Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

Finally it's done!  Thanks to all.  It's quite a story.  Happy 70th Birthday AFRTS!

If you'd like a 441k uncompressed wav of this let me know.  Rebroadcast is encouraged, if you do then please let me know.

If you're not already on the mailing list, let me know.  Weekly I send out updates,

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas 1947

Three G. I.'s in Germany, away from home at Christmas time for the first time, try to share the holiday spirit. Edmund Penny, Frank Gerstle, Howard Culver, Irvin Lee, James W. Talbot (producer), Jerry Farber, Richard Crenna, Rye Billsbury, Steve Allen (writer).

I know that MacGregor produced similar material to this (under a contract for AFRS)

Friday, December 16, 2011

AFRTS library found on Wake Island 12/2011

There are a lot of errors in the story, beginning with that crazy valuation.  As best I can tell, these are library disks c 1965-75.  The majority of those would be non-interesting MOR sides.

The normal disposition of these:  They'll be called in to AFRTS-LA and pretty much immediately shipped to the Library of Congress.  LOC is trying to have a complete collection and will upgrade what they have when they can.  As far us us getting any access to it, it won't happen.

In February 2011, they found what was probably a more interesting library at Fort Lewis.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From Reykjevik, Shake Rattle and Rourke 1971

Jim Roark AFRS Reykjavik 1971

Jim Roark told us last year about AFRS in Iceland.  If you didn't see it before its a good read click here.
He just send in an hour of his 1971 oldies show, spotlighting 1957.  The great listening continues...

Feliz Navidad de Puerto Rico

Ramey AB, Puerto Rico

Ralph Gebes sent along some 1971 memories from AFCN.  Ramey was (mostly) closed with a 1973 base alignment.  Time for "Radio Strikes Back"

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Charlie Tuna Christmas 1978

Christmas away from home could be a difficult time, Charlie and the rest of the team made home not quite so far away.  I'm off to the mess hall for lobster...

Here's Charlie Tuna and a 1978 Christmas show.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

The birthday greetings are going to be a big part of our history and so far it tells an important part of our story.

Still time to get yours in!

AFKN Countdown to the New Year - 1970

We're on our way to Yongsan.  Maybe Itaewon.  AFKN is bringing in the New Year 1970  First with Roger Schulman who went on to big things in Tampa radio and then Bruce Dorton, later with WABE Atlanta and NPR.  I can smell the kimchi!

Christmas with Wolfman Jack

It's 1975 and the Wolf brings in the holiday.  Christmas week the AFRTS network talent did a week of Christmas shows.  Rare when it wasn't week 48-x did they ever play songs of the holiday season.  It was too unpredictable when the shows would be aired.  The Christmas week shows went out 3 or 4 weeks before Christmas week so we'd be ready to go.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanks again!

It's been almost four years since I started doing this.  I'd like to thank you for stopping by.  Our AFRTS stories are something that I really don't want to see in the dumpster.  Thanks for sharing.  For the hundreds of you that stop by, we get a chance to tell a story again.  It's nice to be able to share the airchecks.  Every one of the AFRTS-LA stars that I could find have said it's okay to post their material and I appreciate it.

If you'd like to share your memories I think we'd all appreciate it.  Any requests?

70th anniversary of AFRTS is 2012 and my audio piece about our history is almost done.  Take a second and record a birthday greeting.  You are the story.

At the end of the month we're taking our first vacation in years.  Going to visit the in-laws in Europe.  I'll probably be cut off from the internet then.  By New Year the updates will start again.

If you're not already on the mailing list, let me know.  Weekly updates on what's happening here.

If you enjoy the page, please tell a friend.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random TP 7

The TP (or "Top Pops") were a weekly series of disks with the hits of the week.  It ran from 1962-75.  After 1975 it was a nice oldies series.

What AFRTS meant to me

At the age of 15 / 16 a person is very susceptive for new influences - in many aspects. This is also true for the preference of musical styles - we like, what we hear and share this with others.

In Germany the musical scene in the mid-sixties was only mainstream-pop from England and Germany. My first contact to a completely+ different sound as in 1966, after I tuned-in (by chance) AFN Bremerhaven on my small transistor-radio.

The music was of overwhelming force and tempo. It was "Bluegrass"-music. From that day on, I stayed tuned to AFN and recorded some music with a microphone from the loudspeaker.  Suddenly I became aware of the many styles of music that I had never heard of before. Country-Music, Soul, Jazz , Latino-Music - even Polka, Easy-Listening. I liked them all , and I still do today.  It was not only the music, it was also the DJs. Their laid-back style, the sometimes intoxicating way of announcing the titles was completely new to me.

So I began to record not only the music but also some of the DJ's talk on my tape-machine, later on cassettes. My favourite DJs were Herman Griffith, Wolfman Jack, Roland Bynum, Charlie Tuna, Gene Weed, Vance Graham and of course Chris Noel.

I learned some aspects of American life and still today it is easier for me to translate spoken American English than British English. As a German civillian this helped me, especially in my job. So all this is my reason to thank AFRTS for producing the shows that not only entertained the American forces but also a German boy and maybe many others too, around the world.

Congratulations and Good Luck AFRTS !

Guenther Schoenlau

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday is coming

AFRTS will be having it's 70th birthday next year.  I'm finishing up a little documentary to tell the story.  I'd be very interested in getting a birthday greeting from you.  A computer file would be great, but if you can't do that you can leave a voicemail at 612-356-AFRS (612)356-2377 and I'll get it transferred.  If you enjoy this website, you were a part of the story.  Please share it.  612-356-AFRS (612)356-2377, operators are standing by!

Jim Ameche 1965

Jim Ameche (Don's brother) had the worlds most beautiful sounds around.  We always had orchestral music.  After Jim was John Doremus and later Pete Smith.  Jim was probably the first syndicator to make money with DJ shows.  He brought that experience to us all over the world for many years.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spotlight Bands

Mostly, I try to stay away from CONUS network radio shows.  Spotlite Bands is a little different.  During WWII Coca-Cola sponsored the top bands in America playing at military bases in the US and to be recorded for AFRS.  Here's Charlie Barnet, playing at Lovell General Hospital, Ft Devens MA

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

AFN Nightside 1974 with Craig Miller

Nightside was a little bit of everything.  Craig Miller was a part of it.  Definately good radio.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What AFRTS meant to me

Blogwatcher Mary sends along her impressions of AFRTS:

AFRTS meant a lot to me and my husband when we were stationed in Germany, Korea, and England. It was a voice of home when we were far away, helping us to keep in touch with America. It was also very entertaining. I liked Larry Rideout and the Dufflebag Show in Frankfurt, Germany. We went to church with him. Especially in a country where you don't speak the language, AFRTS was a lifeline back to America. What impressed me the most was the variety. AFRTS was aimed at all the G.I.s and their families and the civilians that were also stationed overseas. They managed to have something for everybody. A favorite while we were in England was "the Energy Rap," this G.I. who admonished us to save energy. I also loved seeing G.I.'s in uniform read the news. Thanks!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday AFRTS

Next year the network turns 70 years old.  Can you believe it?  I'm putting together an audio tribute to the network and I'd really appreciate your help.  Could you please cut a drop with what AFRTS meant to you?  It doesn't have to be anything tricky, you don't have to be 'talent'.  Board operators, supply clerks, 71Limas.  Civilians in the host countries.  Several have already sent theirs in.  Thank you.  Just something along the lines of:

Hi I'm Thom Whetston, I was on AFRTS radio twice, in Korea in the 70s and Panama in the 80s.  Happy birthday AFRTS. 

Feel free to add to it.  The more of us that participate, the better it'll be.  Questions?  just click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AFKN people 1977 from Linda

Kirk Dorn

Kirk Dorn, Milk and cookies.  Milk and cookies? In Korea?

Paul Hartledge


Command Performance 1946

Command Performance was the BIG variety show that went into production almost at the birth of the network.

(from radiogoldindex)  March 14, 1946. Program #215. AFRS origination. June's first tune is, "Give Me The Simple Life." Larry Storch imitates Frank Morgan (without receiving credit). He then imitates Ed Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre. Desi Arnaz sings, "Cuban Pete" and an extended arrangement of, "Ba-Balu." Red Skelton appears in, "Never Again" as "Junior, The Mean Widdle Kid." Verna Felton blows a line and stops the show. The recording date above is subject to correction. June Haver (m. c.), Ken Carpenter (announcer), Larry Storch, Desi Arnaz and His Orchestra, Red Skelton, Pat McGeehan, Verna Felton.

Jack Brown 15 Nov. 1923 - 19 Oct. 2011

October 2011,  we lost former director of AFRTS programming Jack Brown. 

Jack Brown
Awarded US Secretary of Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Professor Radio, TV, Film CSUN.
General Manager KCSN - Retired
Actor, Television, Radio and Motion Pictures
Former president and charter member, Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. Former owner of the Don Martin School of Broadcasting.  Jack was a Ham radio operator and former Volunteer at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. He was also a volunteer reader at his church, St. Mary the Virgin, Chatsworth.

In the early 1960s, Jack was the host of "Rocketing Rhythms", the countdown show.

Rocketing Rhythms

Monday, November 14, 2011

AFVN "Double Jeopardy"

AFN vet  Rich Halten is still building entertainment:

"You might recall I mentioned a radio piece I did about the attack on AFVN Hue while it was under construction. It was during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and the radio station wasn't on the air yet but a bare bones TV station was.

AFVN Hue after Tet 1968

It's the first post, titled "Double Jeopardy." While the piece isn't really about AFVN, it profiles two guys (one a D.J., the other an engineer) who took very different paths while fleeing the station when it was under attack. "Double Jeopardy" debuted last Friday on KCRW in L.A.'s "Unfictional" program."

So what do you think?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FEN automation and Tokyo calling 1965

Awhile back Monte Jones had some informaton about the automation system at FEN in the late 60s.  I thought something capable of segueing the ETs and putting the news on the air was very high tech for the times.  Norm Medland was there before Monte and he had some information:

Henry Yaskell was way ahead of his time from the automation system to tropo scatter to distribute the net up the line to Misawa and other places; Kuma Station and Wakkanai in the far north of Japan. In addition to the voice network to our outlying stations, we also had a teletype network and a fulltime employee to type and send printed newscasts to all the stations. Yes, they could have had all news prerecorded on tape and I believe Henry wanted that but it pushed immediacy back by at least an hour and the programmers would not allow it.

Automation basic brain may have been a Harris-made unit, but not sure. Henry had at least four turntables connected along with a bank of ampex tape recorders and several cart machines. It used a room about 20x20 and had one fulltime GI and a Japanese engineer plus probably a GI engineer. Time hacks were automated and the unit could switch between functions and the news booth and production studios. A lot of local production done on tape like “Tokyo Calling.”

It took a lot of tending and no one but Henry thought it saved any manpower. Still, it was ingenious and way ahead of most broadcast stations. I worked at a station in Sacramento after I retired that was automated with a Harris-90 with just a bank of tape playback units and two production studios. Very simple by comparison.

FEN even had on loan from Sony an early portable tape unit that rode around on a cart much like a current day audio visual cart with a few shelves. Not very portable and weighed a couple of hundred pounds. This never worked properly and wasn’t used in the field that I know about. Our audio equipment was the best you could buy, and programming concentration was totally audio. I think we had a least six Nagra tape recorders. We were just a radio station, (no TV at all), and the network feed, but we were very good. Great talent in house. Unfortunately many of them are now deceased. I am certain we would have made money in any market in the United States.

I was just a buck sergeant and staff sergeant as I left, but had worked radio in Denver, San Diego, and small Iowa stations before arriving there. I wasn’t bad, but others there made me look like an amateur.

From January 1965, here's Burr Hoyle:

FEN FM automation c 1983 (Photo: Jon Yim)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Date With Chris

Chris Noel was the heartthrob of the 1960s military radio.  Hear why...

Wolfman Jack 1983

Ready to howl?  These came in with a bunch of wonderful disks from when I was at SCN.  Ah, the memories.

Let's howl with Wolfman Jack

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Frank Bresee and the Golden Age of Radio

Frank Bresee recorded the last network show under the old system.  GDOR was a celebration of all things radio in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.  Earlier this year, Mr Bresee had a stroke and has been valiently going through rehab.  You're in our prayers.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blue Danube Network

Something new in the collecction, a QSL card from BDN.  US Forces left Austria in 1955

Welcome newbies

This page has been around for few years.  I really hope that you enjoy it.  I value your stories and we're all interested.  Did you save any airchecks/pictures/disks/memories?  Please share.  Do you have any requests?  Let me know and I'll see what I can do.  There is a mailing list.  Every week or two I send an email with what's been added to the site.  Right now there are several hundred on that list.  If there's someone you're looking for I may be able to let them know.  I never give out addresses but I would forward an email.

If you enjoy it here, please tell a friend.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AFVN Pat Sajak 1968

Patrick Leonard Sajdak

Pat Sajak was one of the bigger stars that went through the network.  Pat won a contest to be a disk jockey on the WLS Dick Biondi show, after that news at WEDC.  Then the army beckoned.  After a few months as a finance clerk, he was the morning star at AFVN.  By the early 1970s he was jocking at flamethrower WSM Nashville and bigger and brighter things.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tom Campbell Stateside

Tom Campbell always had a fun show and sometimes the strangest mixes...
Tall Tom revisits 1975.  The mustard colored labels were the ugliest ones ever.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steve Phillips AFRS Adak Alaska 1967

Here's our first visit with AFRS Alaska.  It's 1967 and Steve Phillips brings the music.

The Return of Gary Owens

Gary Owens always made silly radio fun.  Remember his radio announcer test "Can you say six silly words without laughing...and MEAN them?"  Thanks Gary.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Pops again

Side two:
Dr Hook and the Medicine Show - Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
Sammy Johns - Early Morning Love
Marion Jarves - Hell Of A Fix
Billy Swan - I Can Help
Lou Rawls - She's Gone
Fancy - Touch Me

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Melody Round Up 1947

Melody Roundup was an interesting show, but almost for accidental reasons.  The network would get recordings of local and network shows from all over the country and repackage them.  Most have heard of the Grand Old Opry but most cities had similar shows.  AFRS would take a 15 minute clip from a random show and viola "Melody Round Up".

This is from roughly 1947 and the "Hollywood Barndance" with Cottonseed Clark.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AFN Nightside 1974 Craig Miller interviews Abba

The Craig Miller tapes continue.  I had always heard in the past that their English was limited.  What we heard was wrong.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Herman Griffith 1967

Herman Griffith leads the records caravan in this 1967 visit.

This was presented before, but now much better sounding and is the complete show.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

French National Radio Tribute to AFN 1947

AFN Weekend World 1975 Craig Miller and the "Original Drifters"

Bands have traded on famous names for years, at SCN we had the Platters visit (Hollywood Brown had been with them since 1967 and was the senior).  The Supremes were supposed to have stopped by.  it was the early 80s, the group was some cute kids who probably weren't even born when they had their first hits.

Craig Miller tries to get to the bottom of the "Original Drifters"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wolfman Jack 1983

And to top things off, the weekend begins with a Friday show.  I just read Border Radio, a great book about the beginnings of the Mexican border blasters.  It adds a level of understanding.

be sure to visit


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your comments are welcome

Thanks for leaving your comments. Please leave your name. We're all a part of this.

If you're new here, I have a mailing list where I send out updates when things change. Let me know if you'd like to be a part of it. Click here

If you saved material or actively collect, I'd like to be able to make some of it available.  I never sell anything but I'm always open to trades.

If you enjoy it here, please tell a friend.

AFVN - Duke Miller 1968

Found this old photo and decided to share with the group. It's of me doing the afternoon show on AFVN-AM shortly after the onset of the Tet Offensive in 1968.

I was AFVN-FM's only announcer. We were live 6:30p.m.-Midnight each night and simulcast otherwise. But, after Tet, all staffers were 24 on, 24 off (in case half of us got wiped out). That's why I was doing the afternoon gig in the photo, subbing for Don Burns. Note the tape on the studio window to the left, put there to prevent shattering from ordnance percussions. Weeks later, after a nearby rocket attack, the window stayed in tact, but most of the ceiling tiles fell, spewing insulation throughout.

Like many, I endured the Army's penchant for snafu's. I enlisted for a broadcasting MOS; they spent six weeks teaching me to type in admin school at Ft. Dix (even though I already could type 65 words per minute); after a brief stint at an intelligence unit at Ft. Meade, MD, I was assigned to the personnel department at a military intelligence unit seven miles north of Saigon. After several months, I went into Saigon, auditioned, and was "hired" shortly thereafter. Strangely, my transfer happened the afternoon of the Tet Offensive. My former unit was blown away the next day. By the grace of God and some trusted informants, the unit was abandoned prior to the attack and all survived.

AFVN, Saigon, was actually about as good as it could get in 'Nam. We lived in a hotel, The Ky Son. Except for AFVN staffers, it's nine stories housed Aussies and New Zealanders, which made staying sober a real challenge! I complete my enlistment at Ft. Meade, MD, producing the U. S. Army Recruiting public service radio shows.

My broadcasting career was short-lived. It got me through high school, college, and the Army. I went on to a successful career in the advertising agency business and spend half my retirement in Florida and half in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Duke Miller

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wolfman Jack USAF 1974

These are some pretty good radio
Keep Howlin'

AFKN Ken Hissong 1968

Back to Yongsan, 1968 with "Vagabond on the Go".  I was there in 1976.  Every picture looked exactly the same.

AFKN - Ken Hissong - 1968


Thanks for posting.  By way of background.... the Air Force made me a cop after I enlisted in Jan '66. Aftewr humping around the SAC "Looking Glass" aircraft I applied to DINFOS in November '66 (hated Nebraska winters at Offutt AFB) and was accepted.  Went to DINFOS in Apr. '67 and got orders for Korea and AFKN in Dec. '67.  Between DINFOS graduation and transfer, I was neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat to my squadron.  I was still a cop but not a cop, wierd.

After AFKN I was assigned to a PIO office at Vandenberg AFB, CA. and was discharged in May '69 due to the Nixon drawdown.  I went back to the job I had before enlistment at WWJ-AM, FM-TV in Detroit.

Became a writer producer and retired in 1999 after working for all three network afils, plus Fox in Detroit as a news producer (in spite of what Capt. Joe Malloy thought at AFKN).

I could not have bought the experience I gained at AFKN for a million dollars.  Besides being on the air, I operated camera, "starred" in a daily kids TV show we produced and was FM program director for Radio Vagabond. 

To be honest, I envied my buddies who had gone on to college,  but after I got out I was so far up on the employment chain I never looked back.  As for the total experience...  it was the most fun you could have without taking your clothes off.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AFN Nightside - Craig Miller Features 1974

Just received a crate of master reels, mostly of Craig Miller's work at AFN. (Thanks Garry!!!) I'll be posting a lot of these, features, interviews and such. They don't make radio like this anymore.

1. The Eagles Nest
2. Redback Dollar
3. Great Canyon Caper
4. Invasion Of The Ants
5. Alligator Tongue Oil
6. John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert
7. Midnight Ride of Harvey Schudlapp

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top Pops again

I'm always going to remember grabbing this weeks hits and a bundle of Top Pops.  The TPs went the the stations every week 1962-75, making one pretty neat oldies collection.  When I see these, it's a lot like being back at the station.  What do you remember?

AFN 1954 Stickbuddy Jamboree

"I was with AFN 1954-1956 (Berlin and Frankfurt) and did a variety of shows....Hillbilly Gastehaus, Duffle Bag, etc. About the only tape I have left is a cassette of one show that went full-network. Great times at AFN those years. After discharge in 56, I went back to Texas radio where I had taken that "leave of absence" and worked briefly in Austin before joining KILT in 56.  On air PD till 62.  Then on air PD at WQXI Atlanta till 75. 75-85 owned part of a station in Valdosta, Ga.  Came to Carrollton, Ga. in 85 with WBTR.  Spent my last 10 years with 50,000 watt WKNG Carrollton before retiring in June of this year.  Total of 63 years in the business and with birthday #80 coming,  I figured that was enough.”  Red's a member of The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.