Monday, February 29, 2016

RIP Charlie Tuna

Whenever I can, I try to locate the AFRTS-LA jocks that made the worldwide network happen.  Every one of them has been positive toward this project.  A half dozen years ago I was listening to one of Charlie's shows and his very young son Bryan did the intro on a record.  I stripped that out and introduced myself to Charlie and we exchanged some very nice email.  He still had some bad feelings about the way they were all let go, but since we're the jocks and the listeners, he was excited about those years and reaching out worldwide.  When the 70th anniversary of the network came up, he was there for us.

Charlie meant a lot to us.  It took me a few days to find words. 
Thank you audio files, I will stay Tuna'd.

Los Angeles, Calif., February 29, 2016 –It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that American disc jockey and radio personality, Charlie Tuna, passed away peacefully in his sleep February 19th, 2016. His was a life well-lived, and he will always be remembered for the joy, laughter, and love of music he brought to many throughout the world with his presence on the radio.  All who knew him will sadly miss him. Memorial donations can be made to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We ask that you respect his family's privacy during their time of grief.
Charlie Tuna worked as morning drive radio personality for more stations and formats than anyone in Los Angeles radio history: Top 40, AC, Hot AC, Oldies, Talk, Sports Talk and Country.
In 1990, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Charlie by presenting him with a Star on the Walk of Fame.
In 1999, he was inducted into his home state Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
In1997, Los Angeles Radio People readers voted Charlie one of the Top 10 L.A. Radio Personalities of All Time.
In 2007 & again in 2013, Charlie was elected by his broadcast peers as one of the Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities.
Among his L.A. Radio credits:
·   Was part of the legendary KHJ Boss Jock line-up; starting KROQ radio; starting KIIS and serving as both Program Director and Morning Man for KIIS AM & FM.
·   Tuna was heard around the world daily on the Armed Forces Radio Network for a 25 year 6000 show run from 1971 to 1996, as well as on numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, since the early 1970s.
·   He can be heard across the U.S., Canada and internationally on his syndicated 5 hour daily and weekend shows, plus a daily Hollywood Minute entertainment feature.
·   Tuna was the announcer for the television game show Scrabble which ran for seven years on NBC, and a dozen other TV shows ranging from the Mike Douglas Show to America’s Top 10 with Casey Kasem. He hosted Cinema, Cinema, Cinema for 30 years, an internationally syndicated TV show featuring the top movies in the US each week, with clips from the films. He also hosted the international TV show Inside Hollywood for three years. 
·   Appearances in two movies, hundreds of TV and radio commercials, VH1’s use of Charlie’s Celebrity Interview Archives, dozens of radio station voice imaging clients, narration of the U.S. Air Force’s 50th Anniversary CD, and serving as a musical network TV consultant round out the media side of Charlie Tuna.
·   Charlie also raised nearly 2.5 million dollars for Children’ s Hospital in L.A. with his annual “Tunathon” in past years, hosted the red carpet and emceed the Revlon Run/Walk for 5 years, and emceed the annual 4th of July Warner Park in Woodland Hills celebration which attracts annual crowds of over 50,000 spectators.
·   Charlie called Tarzana home in California and served as the city’s Honorary Mayor since 1977.
For media inquiries, please contact
Charlie Tuna Retrospective Footage
Charlie’s inspiration for radio, Jack Lewis:
Charlie’s journey from Kearney, NE to Los Angeles, CA:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Charlie Tuna - 1980

Charlie with Steve Allen in 1999

I hope that you've visited Charlie's website, lot's of pictures, stories, newsbits.

It's time well-spent.  Right now it's a 1980 visit with Charlie.

Wolfman Jack - 1977

This is nice, Wolfman recorded off of AFN in Germany in 1977, at the end Wolfman is on voice tracks talking about USAEUR.  Did all of the AFRTS-LA team record these?  Howl!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Andy Mansfield - 1964

Andy Mansfield continues his tribute to MAJ Glenn Miller.  If you didn't already know, Glenn was at the top of his game with one of the hottest dance bands in the country, and was way to old to go in the military.  He did.

Roland Bynum - 1982

Roland Bynum invites us to the Creators Workshop for memories of 1982

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Walt Pinto - AFRS Alaska 1961

The only thing I have is a picture, since I did mostly TV.  (And there was no videotape in 1961 and 62.

Greely had the Arctic Test Board and the Cold Weather and Mountain School.  I think I mentioned that we broadcast on Channel 8 with 200 watts.  That got us into Delta Junction about 10 miles away.  The only other TV the town had was one translator from a Fairbanks TV station.

But I worked in radio for two years before the Army.  I enlisted for the 3 years because I was about 6 months from being drafted.  As you know the 3 year enlistment guarantees the school and no reserves after separation.  Went to the Defense Information  school at Ft. Slocum in NY.  Spent a year at Bragg in Psywar, doing details.  Then the year and a half in AK.  Discharged 45 days early in Nov. 62.  Went back to radio and am still in it today.

When I got there in May of '61, the TV station was halfway between the New post and the Old post.  The staff...all 3 of us lived at the station, which was great.  We had a kitchen and private rooms.  Then about 6 months later, they moved the radio station into the building and built several more rooms for those people.

We were the first station to get the weekly shipment of films from LA.  After we used them, they were sent on, eventually reaching the middle east about nine months later.  The entire week's worth of programming...arrived two weeks before they were supposed to air.  We had a projection room with two projectors which an editor used to watch every piece of film to make sure there was no commercial or even a commercial frame on those films.  I became friendly with a couple of the MPs, and many weekends they would come by late at night on the weekends and we'd have a beer party watching the shows before they aired.

Living at the TV station was great.  Not one inspection or any kind of the usual oversight.

I have wanted to go back to Alaska since I left, and three years ago got the chance.  My wife and I flew to Anchorage and drove around for two weeks.  Before I left from here, I contacted the Info office at Greely about getting a tour.  They said OK, and we had a nice tour when I got there.  The post was closed a few years ago, but reopened later and now is a missile base.  Part of the post is now top secret, but I got to see the rest...almost nothing recognizable from 50 years ago.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Yarns for Yanks - 1943

"Yarns for Yanks" was one of the first shows on AFRS.  A talented star telling a story.  This was adapted from the show "Night Cap Yarns", which had been running for years on CBS Pacific.  The first 18 shows were recorded by Frank Graham then Hollywood's brightest stars came out to support the troops.  Today Lloyd Nolan tells us a O Henry story, 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chris Noel

Chis Noel takes everyone home, for 55 minutes on "A Date With Chris"  She connected, playing great music and brought America to the world. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AFRS Korea before AFKN

Jim Umland at AFRS Seoul 1946
Was just reading "A Brief History of the Far East Network" by H. Jordan Roscoe and have a little information about the pre-AFKN history of AFKN.

If you've been following this, in 1945 was the genesis of FEN and several stations were located in Korea.

 First Broadcast October 22, 1945

January 1, 1947, while still a part of the Far East Network WVTP Seoul, WKLJ Chonju and WKLC Pusan were on the air.  WKLJ was shut down September 1948, WKLC in November 1948.

I was speaking with Lee Yost, who was with WVTP in 1947/48.  Lee told me that the station and billets were in the 24th Corps building in Seoul.

WVTP Seoul closed June 30, 1950 when it was transferred to the Korea Military Advisory Group, ceasing to be a part of FEN.  At that Time Mr. Muccio, the ambassador went on WTVP to call for the evacuation of Seoul because it was being overrun by the North Koreans.

WVTP was also refererd to as Seoul Station #1.  It was located in the 24th Corps building in downtown Seoul.  Studios and billets were on the second floor. 
Palmer Payne updates us with KMAG was shut/shutting down before the June 1950 invasion by the North, there were no more than a couple of dozen KMAG advisors in country.

Ed Masters was still at FEN HQ in Tokyo and transferred to Sapporo in Northern Japan.

In 1951 it was still AFRS Korea
Palmer Payne was there:
I've been told that Armed Forces Radio Service had some sort of presence in Korea just after the end of WWII, when the XXIV Corps was in command of the troops but that it went out of existence when Korea Military Advisory Group (KMAG) took over sometime in the late 1940s. AFRS had no facilities in Korea when the 8214th Army Unit was formed in Yokohama, Japan in late August or early September, 1950. In October, 1950 "Korea Armed Forces Radio Service" (a.k.a. Korea AFRS) began broadcasting from the American Embassy (Banto Hotel) in Seoul. After we bugged out in early January, 1951 we became Kilroy AFRS. Kilroy settled in Taegu. From that sprouted Vagabond which went to Seoul soon after the city was recaptured early in 1951, Homesteader to Pusan in the summer of '51and Gypsy, somewhere to the Northeast of Taegu also in the summer of '51. I rotated back stateside in Oct. '51 when all of the stations were still part of 8214th A.U.and still under the umbrella title of Korea Armed Forces Radio Service. Some time after that there was a change to Armed Forces Korea Network (AFKN), probably due to some newcomer influenced by the European operations of AFRS, known as American Forces Network (AFN). Incidentally, it was noted during the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, ten years ago, that the 8214th A.U. was the only unit still in Korea dating back to 1950. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Spectrum USA - 1971

Happy Presidents Day!  In 1971 the Marine Corps Reserve was sending the stories of the Presidents in Spectrum USA.  Col Dick Stark has the information.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jim Ameche - 1968

Jim Ameche is back with the most beautiful music in the world.  Jim was one of the very first to make syndicating a DJ show work.  He later was the voice of the Longines Symphonette.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mary Helen Barro - 1980

Mary Helen in 1972 with Joe Ortiz

There's always been latin music on AFRTS. Chiquita during WWII and many others well into the 1990s. Mary Helen Barro held down the fort in the early 1980s. Here's Mary Helen, recorded off the air on AFN Frankfurt.

Mary Helen Barro - 1980
More Mary Helen Barro

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Charlie Tuna - 1980

The Breakfast Serial continues.  Thanks Charlie for letting me make this available.  It's time for another visit with the biggest Tuna of all.  1980, the music pretty darn good.  Recording has a large piece of an AFN newscast at the end.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wolfman Jack - 1979

Wolfman will always be with us. There's the show in syndication (AFRTS... BUY IT), some new cds and the website.

Let's revisit 1977. I was 20, in Korea and don't remember most of the year. I met Wolfman at LAX when I came Stateside. Only time I was ever totally speechless at meeting a celebrity. Play it loud!

Adventure Theatre - 1976

In the 70s and 80s AFRTS went back to the shows that had been run over the years and repackaged them into "Adventure Theatre". There were still a lot of places with no television. 

"Zero Hour" had been done several times on Dimesion X, Escape and on Future Tense.  This was originally on a 1955 Suspense broadcast.

 Isa Ashdown, John Dehner (narrator), Parley Baer, Paula Winslowe, Beverly Hanley, Eve McVeagh, Ray Bradbury (author), Antony Ellis (adaptor, producer, director), Larry Thor (announcer), Lucien Moraweck (composer), Leith Stevens (composer), Wilbur Hatch (conductor), Bill James (sound patterns), Ray Kemper (sound patterns). 

Andy Mansfield - 1964

In 1964 Andy Mansfield did a tribute to Glenn Miller, a multi-part feature with much care, craftsmanship and memories.  Here's Part six of "America's Popular Music"

Roland Bynum - 1981

Roland Bynum has touched a lot of people.  A teacher, a broadcaster and a great person.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Welcome to AFVN - 1972

Picked up some wonderful documents, a 1972 welcome package to AFVN.  We had similar ones in Korea.
These were originally from Tom Peterson.  After DINFOS Tom was in the 82nds PAO shop and then to Saigon as a newsman, later being a part of Stars and stripes.  After discharge Tom spent 20 years at KCAU-TV in Sioux Falls.  We lost Tom to a car accident in 1994.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Roger Carroll - 1972

It's a celebration of Wednesday.  1972 memories of RC and the Happy Hour on AFRTS.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Date With Chris - 1969

Chris still needs your help: Vetsville Cease Fire House
291 NE 19th Avenue
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
Phone: (561) 736-4325
FAX: (561) 736-4325
I’m Chris Noel. In Hollywood, I did films with Elvis and Steve McQueen. In Vietnam, I performed live, and my radio show was broadcast to our troops, both in Vietnam and worldwide.

Then, in 1993, I founded Vetsville Cease Fire House, a non-profit charity based in Florida that is dedicated to providing food, shelter and care for indigent military veterans.


Monday, February 1, 2016

LaRita Shelby "Operation Inclusion FMB"

LaRita Shelby is determined that AFRTS broadcasters will be recognized.  We've talked about this a few times over the years.  I see something starting...

MISSION:  "Operation Inclusion - F. M. B." 
Gentlemen, your mission if you choose to accept is to wage an all out effort to see that former AFRTS/AFN announcers and staff are not forgotten in celebrations commemorating AFRTS/AFN's 75th anniversary.  The mission is called Operation F. M. B. for the inclusion of Former Military Broadcasters.   
I (LaRita Shelby) would like to formulate a nationwide and official campaign to see that former military broadcasters who appeared on the AFRTS, AFN and all other affiliated radio and television networks are recognized by the Obama White House in honor of this landmark feat in history.  Additionally, I would like to note the culturally diverse talent that took the airwaves during this time, such as  women and minorities.  The mission of inclusion calls for more names to be added to the historic list of announcers- those that served from 1974 to the present time.     
This initiative will align present and former broadcasters (and staff) who were enlisted, as well as civilian contractors such as myself. 
Our recognition seeks to bring present and public attention to the contributions of these announcers for the following: 
  • Providing command information 
  • Raising moral among our troops  
  • Being global communications ambassadors 
Our efforts exposed American music and culture to many of the nations where we were heard, it helped international communities to learn English as a second language and served as an important part of our military history.  I seek to do this currently, because due to the nature of today's digital environment, we have made new connecting points to our fellow comrades who were and are yet on the airwaves for our American military forces.   

My personal story involves meeting a Desert Storm soldier who told me that he and his boys would skip dinner while in Kuwait to get back to tent B 12 to listen to my show on AFRTS.  Today I have heard from soldiers in Alaska, England, Germany and beyond who still have fond memories of AFRTS.  A champion in this cause already is Thom Whetston, who has done a brilliant job of chronicling many AFRTS broadcasters online via the AFRTS Blogspot at  Thom was an Army Broadcast Specialist from 1976-1985 in South Korea and the Republic of Panama.  Listen to Thom's AFRTS Archives demo here:   
We are all connecting through social media these days and we certainly want to be included as AFN is celebrated this year.   
So far, I believe the coalition to bring this into fruition to include Ret. Sgt. Major Larry Whitley, former Navy Broadcaster Ron Brewington and of course Thom Whetston. 
Proposed event: 
  • A live ceremony at AFN headquarters and press conference that includes not only the current staff of AFN but former broadcasters who were a part of AFRTS history
  • A call to action for media outlets to strongly consider hiring from the talent pool of former military broadcasters and civilian contractors. 
Recognized accomplishments should note: 
  • Providing command information 
  • Raising moral among our troops  
  • Being global communications ambassadors 
Action items: 
  • Establish a weekly conference call among the team 
  • Further coalesce the team to recognize former AFRTS broadcasters 
  • Designate team members to make sure that all further efforts are D.O.D. compliant 
  • Identify a Veterans affairs liaison and an official AFN liaison 
  • Designate a supervisor of logistics as we go forward  
  • Designate a social media coordinator to get the word out to as many broadcasters as possible  
Official AFN site today:  
Former AFRTS contractor (1990-97) LaRita Shelby  
Former Navy Broadcaster Ron Brewington 
Ret. Stg. Major Larry Whitley 
If you would like to contact any of those people that will be making this happen, please  let me know and your information will be forwarded.
Former Army Broadcaster Thom Whetston (612)356-2377