Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Listener remembers - AFN 1970-73

Paul Zimmerman shared his memories

First, thanks for all of the work you put in creating and maintaining this site. I was stationed at Bitburg AB, Germany (36th Supply Squadron) from Feb 1970 - July 1973. AFN Europe was an important link to home for me, particularly the live baseball and football games. There were a lot of late Sunday nights spent by the radio. When I’m listening to an AFN Europe clip now and the announcer says “This is The American Forces Network, Europe” and they play the little Yankee Doodle jingle, it brings back a lot of great memories. 

We always had the radio on at work. My first year (1970), I think the AFN Frankfurt weekday lineup included Karl Haas, Ira Cook and Roger Carroll (what an interesting man) in the morning and then The Young Sound (one of my favorites), Herman Griffith and an hour of C and W in the afternoon. I also remember the Stateside Sound Survey in the evenings and of course, Weekend World. I arrived at Rhein-Main on Sunday afternoon, February 1, 1970 and am pretty sure that Weekend World was on when we arrived at our barracks for the night. Shows like Latino con Victor, Tom Campbell and the Wolfman came later. 

A year later, I went home to get married and brought my wife back with me to Bitburg. We lived on the economy and it was a great experience. You couldn’t make up some of the stuff that happened and we still laugh at our adventures. AFN Europe Television was on our apartment TV most evenings but we also remember watching the German stations that had most of the commercials at the beginning of the evening. It was also funny watching characters like Hoss Cartwright speaking German. Live sporting events like the Super Bowl and New Years Day Bowls were a treat.

I do have a question about an AFRTS-produced program. During my last year at Bitburg (June 1972 - July 1973), I worked the graveyard shift. Graveyard was great since I was pretty much my own boss and could bring my wife to the office for a few hours (and, I taught her part of my job). My question concerns an overnight show called “San Francisco Scene" that was usually on either at midnight or 1:00 AM on AFN Frankfurt. When I was TDY at Zaragoza, Spain in April/May 1973, I think this show was on from 11:00 PM - midnight. It was a rock show but what I remember was the closing music at the end of each show. That was one of the spookiest pieces of music i’ve ever heard and I’d appreciate knowing both the artist and title of that closing music if they are available.

Other than marrying my wife, enlisting in the Air Force was the smartest decision I’ve made. Had I waited another 9 months for the first Draft Lottery, my birthday (June 8) came up dead last (366). My mother and future wife would have been drafted before me, But, I (and my wife) would have missed out on so much. I was very lucky to be stationed in Germany and have the opportunities to travel, take college classes, save a few bucks and mature. AFN Europe and AFRTS were there for us and very much appreciated.  

Thanks again!

Paul Zimmerman

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