiple stations and recorded for AFRTS well into the 1970s.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Robert Q Lewis - 1958

By the late 1950s network radio was pretty much done.  Robert Q. Lewis was still doing great radio from New York on CBS    Take a listen.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Charlie Tuna - 1976

Thank you Hans Knot for a new Charlie Tuna!

KCBQs Charlie Tuna and the winners

Charlie was the wakeup voice to the world for a quarter century.  Taught a lot of us how to do it better.  On todays show a visit with Lily Tomlin...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

FORSCOM Update - Dan Rook - 1976

The services did their own shows, run Sunday mornings nationwide.  The Army's Forces Command had "Update".  Army Sergeant Dan Rook with memories of 1976.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chris Noel - 1967

Kinda hard to do a show when the only thing you really know is what day it is.  The ETs could be aired at noon or midnight.  Could be a hurricane or a drought.  These guys did great.  It's a Monday in 1967 and Chris Noel is the Voice of Home...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michael Brown AFRS Adak Alaska 1971

Thanks again to Michael Brown for sharing his AFRS memories.  Today it's almost three hours of the request show.

We went to different high schools together...

Chad Johnson on the board in Adak

Friday, October 17, 2014

Melody Roundup - 1944

Lum and Abner were a good fit for the Melody Roundup.  Today they bring a piece of the Jot em Down Store to the troops with Texas Jim Lewis.