Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AFRS Korea before AFKN

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.

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