Wednesday, December 29, 2010

AFKN story from Monte Jones


Late one night, a couple of the boys smoked too much weed and drank too much beer and afterward searched for something to do to shatter the boredom. One of the boys from Engineering ran a few possibilities through his muddled brain and mentally tied together a McDonald’s Golden Arches flag he has recently brought back to AFKN when returning from leave in the US, with the network commanding officer’s name – Army Lt. Col. Malcom McDonald. That was it! A bit of humor that would surely cause some degree of irritation and sweep away the boredom. So, this young and spirited soldier climbed the tower atop the main headquarters building and hoisted the red and gold flag in the name of the network commander. I wasn’t there for the event but was told that the planter of the flag had trouble getting down from the tower and then from the roof of the building. The next day when the soldier was told that Colonel McDonald was not in-country, but in the States, the soldier just stared into space and said, “Oh.” He actually did that a lot. That morning, with the flag waving in the breeze, those of us who were aware of its presence tried not to look up toward the flag when going in or out of the main building, so that it might be up long enough for Stars & Stripes photos. However, a warrant officer, the senior military person in Engineering, saw the flag high above and made a swift decision to have all the enlisted men surgically altered to turn them into eunuchs. Luckily, that decision was over-ridden by an Air Force captain who was in charge in the absence of the colonel. Thank gawd (as we say in the South) for the Air Force. The flag was removed after a few hours of fun and things on the AFKN hill returned as near to normal as was the usual situation.



Gary Thompson continues the story: SGM Lacy was a good guy as well. He actually protected Ron and I from being arrested by the Korean National Police. It seems our little flag on the MW tower stunt started a nation-wide alert. You might recall President Park had spotters sitting on roof tops, their mission was to scan the horizon for colored flags. If they saw a RED flag, they would raise their flag and another spotter would do likewise, all across the Northern part of the land. Well, Our McD flag was RED and RED meant something really bad!


Lacy told Ron and I to hit the Blue Train to Taegu and stay their until he called. We did. In a few days, Lacy allowed us to return to the hill. Thats how I learned what a jewel Taegu was. A short time later I transferred from Seoul to Taegu. Twas the best deal I ever made!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AFRS Spain

Here's a neat perspective, I just heard from Andoni, the blogger at http://www.escountry.com/ He's a Spaniard that misses the AFRTS stations in Spain and the country music in particular.

Here's what he had to say: AFRS Spain the blog is Spanish, so I ran it through google translate.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Arthur Godfrey

Arthur Godfrey was broadcasting, from his mournful coverage of the funeral of President Roosevelt to the franchise he had built in the 1950s, to his CBS radio show which was the last bigtime network entertainment show, he was America with a genius in giving America what they wanted.  The Christmas 1964 show (recorded Christmas 1963).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fred Foy March 27, 1921 – December 22, 2010

Fred Foy, the Lone Ranger announcer has paased away.  Fred was an AFRS veteran.  This is from Wikipedia:

He was inducted August 28, 1942, entering the American armed forces September 11, 1942. Attached to the 14th Special Service Company, Sergeant Fred Foy became the American voice on Egyptian State Broadcasting, delivering news and special programs to the Allied Forces in Cairo. He handled the distribution throughout the Middle East of American recordings, in addition to local broadcasts of Command Performance, Mail Call, Personal Album, Radio Bric-a-Brac and Front Line Theatre. He also announced The American Forces Programme. For Stars and Stripes he did American News Letter, a weekly summary of news from America, plus sport flashes and items from various theatres of war. For Cairo cinemas, he announced Headline News of the Day. Foy helped stage and announce USO sponsored programs, including a Jack Benny broadcast from Cairo to New York and an Andre Kostelanetz concert with Lily Pons.




Foy scripted his own shows, including Up To Scratch, a lively program of the current hit tunes, and Shows on Parade, which he hosted. When he wrote and directed Christmas Overseas, broadcast from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in the Holy Land it received top honors from Washington. Featuring Christmas music by the Franciscan Boys’ Orphanage Choir, the program opened with a Christmas story offering reasons for fighting the War. Working with Stars and Stripes, he created and announced a program airing World Series play-by-play to GIs. He also scripted, directed and acted with the American Red Cross during the 1945 War Fund Campaign. Foy received a commendation for voluntarily remaining at his post during the hours from August 10, 1945 until final August 15 confirmation of the Japanese surrender, making the latest news available at all times during the news emergency prior to the surrender. He was discharged on January 3, 1946 at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas 1976 - This Is Your FBI

In 1976 we were still airing Old Time Radio like "This Is Your FBI", starring Stacy Harris, who you may remember from Dragnet.  Here's the Christmas show..

The system cue at the end of the show sure sounds like George Fenneman..


Stacy Harris

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Bolero Christmas

Vance Graham did some very neat radio here, celebrating the Latino culture at Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Night Stand

One Night Stand was the AFRTS package of big band remotes.  It had been broadcast through the 40s 50s and 60s.  Leon Keltner had the classy society orchestra in New Orleans.  This recording is from WWL/CBS in 1964, roughly the same time that Cal LaMartiniere was the booth announcer for these programs, the announcer  (Don Lewis) sounds similar to Cal, possibly an influence? 

Pam Windsor AFN


This came in on one of Chris's great tapes that he'd been saving for years.  When I asked Pam:

I left AFN in 1986, came back to the states, got a radio job in Roanoke, Virginia, then moved into TV and worked my way up to becoming News Director at the ABC Affiliate in Lynchburg, VA. Afterwards, I took a job at CNN International but my kids weren't happy in Atlanta so I ended up moving to Louisville, Kentucky to take an Executive Producer job at the NBC Affiliate. I'm currently not working in TV and am instead doing Public Relations but now that my youngest is in college, I'm thinking of trying to get back into something more fun. I'm still trying to figure out on exactly what that might be. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Obituary for Calvin LaMartiniere

Cal was one of my DINFOS teachers and truly a character.




Calvin Mitchel LaMartiniere, 71, passed away Thursday, December 9, 2010 at his residence.



He was a journalist and broadcaster for U.S.A.F. Arm Forces Radio, served three tours in Vietnam, awarded the bronze star and was a Special Ed teacher for the Rapides School system.



He was preceded in death by his parents, Mitchel & Lucille LaMartiniere; and sister, Clemelee who died at infancy.



He is survived by his three sisters, Betty LaMartiniere Nixon of Baton Rouge, LA, Lois LaMartiniere Carbo of Knoxville, TN and Mary LaMartiniere Barbera of Boyce, LA; two nephews; and four nieces; Cal, as he was fondly called was a lover of family, friends and life.



Family is having a private memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to charity of choice.



Sign Cal's memorial


Here's Cal's bigraphy from macoi

Cal Lamartiniere began his radio career in 1956 at the age of 15 as a guest disc jockey on KALB in Alexandria, Louisiana. After high school he was hired part-time at KCLP, a 500-watt station in Rayville, Louisiana. One of his assignments was to broadcast Rayville's high school football games, and during the half-time of the Rayville-Delhi game, he had the unique opportunity to interview Delhi resident Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin, a little-known minister named Jimmy Swaggert.




He left the station to attend the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette (now known as the University of Louisiana-Lafayette). His application for internship was accepted at WWL, a prestigious 50,000-watt station with studios in downtown New Orleans at the Roosevelt Hotel. Cal broadcast on two high profile radio programs. He served as announcer for the Leon Kelner Orchestra which broadcast each evening from the Roosevelt Hotel's Blue Room, and he also hosted "Nightflight from New Orleans," sponsored by American Airlines.



Joining the Air Force, Cal was assigned to AFRTS, and on Christmas Day 1966 he arrived at AFVN. He spent two years in Vietnam, the first year in news and the second as program director. After serving several months of his first tour in Saigon, Cal moved in May 1967 to Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa. With studios literally on the beach of the South China Sea, Tuy Hoa was a coveted assignment. Facilities included a beachfront barbecue pit and bar. After re-enlisting and extending his tour, however, Cal returned to Saigon to serve as program director at the headquarters station. While at AFVN, he was promoted twice, and he left Vietnam on Christmas Eve 1968 as a Technical Sergeant (E-6).



His next assignment was to Washington, DC at AFRTS Headquarters. While there he moonlighted as an instructor at a local broadcasting school. For the remainder of his Air Force career, Cal served in all parts of the globe. He was, at various times, an electronics instructor at Lowry AFB, Colorado and Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and he was an instructor at DINFOS. He served in Europe and in Iceland, and at Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya. His final assignment was back at AFRTS in Washington, where he was promoted to Master Sergeant (E-7), and served as newscaster/writer and Executive Assistant Director of AFRTS Headquarters.



After 20 years with the Air Force, Master Sergeant Lamartiniere opted for retirement in 1983. But as a parting gift, and in a classic example of bad timing, Cal was told on the very day of his retirement that he had been selected for promotion to E-8. He politely declined, and returned to civilian status at the age of 43.



Cal then returned to the college campus, completed his degree, and became a high school teacher for the next 20 years. He retired from his second career in January 2003, and began spending his time building high speed computers. He lives in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas With Wolfman Jack

Here's a 1975 visit with the Wolfman.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year!  Mark sent this in last year.  Great stuff!




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas In Belgium

Most wonderful time of the year!  December 22, 1988 here's what was happening on AFN SHAPE.  Gary Thompson takes a look at news.  Be sure to get those packages out!  It's the "Rise and Shine!" show. 



Friday, December 3, 2010

The Other Ameche Brother

Jim Ameche did his show for many years for the network. Brother Don was also quite the host.  In the early 50s AFRS did a program called Across the Board, misc musical broadcasts.  Randy thinks this is a heavily edited program from the "Here's to Romance" series.  Don and Jim sound a lot alike:




Johnnie Darin 1973

Johnnie bounced around Los Angeles for many years and was with the network for many years, let's look at the greatest hits of the year, 1973.



Welcome

Thanksgiving is over for another year and I'm thankful that you stopped here.  I appreciate your emails.  We all hold a small piece of what AFRTS was/is and I learn a lot when I hear your story.  What would you like to hear?  Special shout out to Randy, he's been copying the mountain of 16" transcriptions that keep coming in.  Bill, I'm really thankful for the ReVox reel to reel.  There's a shelf full of tape waiting to be transferred.  Everyone that shared a tape/trasncription/story, you're really what this is about.  Happy holidays and again, thank you!


The email address is: afrts@live.com

AFRTS and old time radio

Well into the 1980s, we ran a lot of oldtime radio.  We had access to huge libraries, restrictions on the television product made it another way to present a good story.  When it was being presented as a 'story', it was done well.  When it was 'nostalgia', it was a harder sell.  By 1980 90% of the troops hadn't been there for network radio, making it quaint.  They didn't understand where the joke even was with Fibber McGee joking about 'ration points'.  But drama, mystery and some comedy could be very entertaining.

Here's a 1977 repackaging of a 1940s broadcast.


I think that even today, it could be made to work.  What do you think?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wolfman, then and now.


Tell your station WE NEED WOLFMAN!!!

Here's Wolfman in 1972 for AFN

Friday, November 26, 2010

AFN Bremerhaven


AFN Bremerhaven was on the air from 1945-93.  There are some great pictures and stories from Mike Thompson at http://staff.rio.edu/miket/afn.htm

Here's part of the 1993 closing, as broadcast on AFN Bremerhaven.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Enchantment of Music

Over the years AFRTS presented a lot of classical music. For a lot of our listeners, it was the introduction to styles of music that they hadn't heard before. "Enchantment of Music" was originally from KCBH-FM, Beverly Hills. They presented their shows in "the matchless fidelity of frequency modulation".   The station was also the first one for The Real Don Steele.


Did we ever actually run these on FM stations?

KCBH sounds like a very interesting place Here's their tribute website



Early AFN part 7

AFN Germany was the only network that actively archived over the years.  It's a great thing that these memories aren't lost to the ether.  Let's go to Frankfurt, in the early 50s...



What an amazing place to have a gig.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Open your own AFRTS network


DOD regulation was the one that ruled everything. here's your copy:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SEB Vincenza

Dennis Neal shares some SEB pictures...
SEB I= The old Southern European Broadcasting (SEB) logo, before they were swallowed by the Great AFN Amoeba.




SEB II= One of the SEB TV News Studio cameras. Note the lack of teleprompter; I would not see a teleprompter until I reported to the USS America (CV-66) in 1984.



SEB III= Overview of the SEB TV News Studio circa 1978-1981, with both cameras and lighting in view. The "Chroma-Key Blue" backdrop allowed us to have slides seem to appear behind us -- cutting edge back then!



SEB IV= Then-JO2 Melanie Morrell (left) delivers the local news while then-JO2 Dennis Neal (me) naps. Melanie and I both retired as JOCs, I in 1994, Melanie in the late 1990s. Sadly, Melanie passed away due to cancer in April 2007.



SEB V= Then-JO3 Ray Gamrat (left) signs off after giving the weather while anchorman and then-JO2 Dennis Neal (me) tries to look helpful. These days Ray is rich and famous and still as good-looking as he was in 1978. Dennis Neal still can't retire and he looks like the Picture of Dorian Grey.



Best,



Dennis Neal

AFRTS 1976-1981, U.S. Navy Journalist 1974-1994, JOC USN (Ret.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top Pops 63

So what were your memories of Armed Forces Radio?  Just a gig?  Did you make a career of it?  Were you listening in the field?  Your story is interesting, please share.


I was listening to some TPs, the early ones had locked grooves.  LOCKED GROOVES, who remembers those?  If you don't, what a locked groove would do is just stop after the song.  That made it harder to leave the switch open and run the next song accidentially.  Pronounciations?  It was never a regular thing, I only remember rarely seeing them.  At least noone could say Joe Maphis wrong!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Victor Returns

Just received a nice note from Vance Graham's stepson, filling in a lot of blanks



"Vance Graham", was a radio announcer, on-the-scene news reporter and later disc-jockey. He was born in Denver, Colorado. In 1927 he received a scholarship from the United Daughters of the Confederacy to attend the University of Virginia where he studied journalism. After graduation he traveled to Los Angeles. Soon after his arrival, he worked as a cook in a downtown hotel.


Blessed with a deep, clear and resonant voice, he soon found work at radio station KMPC in Hollywood as an announcer, newscaster, interviewer and disc jockey.
During World War II, he worked as "Assistant News Editor" for KMPC and because he was bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish, he recorded Latin American music shows for the Armed Forces Radio Network. He did live reports for the station in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.


In the 1950s and 60s, there was a huge surge in the popularity of Latin music with the "cha cha cha" and "bolero", so he had a radio show called "Bolero Time" heard every Sunday on KMPC.  A recorded version of Bolero Time was also heard on AFRTS.   He was married from 1954 to 1958 to Estrellita Santos who acted as co-host for his radio program during that time.

In the 70s he had 2 more Latin American shows on KMPC, KFI and KTYM. Graham hosted the shows called "Latino" and "Viva" as a character he named "Victor".

We lost Vance Graham in 1984, his ashes were spread over the Pacific.
(a more complete version of the above is at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=49068615  )

But now, from 1973, here's Victor:

Friday, November 5, 2010

What was YOUR story??? Thom Whetston SCN

Karl sent such a neat letter, I felt obliged to tell my story...


When I was a kid, radio in Minneapolis was special. Storz had WDGY, KDWB was an early Drake station.  KSTP rocked.  KQRS was an early AOR.  Talky WCCO would pull a 60 share...The Minneapolis schools had a 5000 FM that ran educational programming and was a trade  at the Vocational school... teacher Warren Christy was a late 60s FEN guy.  The circle starts.  After that the army. 

I knew about AFRTS.  I was at the DINFOS in fall 1976 at Ft Harrison.  Mr Runda, Monte Jones, Larry Rogers and the rest, still bigger than life.  The rest of my class pulled orders for CONUS or AFN.  I pulled Korea and was upset.  One of teachers said "I've been to Germany and Korea.  You're not believing this but you won.".  I had an great year, first doing radio news, 3rd shift.  Ed Masters NEVER slept.  "Thom, Ma's cow is with Pa's bull, Musco is in Russia.".  After that to Camp Casey.  Pat Daigle ran that place.  If you ever knew Pat, there's nothing more to say.  Partied pretty solidly for 9 months.  After that the PAO shop at Ft Devens.  zzz.... Nights I was working at WEIM, Fitchburg MA.  Tiny station but it was a P-3 with most of the trades, the owner did spend money it.  Panama was next, 3 years at SCN.  Super weather, nice people and we made some pretty good radio.  Every time a neat series went on TV, the Panamanian stations would buy it, so there were a lot of 1950-60s reruns and East German TV movies "But it's in color!!!".  I couldn't do that.  I stayed on the radio side for three years. 

After that the real world called.  I was doing afternoons at WEIM, weekends for Curt Gowdy's WCGY in Boston.  Fitchburg was about 20 miles from Worcester, 50 from Manchester (mkt 140 but priceless during the NH primaries), 40 from Boston and about 40 from Keene NH.  It's all commutable. I worked several at a time, almost every one owned or run by a 'character' then  nights at WSRS in Worcester 'lite n easy'.  That was one of those stations with totally insane ratings.  Worcester is almost completely under the Boston umbrella.  Anything lower than 40% in anything was pretty much regarded as failure. 

In the mid-90s the business had changed.  In Boston there was a company doing the talking phonebook nationally and across Canada AND I get to learn about UNIX.  cool.  They were bought out by a competitor.  "You still have a job, but it's in Wichita".  Back again to WEIM and the only time I was ever canned in radio.  "You cost too much" I was pretty tired of the whole thing.  Time for an adult job, I guess.  It sure was a change to have a reasonable expectation of a job still being there.  It's the help desk for me, and this blog.

I wish I had saved more tape, but about 15 years ago I had several large trash bags of airchecks, myself, friends, neat things.  Hadn't used them in many years.  gone.  Now I try to find copies.  Tom Konard "Aircheck Factory" had saved this and I'm grateful.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

AFKN 1968 Pictures

I've been looking for these.  Ken Hissong sent some pictures of his 1968 tour on the hill.

Outside HQs building.  The Buick Rivera parked in front belonged to a kid whose father was a light bird assigned to USOM.

Film chain


Yours truly on top of grandstand doing live broadcast of 8th Army football game.



Your humble servant doing his board shift in Studio A.


Newsroom (which was in a separate building) Army Spec. Roger Schatz in the rear, middle Arny spec. John Sheridan and our translator Jimmy Chae.  (I worked there 8 years later, nothing was changed.)


Another shot of the newsrooom




AFKN Tomahawk (Munsan) 1970,

Courtesy of Dave Massa, in 1970 it was AFKN Tomahawk's 11th birthday, so of course there was a party..




Dave, this picture will be repurposed..


Ed Masters came up for the festivities.  Ed was there for 30 years and this is the first picture that I've been able to find.



Friday, October 22, 2010

US Army Germany

Welcome visitors from the http://www.usarmygermany.com/ website.  Walter does a great job with it and there's a lot of AFN infomation I haven't seen before.  Take a look!

Happy Birthday AFKN


AFN-K (I still find that hard to say) has put together their 60th anniversary tribute. 
What do you think?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chris Noel's Petition

Here's the Chris Noel that we remember



Chris Noel has asked for our help with this.  She's lobbying for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Click here to sign Chris Noel's petition

Your help is appreciated

Most of this collection is from donations from people like you.  a handful of cassettes, reels, a box of records not listened to anymore.  Please let me know if you can help.  And of course when you tell a friend about these pages it helps a lot.  Thanks!

Thom
afrts@live.com

(612) 356-AFRS Leave a message!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Command Performance


Command Performance was a star-studded jamboree.  It was probably the biggest thing produced by AFRTS.  In 1977 Frank Bresee assembled a 35th anniversary tribute.  Guests for the tribute include Ken Carpenter and Bob Hope, sharing memories.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

History of AFN

In 1990 began the 'downsizing' of our bigger networks.  MediaNetwork discussed the history of AFN with Roy Neal.

He had a big career before WWII worked at AFN and later came back as a civilian.

Take a listen:


There's more about Roy Neal at http://www.broadcastpioneers.com/roynealbook.html

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

See AFRTS disks on PBS-TV

Jon checks in to let us know about something coming up on PBS


I was just checking a satellite feed of an upcoming PBS program, "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" and spotted a collector with some some serious WWII-era AFRS vinyl transcriptions and V-Discs.

Feinstein discussed the use of the AFRS discs and their procurement, and there was some great performance footage of Lena Horne, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland taken from "Jubilee" and "Command Performance USA."

This is in episode #2 of the series, entitled "The Best Band in the Land."

After doing a QC check of the feed, it was a segment of the show where Michael Feinstein met with former AFRS producer Marty Halperin (Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters).

Halperin was showing him the master tapes he kept over the years in the basement of his home, along with a few AFRS 12" transcription discs (in the familiar manila shuck with "Armed Forces Radio & Television Service" and "Property of U.S. Government" over the center hole.

Michael Feinstein's American Songbook

Best Band in the Land

Wednesday, October 13, 7:00pm (your date and time may vary)

The roles that popular music played during WWII, providing emotional solace and boosting morale, are remembered. Michael Feinstein also discusses the era's big bands, USO shows, V-Discs and war bond rallies; and prepares an original patriotic song.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

AFRTS transcriptions

Chris asked for more information about the AFRTS transcriptions.  There were three different types of transcriptions

RP "Radio Priority", these were time critical with usually the top hits, like Charlie Tuna or Gene Price or Wolfman. These were to be destroyed after use.

RU "Radio Unit", these were things that were not time critical. Programs that would be forwarded to other stations in the network. Usually they'd start at a big network and be shipped to smaller and smaller stations. Programs like Jim Pewter or Golden Days of Radio. It really didn't matter if the disk was several years old when broadcast.

RL "Radio Library", these were the albums for the local DJs to use in their programs. These were indexed and filed. The older stations had most of the records going back to 1943. There were sub classifications here including P- (pop) W- (western) L- (latin) R- (religion) SP- (symphonic pops) MISC-(miscellaneous) included comedy albums, jingles and some very weird audio TP-(top pops) were the new hits of the week from 1962-75 making a neat oldies library. Radio jingles and production music were not in a series.


This disk would have been from 1967.  Mostly really great tunes.  "Little Girl" was a super tune.  Is it even in print?  Probably on Nuggets.

While not directly related, Jose Fritz says there was such a thing as a 16" V-disc and will be sending a scan of one.

These do not seem quite as exciting..