American Forces Network

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AFN TV logo

The American Forces Network (AFN) is the brand name used by the United States Armed Forces Radio and Television Service[1] (AFRTS, commonly pronounced "A-farts")[2][3][4][5] for its entertainment and command internal information networks worldwide. The AFN worldwide radio and television broadcast network serves American servicemen and women, Department of Defense and other US government civilians and their families stationed at bases overseas, as well as U.S. Navy ships at sea. AFN broadcasts popular American radio and television programs from the major U.S. networks. It is sometimes referred to as the Armed Forces Network. AFRTS, American Forces Network and AFN are registered trademarks of the U.S. Department of Defense. It is based out of Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.

Organization[edit]

The American Forces Network (AFN) is the operational arm of the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), an office of the Defense Media Activity (DMA). AFN falls under the operational control of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (OASD-PA). Editorial control is by the Department of Defense, whereas the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) for example, is independent of the Ministry of Defence and the British armed forces.

AFN employs military broadcasters as well as DoD civilians and contractors. Service personnel hold broadcasting occupational specialties for their military branch.

Since 1997, all of AFN's military personnel receive primary training at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. Prior to 1997, DINFOS was located at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1997, Fort Benjamin Harrison was largely closed as a function of the 1991 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Additional/Advanced training is also available at Fort George G. Meade.

Some of AFN's broadcasters have previous commercial broadcasting experience prior to enlisting in the military, but it is not a prerequisite for enlistment in the military as a broadcaster. During their training, the broadcasters are taught to use state-of-the-art audio and visual editing equipment similar to their civilian counterparts.

AFN management is located at DMA headquarters, Fort George G. Meade. Day-to-day AFN broadcast operations are conducted at the AFN Broadcast Center/Defense Media Center in Riverside, California, from where all global radio and television satellite feeds emanate.

History[edit]

The American Forces Network can trace its origins back to May 26, 1942, when the War Department established the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS).[6] A television service was first introduced in 1954 with a "pilot" station at Limestone AFB, Maine. In 1954, the television mission of AFRS was officially recognized and AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) became AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service).[6] All of the Armed Forces broadcasting affiliates worldwide merged under the AFN banner on 1 January 1998. On November 21, 2000, The American Forces Information Service directed a change of the AFRTS organizational title from Armed Forces Radio and Television Service back to American Forces Radio and Television Service. A timeline of the history of AFN is available online.[7]

Origins[edit]

KODK began broadcasting from the US Army base Fort Greely at Kodiak, Alaska prior to the actual inception of the AFRS. Ft Greeley was built to defend and was an integral part of the Kodiak Naval Air Station, sometimes called Naval Operating Base. Construction of both was underway in 1940. The Naval Station and AFRS radio remained in operation, but Ft. Greely closed at the end of WWII. Years later the name Fort Greely was resurrected for the Big Delta (near Delta Junction) Army base. The small town of Kodiak, located 6 miles away, had no radio station, while Anchorage and Fairbanks. where Army and Army Air Force bases soon would be established had civilian radio stations. Thus KODK had a primary role to bring radio to the armed forces and civilians in the Kodiak area. The sign-off at KODK was the memorable "Goodnight Sweetheart" set to a stirring melody from List's Les Preludes. The station lived on to bring the first television to Kodiak.

The first radio station began in Delta Jct, Alaska on what was then known as Ft. Greely. It was called KODK and was operated by on base personnel. In the years just preceding World War II there were several radio stations based in American military bases, but none were officially recognized until 1942. The success of these individual radio stations helped pave the way for the AFN. As such, there was no single station that could be called the "first" to sign on as an AFN station. About two months before formal establishment of AFN, however, a station called "PCAN" began regular broadcast information service in the Panama Canal Zone, primarily for troops on jungle bivouac. The station, located at Fort Clayton, was later to become part of AFRS, first simply as "Armed Forces Network" located at Albrook Field.

World War II[edit]

The U.S. Army began broadcasting from London during World War II, using equipment and studio facilities borrowed from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The first transmission to U.S. troops began at 5:45 p.m. on July 4, 1943 and included less than five hours of recorded shows, a BBC news and sports broadcast. That day, Corporal Syl Binkin became the first U.S. Military broadcaster heard over the air. The signal was sent from London via telephone lines to five regional transmitters to reach U.S. troops in the United Kingdom as they made preparations for the inevitable invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Fearing competition for civilian audiences the BBC initially tried to impose restrictions on AFN broadcasts within Britain (transmissions were only allowed from American Bases outside London and were limited to 50 watts of transmission power) and a minimum quota of British produced programming had to be carried. Nevertheless AFN programmes were widely enjoyed by the British civilian listeners who could receive them and once AFN operations transferred to continental Europe (shortly after D-Day) AFN were able to broadcast with little restriction with programmes available to civilian audiences across most of Europe (including Britain) after dark.

As D-Day approached, the network joined with the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to develop programs especially for the Allied Expeditionary Forces. Mobile stations, complete with personnel, broadcasting equipment, and a record library were deployed to broadcast music and news to troops in the field. The mobile stations reported on front line activities and fed the news reports back to studio locations in London.

Although the network's administrative headquarters remained in London, its operational headquarters soon moved to AFN Paris.

As Allied forces continued to push German soldiers back into their homeland, AFN moved east as well. The liberation of most of Western Europe saw AFN stations serving the forces liberating Biarritz, Cannes, Le Havre, Marseille, Nice, Paris, and Reims.

Post war contraction and expansion[edit]

On 10 July 1945, the first AFN station in occupied Germany started broadcasting, the AFN Munich. Its first broadcast was however incorrect as it began with the sentence "Good morning! This is AFN Munich, the voice of the 7th Army!". General George S. Patton, commander of the 3rd Army, was furious with the opening as his army had taken control over Munich the previous night, and demanded that the responsible person be court-martialed.[8][9]

On December 31, 1945, AFN London signed off the air, and in 1948 AFN closed all its stations in France. This started the cycle of AFN stations where they would be built up during wartime then torn down or moved after the war was over. Of the 300 stations in operation worldwide in 1945, only 60 remained in 1949.

Post-War Europe[edit]

A large number of AFN stations continued broadcasting from American bases in Europe (particularly Germany) after World War II. (Eight remain on-air today. See German Wikipedia).

During the Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949, planes headed for Tempelhof in West Berlin tuned their radios to AFN-Berlin because the station's transmission tower was in the glidepath to the airfield and was not jammed by the Soviets.

During the 1950s and 60's civilian audiences in Europe widely listened to AFN, as American music was very popular but rarely played on most European broadcasting stations (which at the time were largely state operated). This was particularly the case in Communist bloc countries, where (despite the language barrier) it was seen as an alternative way of maintaining contact with the west, and had the added bonus of not being subjected to radio jamming unlike such stations as Radio Free Europe which carried news in Eastern European languages.

Especially popular was 'Music in the Air,' which aired on the full European network at 19:00 CET. The host was the AFN-Frankfurt (civilian) manager, John Vrotsos, who had an especially warm baritone voice, and began each program after an introductory piano phrase from the theme, "Listen...[pause for more piano]...there's music in the air." The theme was "Music Everywhere" in an arrangement by Victor Young.

In France, about a dozen AFN stations operated, with AFN Orléans, equipped with studios, as the control station. The network broadcast music, shows, news relayed from AFN Frankfurt, locally produced shows and other features aimed at the American soldiers and their families stationed in France. In particular, a whole team of reporters and technicians was sent to Le Mans to report the 24 hours race, at a time when Ford was doing its best to beat the Ferraris, and finally succeeded. AFN France consisted in 50 watts, frequency modulated transmitters purchased from a French manufacturer (TRT) type OZ 305. The network employed a technical director, a program director, several American broadcast professionals on military duty, and some French studio operators, record librarians, secretaries and maintenance technicians. The program was fed from AFN Orléans studios to the slave transmitters via modulation lines rented from the French postmaster. AFN France was dismantled in 1967, when the US Forces left France, due to the French government's decision, under General Charles DeGaulle, to withdraw its forces from NATO's military command. The French employees were dismissed. They were granted a severance pay (in French francs and taxable) of one month per year of service, paid by the US Army to the French government, in dollars (all the French employees were managed by a specially created service: le Bureau d'Aide aux Armées Alliées AAA).[citation needed]

Korean War[edit]

When war broke out in Korea, Army broadcasters set up in Seoul, in the Banto Hotel (the old American Embassy Hotel). When the Chinese entered Seoul in December, 1950, the crew moved to a mobile unit that was just completed and retreated to Daegu, South Korea. Due to the large number of American troops in Korea, a number of stations were also started. Mobile units followed combat units to provide news and entertainment on the radio. By the time the 1953 armistice was signed, these mobile units became buildings with transmitters, and a network, American Forces Korea Network, was born.

Canadian and American television personality Jim Perry began his broadcasting career fresh out of high school with the Armed Forces Korea Network, under his birthname of Jim Dooley, spending one year in Korea before moving on to the University of Pennsylvania to advance his education.

Iran[edit]

An AFRTS radio station, and later a television station, became operational in Tehran in the late 1950s. The office and the equipment were stationed in Saltanat-abad area of Tehran. Its listeners (and viewers) were American military personnel stationed in Iran as part of ARMISH and MAAG programs, as well as non-military Iranians and foreigners residing in Iran. The AFRTS ceased to operate on 25 October 1976 the day prior to the Shah's 57th birthday. Radio 1555 closed with presenter Air Force Staff Sergeant Barry Cantor playing as the last record: Roger Whittaker's 'Durham Town' (The Leaving). This was followed by a closing announcement by Chief Master Sergeant and Station Manager: Bob Woodruff ("After 22 years of audio broadcasting and 17 years of telecasting in Tehran, AFRTS Radio 1555 and TV Channel 7 cease all operations in this country at this time").[10] The station closed with the American National Anthem.[11] On 26 October 1976 state broadcaster National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) began operating a new International Service.

Vietnam[edit]

As the American military presence in Vietnam increased, AFRTS opened radio and later television stations there.[12]

AFRTS stations in Vietnam were initially known by the name "AFRS" (Armed Forces Radio Saigon), but as the number of stations quickly expanded throughout South Vietnam became known as "AFVN" (American Forces Vietnam Network)[12] and had several stations including Qui Nhơn, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Da Nang and Huế, the latter being overrun by the NVA in 1968 and replaced by a station in Quảng Trị. AFVN's headquarters station was located in Saigon.

In Vietnam, AFVN had a number of war related casualties. After a fierce fire fight that killed two soldiers and a civilian contractor, the remaining AFVN station staff at Huế was captured and spent five years as prisoners of war. At the height of American involvement in the war, Armed Forces Vietnam Network served over 500,000 fighting men and women at one time. AFVN developed a program along the lines of "GI Jive" from World War II. A number of local disc jockeys helped make hour-long music programs for broadcast. Perhaps the best known program became the morning "Dawn Buster" program, (the brainchild of Chief Petty Officer Bryant Arbuckle in 1962) thanks to the popularity of the sign-on slogan "Gooooood Morning, Vietnam" (which was initiated by Adrian Cronauer and later became the basis for the film Good Morning, Vietnam starring Robin Williams). Among the notable people who were AFVN disc jockeys were Lee Hansen and Pat Sajak. Beginning in 1971 AFVN began to close some stations in Vietnam. The last station to close was the key station in Saigon in 1973. Broadcasting continued under civilian leadership on FM only and using the acronym ARS for American Radio Service. The civilian engineers were provided by Pacific Architects and Engineers [PAE]. ARS stayed on the air until the fall of Saigon in April 1975. It famously played Irving Berlin's White Christmas as a signal for Americans to leave the city as the fall of Saigon approached.

Thailand[edit]

In Thailand, the Department of Defense began the planning for the Armed Forces Thailand Network in 1964 with Project Lamplighter and Project Limelight. By late 1966, implementation of the network began by the US Air Force with stations on the air at Korat, U-Tapao, Ubon, Udon, Tahkli, and Nahkon Phanom (NKP). In addition, there were more than 20 satellite stations that rebroadcast one or more of the primary stations and that included one or more clandestine locations in Laos.

In April 1970, a battle-damaged F-4 Phantom II fighter-bomber, returning from a reconnaissance mission to survey a road being built by the Chinese toward Burma in northwest Laos, crashed into the AFTN station, killing nine of the Air Force broadcasters. This incident was the single worst catastrophe in the history of military broadcasting.

AFTN became the American Forces Thailand Network in the summer of 1969, and continued operations until the spring of 1976 when the remaining US troops in Thailand were withdrawn at the request of the Thai government. More than 600 broadcasters from the Air Force, Navy, and Army had served during the ten years that AFTN operated.

The history of AFTN can be found at the www.aftn.net web site along with a memorial to the nine broadcasters who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Taiwan[edit]

Prior to 1979, the AFN branch in Taiwan was Armed Forces Network Radio Taiwan (AFNRT), which had a main station in Yangmingshan American Military Housing, Taipei. After the US Armed Forces withdrew all its troops stationed in Taiwan (including the United States Taiwan Defense Command), the station was reorganized under the name of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) by the American business community and the ROC government. Today, ICRT is the only English-language radio service in Taiwan.

Caribbean[edit]

American Forces Radio and Television broadcast radio and television programming on Puerto Rico from Ramey Air Force Base and primarily from studios at U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (now decommissioned) as the American Forces Caribbean Network from the 1960s through the 1970s. Programming was also transmitted over a repeater transmitter located at San Juan.

Central America[edit]

Radio, and later television, to U.S. troops stationed in the Panama Canal Zone was provided initially by Armed Forces Radio (AFN) at Albrook Field and later as the Caribbean Forces Network at Fort Clayton with translators located on the Atlantic side of the Canal Zone. In the early 1960s with reorganization of the command located in the Canal Zone, CFN became the Southern Command Network (SCN). SCN also broadcast to U.S. troops stationed in Honduras starting in 1987. SCN discontinued broadcasting in 1999 just before the turnover of the Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama when U.S. troops were removed from that country pursuant to the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

AFN Honduras, which began in 1987 as SCN Honduras, currently broadcasts from Soto Cano Air Base on 106.5 FM, and serves more than 600 American service members stationed at the installation, as well as numerous civilian employees and contractors. The station's primary mission is radio, originating programming including two daily live shows following the "Eagle" format. Personnel also occasionally produce video news packages. As of January 15, 2013, AFN Honduras is one of 18 stations under the operational control of AFN Europe.

Shortwave Radio[edit]

With the advent of satellite broadcasting, AFRTS has shifted its emphasis away from shortwave. Currently, the U.S. Navy provides the only shortwave single sideband shortwave AFN radio broadcasts via relay sites around the world to provide service to ships, including Diego Garcia, Guam, Sigonella in Italy, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and others.

AFN Television Services[edit]

European operations[edit]

Until the early 1970s, U.S. military television service was provided in Central Europe by Air Force Television at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. In the early 1970s, AFN assumed this responsibility for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). On October 28, 1976, AFN television moved from AFTV's old black and white studios at Ramstein to the network's new color television studios in Frankfurt. In the 1980s the network added affiliates with studio capabilities in Würzburg, Germany, and Soesterberg, the Netherlands. In 2004, AFN Europe headquarters relocated to Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany.

Pacific operations[edit]

Over-the-air TV for U.S. Forces in the Pacific is currently provided by AFN-Korea, AFN-Japan and AFN-Kwajalein. All local operations merged under the AFN banner effective January 1, 1998.

Korea[edit]

AFN-Korea, formerly American Forces Korea Network (AFKN), was the largest of AFN's Pacific TV operations, although there are also AM and FM operations from military bases around Korea. AFKN began TV operations on September 15, 1957, and consisted of an originating studio at Yongsan Garrison, Seoul, and six relay transmitters throughout the peninsula. AFKN's first live television newscast aired on January 4, 1959. Until December 2007, the channel was widely available to non-military audiences on cable television, but following complaints from US companies trying to sell programs in South Korea, USFK requested that the Korean Broadcasting Commission direct the removal of Pacific Prime from the Korean cable lineups.[13] American Forces Network-Korea discontinued analog over-the-air TV broadcast May 1, 2012, due to request from the Korean government since many local residents could receive current over-the-air U.S. network programming, resulting in decreased sales of U.S. programs to Korean stations.[14]

Japan[edit]

AFN-Japan, formerly the Far East Network (FEN), has one full-power VHF terrestrial TV outlet. Located on Okinawa atop the Rycom Plaza Housing area in the central part of the island, AFN-Okinawa's (U.S. channel 8) TV signal serves Marines, Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, and their families stationed on-island. AFN-Japan also operates three low-power UHF terrestrial transmitters at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Commander U.S Fleet Activities Sasebo, and Misawa Air Base. TV viewers on military bases in the Tokyo and Kanto Plain area of Japan can view AFN via contractor-operated base cable TV services, or through AFN Direct-To-Home (DTH) dishes if they reside off-base.

AFN-Japan's radio services consist of AM and FM stereo operations at Yokota Air Base (810 AM & cable FM), MCAS Iwakuni (1575 AM), FLTACTS Sasebo (1575 AM), Okinawa (648 AM & 89.1 FM) and Misawa Air Base (1575 AM).

Kwajalein Atoll[edit]

AFN-Kwajalein at the Reagan Missile Test Range on Kwajalein Atoll is the only civilian-run affiliate in AFN, broadcasting on U.S. channel 13 for military personnel and civilian contractor employees and their families. AFN-Kwajalein's signal is beamed by microwave to the nearby atoll of Roi Namur and rebroadcast on channel 8.

With the availability of AFN's DTH service, terrestrial over-the-air TV broadcasts at all AFN outlets are slated for deactivation in the near future.

Gulf War[edit]

In January 1991, the network dispatched news teams and technicians to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. These broadcasters reported to families of soldiers deployed from Europe, and staffed a number of the U.S. radio stations making up the Armed Forces Desert Network. The first song on the air after the start of the ground offensive was Rock the Casbah by The Clash.

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit]

AFN Iraq on-air radio studio. Baghdad, Iraq (April 2004).

AFN-Iraq began broadcasting in December 2003 on the FM band shortly after the fall of Saddam. The first song on the air was Freedom by Paul McCartney. Within a short period of time, Freedom Radio was broadcasting on multiple FM channels from as far south as Basra to as far north as Mosul.

AFN-Iraq, Freedom Radio began as a joint effort between the Air Force, the Marines, and the Army. The very first unit to operate the station was the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment, an Army Reserve unit out of Southern California. "Always There and On The Air" was the phrase that started it all, even though there were only 8 hours of live radio to kick things off.

After an introduction from Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the Commander of Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq, Air Force Master Sergeant Erik Brazones was the first DJ on the air. When the 222nd BOD took the reins of the radio operations, the first two regular radio shows were "Niki Cage in the morning" and "Abbey in the Afternoon".

Operation Enduring Freedom[edit]

AFN Afghanistan operates out of a building on Bagram Air Base. Its radio frequency throughout Afghanistan is 94.1 and 97.1 in Manas and produces live local shows. Its first radio transmission was at 0630 on Friday, July 21, 2006. Beyond radio AFN Afghanistan also does television news. It produces a daily 5 minute newscast which is called Freedom Watch Afghanistan and airs on the Pentagon Channel.

The station is typically staffed with Air Force broadcasters but also slots Army, Navy and Marine broadcasters as well. For support there is usually a four-man team of engineers to handle all transmission, decoder, and satellite issues.

Operations in Western Europe[edit]

AFN in Germany and SEB (Southern European Broadcasting) in Italy provided broadcasting to U.S. troops in Western Europe throughout the Cold War. The U.S. defense drawdown began in earnest after the Gulf War, and impacted AFN stations across Europe, as many stations were consolidated or deactivated with the closing of bases. In Europe, AFN is still on the air from Tuzla, Bosnia and Taszár, Hungary to inform and entertain U.S. forces.

AFN went on the air May 29 with service at the Tirana airport in Albania with satellite decoders and large screen televisions placed in high traffic areas. At the same time, the AFN also advanced into the Yugoslav province of Kosovo along with NATO.

AFN viewers abroad witnessed live television coverage of the terrorist attacks on The Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

During military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq AFN provided non-stop coverage of the campaigns. AFN broadcast personnel from Europe deployed with the troops to cover events. Today AFN has a staffed affiliate in Iraq, AFN-Baghdad (launched 2003).

Wherever large numbers of US troops are deployed, the AFN sets up operation, providing news and entertainment from home. Today AFN has several satellites and uses advanced digital compression technology to broadcast TV and radio to 177 countries and territories, as well as on board U.S. Navy vessels.

Media services[edit]

Plans for transitioning AFN TV to high definition (HD) in phases have been ongoing with an estimated completion time frame of 2015-2017. So far, AFN has added one HD channel with more being planned. However, HD is an expensive project, so timelines and actual transition of channels is highly dependent on availability of funds.With the additional DoD budget cuts looming, this project could easily be required to slip. However, AFN is continuing to research more efficient delivery methods in hopes of continuing along the planned path.

AFN's television service is broadcast in standard North American NTSC format of 525 lines. All programming delivered by satellite is PowerVu encrypted DVB. While programming is provided to AFN by major American TV networks and program syndicators at little to no-cost, for copyright and licensing reasons it is intended solely for U.S. Forces personnel, authorized Department of Defense civilian employees, State Department diplomatic personnel, and their families overseas.

AFN-TV is available to authorized viewers by "Direct-To-Home" (DTH) service with set-top decoders purchased or leased through military exchanges (similar to a membership store), licensed/contracted commercial cable operators, purchased used from other military members (the cheapest option) or terrestrial signal. The advent of DTH service coincides with the phasing-out of AFN terrestrial TV broadcasts due to reclamation of frequencies by host nations.

AFN programming[edit]

While the audience tunes into AFN to watch their favorite shows or listen to the latest Stateside hits, entertainment is the "candy coating" used to attract the military viewer/listener. AFN's primary mission is to provide access for worldwide, regional and local command information (CI) spots, which air during commercial breaks in programming instead of commercial advertisements. These CI spots run the gamut from reminding servicemembers to register to vote, promoting local command-sponsored recreation events & off-duty educational programs, providing health and wellness tips, and listing what's playing at local base movie theaters.

AFN also inserts public service announcements from the Ad Council. Some of the 35 overseas AFN affiliates have the capability to cover the "worldwide" CI spots placed by the AFN Broadcast Center in California with regional or locally produced CI spots (such as localized messages from senior leadership).

Many service members welcome this approach, while others find it troublesome, especially during the airing of the Super Bowl.

The network is allowed to broadcast commercial movie promotion trailers provided by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and the Navy Motion Picture Service (NMPS) to promote the latest film releases in base theaters worldwide. Previously these were the only true "commercials" authorized for broadcast.

AFN Radio and TV schedules are available at myafn.net.

Radio[edit]

AFN also offers a variety of radio programming over its various frequencies throughout the world. Not only is there local programming (with military disc jockeys), but there is satellite programming, as well. Music programming spans Classic Rock, Rhythmic R&B, Jack FM, and country music. Ryan Seacrest's AT 40, The Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40 and the American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks are broadcast weekly over AFN Radio. In addition to music, AFN broadcasts syndicated talk radio programs such as Car Talk, The Bob and Sheri Show, Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, Kim Komando, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Motley Fool Radio Show, A Prairie Home Companion, Doug Stephan,Titillating Sports with Rick Tittle, Sports Overnight America, and other programs from a variety of sources. Weekly religious programming is offered to AFN stations via closed-circuit.

On December 5, 2005, liberal/progressive Ed Schultz and conservative talk show host Sean Hannity were added to the radio programs provided by the AFN Broadcast Center to its affiliate stations. Liberal Alan Colmes rounds out the political talk lineup on The Voice channel.

On April 24, 2006, AFN Europe launched AFN The Eagle, a virtually 24-hour-a-day radio service format initially modeled after "Jack FM" but most recently a "Hot AC" format. This replaced ZFM, which had more of a CHR flavor. When the Eagle was launched AFN Europe took control of what local DJs could play.

Altogether, AFN produces 10 general-use streams for AFN stations to use. Of these, five are music-based, two are sports-based, and three general news/talk channels, including The Voice, which features live play-by-play of American sports (it's also the one heard on shortwave, if the shortwave radio has Single sideband (also known as SSB) installed). How these stations use these formats is up to them. These formats are:

  • Hot AC (mainstream hits and yesterday's favorites)
  • Today's Best Country (country/western)
  • Gravity (urban rhythmic)
  • AFN Legacy - Deep Classic Rock Gems
  • MAX FM ('80s, '90s)
  • The Voice (News, Talk and Information)
  • AFN Clutch (sports programming from ESPN and Yahoo! Sports Radio)
  • AFN Fans (sports programming from FOX Sports Radio and Sports Byline USA)
  • Power Talk (liberal and conservative talk programming)
  • NPR (public radio programs from NPR and others)

Television[edit]

Like its radio counterpart, AFN TV tries to air programming from a variety of sources to replicate programming on a typical U.S. TV channel; sourcing from U.S. commercial networks (including PBS), and program syndicators at little to no-cost since AFN does not air commercials and in that regards cannot profit from airing shows like stations in the U.S. can. In their place, AFN inserts public service announcements on various subjects; these can be civilian "agency spots" created by The Ad Council, nationally-recognized religious and public health charities, AFN's own "command information" spots produced by the AFRTS Radio-Television Production Office (RTPO), or announcements by a regional/local AFN affiliate. The most common PSAs shown deal with sexual harassment, public health and safety, force protection/anti-terrorism, pride in service, and messages to the troops.

AFN produces and broadcasts eight core satellite television channels in NTSC color. They are accessible to both military and foreign service personnel abroad. All 8 feeds are accessible in core areas, including but not limited to European, Korean, and Japanese posts. Much of the rest of the world is limited to a smaller but more widespread naval broadcast.

Channels[edit]

Unless specified, the first telecast of each channel targets the Japan/Korea region, then replayed several hours later for the Central European time zone.

  • AFN Prime. Formerly AFN Atlantic and AFN Pacific. The standard AFN feed airs current sitcoms, dramas, syndicated "judge" shows, talk shows, game shows, and reality shows popular in the United States, with a time delay from 24 hours to 6 months or more behind the United States airdates. In addition, popular US soap operas such as General Hospital are aired by AFN on a one-week tape delay. This stream is divided into three feeds (AFN Prime Atlantic, AFN Prime Freedom (Middle East), and AFN Prime Pacific); the difference between the three is that they are time-shifted so that programs air at the same local time in each of the major regions served: Japan/Korea, Central Europe and Iraq. Many regional feeds (such as AFN-Europe and AFN-Korea) are based on AFN Prime and add local programming to it; thus, in a way, AFN Prime mimics the regular network TV concept. AFN Prime Pacific footage of the Late Show with David Letterman and of The Oprah Winfrey Show are used by Brazilian cable channel GNT for rebroadcasting of the programs in the country, usually with a one-week delay behind the original U.S. air date.
  • AFN Spectrum. AFN Spectrum started out as more of a conservative culture-oriented channel with programming from cable networks and classic TV series. In a way, it mimicked the "superstation" concept from cablecasters TBS and WGN America. However the Spectrum lineup currently contains more conventional programming, like American Idol and Ugly Betty, as some of the public television and classic fare that made up Spectrum is being reduced but remain the primary constant on the channel.
  • AFN Xtra. Launched in February 2006, AFN Xtra is young adult oriented channel with shows from Comedy Central, VH1, MTV, and more. It is AFN's exclusive home for UFC and WWE programming, including all Pay-Per-View events, as well as motor sports including NASCAR, NHRA, Motocross and other auto and motorcycle racing series. AFN Xtra also airs sports programming on the weekends and for eight hours a day on the weekdays.
  • AFN News. AFN News is a rolling-news channel providing news from all major news outlets. Newscasts, such as the NBC Nightly News, Fox News, ABC World News Tonight, and CBS Evening News, were all scheduled to air in the mornings so viewers could watch the headlines live, but now they air on a tape delay in the regular early evening slot, back to back.
  • AFN Family/AFN Pulse. AFN Family is a general entertainment channel providing programming for children 2–17 years old. Although the name of the channel suggests programming appropriate for all family members at any time, the channel more closely resembles ABC Family or Nickelodeon, with programming targeted at specific age groups during the course of the day. Programming during the day targets pre-schoolers but "ages" as older children become available to watch in the afternoon after school. By 8:00 p.m. local time, programming is targeted at older teens. In September 2013, AFN launched a split in Family, which was branded AFN Pulse. Approximately half of the day's programming remains aimed at the 2-13 age group. During primetime hours, the channel becomes AFN Pulse, and showcases programming primarily aimed at the older teen demographic, though it remains suitable for family viewing.
  • AFN Movie. AFN Movie is a channel showcasing movies as well as film-oriented programming. It is targeted primarily at adults and contains programs with a parental rating from TV-G to TV-MA.
  • AFN Sports. AFN Sports is a rolling-sports channel, providing sports news and events, including ESPN's SportsCenter and live and delayed broadcasts of the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, MLB, NHL, NCAA College Football, men and women's NCAA College Basketball, FIFA Soccer, and PGA Tour, as well as other highly rated team competitions.
  • AFN Sports HD. AFN Sports is also now available in digital high definition using the new Cisco D9865 receiver/decoder.
  • Pentagon Channel. This is the only AFN channel that is available in the USA to the general public. It airs Department of Defense military news and information programming 24 hours a day.

Frequencies and transmitters[edit]

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Germany[edit]

Table of AFN-transmitters in Germany. Table may be incorrect and incomplete. Please correct and expand if necessary.

AM[edit]

Frequency Power Location Description of transmitter site Geographical location Remarks
873 kHz 150 kW Weisskirchen 3 guyed lattice steel masts insulated against ground, height: 86 meters (282 ft), Directional Antenna Mode 50°10'59"N 8°36'45"E shut down on May 31, 2013
1107 kHz 10 kW Grafenwöhr 66-meter-tall (217 ft) guyed tubular steel mast insulated against ground, dismantled in 2009 49°42'47"N 11°54'42"E
1107 kHz 10 kW Vilseck 65-meter-tall (213 ft) guyed tubular steel mast insulated against ground 49°38'41"N 11°47'1"E
1107 kHz 10 kW Berlin-Dahlem 126-meter-tall (413 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 52°27'47"N 13°17'26"E demolished on December 14, 1996
1107 kHz 10 kW Nürnberg 122-meter-tall (400 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground shut down
1107 kHz 10 kW Otterbach 136-meter-tall (446 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 49°29'27"N 7°43'3"E
1107 kHz 40 kW Ismaning 2 guyed lattice steel masts insulated against ground, height: 94 meters (308 ft) 48°14'40"N 11°44'42"E shut down
1143 kHz 1 kW Bitburg 54-meter-tall (177 ft) guyed mast radiator 49°56'35"N 6°32'29"E
1143 kHz 5 kW Bremerhaven 65-meter-tall (213 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 10 kW Hirschlanden 40-meter-tall (130 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 48°49'43"N 9°2'11"E Telekom transmitter
1143 kHz 1 kW Heidelberg 65-meter (213 ft) guyed tubular steel mast insulated against ground 49°25'58"N 8°38'42"E
1143 kHz 1 kW Hof 45-meter-tall (148 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 1 kW Karlsruhe 61-meter-tall (200 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 1 kW Mönchengladbach 45.5-meter-tall (149 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 51°10'2"N 6°23'56"E
1143 kHz 300 W Göppingen 37-meter-tall (121 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Würzburg 40-meter-tall (130 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 49°47'26"N 9°58'54"E shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Bamberg 40-meter-tall (130 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 49°53'17"N 10°55'24"E
1143 kHz 300 W Schweinfurt T-antenna between 2 40-meter-tall (130 ft)? free-standing lattice towers 50°3'6"N 10°10'31"E
1143 kHz 300 W Bad Kissingen 48-meter-tall (157 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Wildflecken 45-meter-tall (148 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Fulda 54-meter-tall (177 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Bad Hersfeld 25-meter-tall (82 ft) free-standing tower insulated against ground shut down
1143 kHz 300 W Giessen 61-meter-tall (200 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 50°35'27"N 8°43'6"E shut down
1485 kHz 1 kW Augsburg 56-meter-tall (184 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 48°21'8"N 10°51'19"E shut down, mast was demolished in 2008
1485 kHz 300 W Crailsheim 65-meter-tall (213 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down
1485 kHz 300 W Hohenfels 40-meter-tall (130 ft) guyed lattice steel mast insulated against ground 49°13'14"N 11°51'12"E
1485 kHz 300 W Ansbach 67-meter-tall (220 ft) guyed tubular steel mast insulated against ground 49°19'17"N 10°35'44"E
1485 kHz 300 W Regensburg Long wire antenna on wooden 20-meter (66 ft) tower shut down
1485 kHz 300 W Garmisch-Partenkirchen 30-meter-tall (98 ft) guyed mast radiator 47°28'58"N 11°3'20"E
1485 kHz 300 W Berchtesgaden 34-meter-tall (112 ft) guyed mast radiator shut down

FM[edit]

Frequency Power Location Description of transmitter site geographical location Remarks
87.7 MHz 0.1 kW Schweinfurt
87.9 MHz 1 kW Berlin now used by Star FM Maximum Rock
89.9 MHz 0.245 kW Amberg
90.3 MHz Garmisch-Partenkirchen
90.3 MHz 0.02 kW Prien shut down
92.2 MHz Memmingen shut down
92.9 MHz Garlstedt shut down
93.5 MHz 1 kW Sögel shut down
93.5 MHz Hohenfels
96.5 MHz Helmstedt shut down
97.7 MHz 0.1 kW Bad Aibling shut down
98.5 MHz 0.1 kW Grafenwoehr
98.7 MHz 50 kW Grosser Feldberg moved to a higher antenna and reduced from 60 kW
98.7 MHz Birkenfeld shut down
98.9 MHz 0.1 kW Bamberg
100 MHz 15 kW Augsburg
100.2 MHz 5 kW Kaiserslautern-Vogelweh
102.3 MHz 100 kW Stuttgart 193-meter-tall (633 ft) concrete tower 48°45'49"N 9°12'20"E Telekom transmitter
102.6 MHz Schwäbisch Gmünd shut down
102.6 MHz Ulm shut down
103.0 MHz 0.5 kW Pirmasens
104.1 MHz Grafenwöhr
104.6 MHz 0.375 kW Heidelberg Aerial on AM broadcasting mast 49°25'58"N 8°38'42"E
104.9 MHz Illesheim
104.9 MHz 0.16 kW Würzburg Aerial on AM broadcasting mast 49°47'26"N 9°58'54"E shut down
105.1 MHz Spangdahlem Aerial on AM broadcasting mast 49°56'35"N 6°32'29"E
105.1 MHz Rheinberg shut down
105.2 MHz Hessisch Oldendorf shut down
106.1 MHz Kalkar shut down
106.1 MHz Baumholder
106.5 MHz Flensburg shut down
107.3 MHz 0.05 kW Heidelberg
107.3 MHz 1 kW Ansbach
107.3 MHz Mannheim-Käfertal
107.4 MHz 0.3 kW Fürth shut down
107.6 MHz Bad Godesberg shut down
107.7 MHz Vilseck
107.9 MHz Bremerhaven shut down

The AFN transmitters in Germany are operated by different authorities but most are operated directly by the U.S. military. Some are the property of Deutsche Telekom, while others are controlled by German public broadcasting corporations.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia[edit]

Table of AFN-transmitters in Saudi Arabia. Table may be incorrect and incomplete. Please correct and expand if necessary.

FM[edit]

[15]

Frequency Power Signal Type City Transmitter site Approximate Geographical Location Channel Name (Slogan) Genre
103.1 MHz 100 W Mono Riyadh Eskan Village (Al-Kharj Rd.) 24°34′59″N 46°51′39″E / 24.58306°N 46.86083°E / 24.58306; 46.86083 Voice Channel (NPR News) News, Talkshows, Jazz & Oldies
103.9 MHz 100 W Mono Riyadh Eskan Village (Al-Kharj Rd.) // Mainstream Country Country
105.1 MHz 100 W Mono Riyadh Eskan Village (Al-Kharj Rd.) // Z Rock Alternative rock
105.9 MHz 100 W Mono Riyadh Eskan Village (Al-Kharj Rd.) // Gravity Urban Rhythmic (R&B, Pop & Hip-Hop)
107.9 MHz 100 W Mono Riyadh Eskan Village (Al-Kharj Rd.) // Hot AC (Today's Best Hits) Young adult alternative/80's and 90's
103.1 MHz 21 W Stereo Riyadh Riyadh U.S. Embassy 24°40′52″N 46°37′13″E / 24.68111°N 46.62028°E / 24.68111; 46.62028 Voice Channel (NPR News) News, Talkshows, Jazz & Oldies
105.1 MHz 10 W Stereo Riyadh Riyadh U.S. Embassy // Z Rock Alternative rock
107.9 MHz 30 W Stereo Riyadh Riyadh U.S. Embassy // Mainstream Country Country
93.7 MHz 250 W Mono Jeddah Jeddah U.S. Embassy 21°31′33″N 39°09′52″E / 21.52583°N 39.16444°E / 21.52583; 39.16444 Hot AC (Today's Best Hits) Young adult alternative/80's and 90's
100.7 MHz 250 W - Jeddah Jeddah U.S. Embassy // Voice Channel (NPR News) News, Talkshows, Jazz & Oldies
103.9 MHz 50 W Stereo Jeddah Jeddah U.S. Embassy // Jack FM 1980s & 1990s
91.4 MHz 250 W Stereo Dhahran Saudi Aramco // News, Hot AC (Today's Best Hits) Young adult alternative/'80s and '90s

The AFN FM Transmitters in Saudi Arabia is managed by two authorities, the U.S. military and Saudi Aramco.

Iraq - "Freedom Radio"[edit]

[All Freedom Radio-Iraq stations went off the air on September 30, 2011 as a result of the continuing draw-down of U.S. Military personnel. Listing remains to document the coverage of Iraq.]

Spain[edit]

Radio: AFN Rota Radio - The Eagle

  • 92.1 FM: Moron Air Base in Moron de la Frontera, Seville. ( 0.015 kW)

SHAPE (Belgium)[edit]

Television: AFN Prime Atlantic/AFN Benelux (NTSC)

Radio: AFN Benelux

  • 101.7 FM: Everberg, Kortenberg (900 W)
  • 106.2 FM: Kleine Brogel, Peer (200 W)
  • 104.2 FM: SHAPE, Casteau (4 kW)
  • 107.7 FM: Florennes (100 W)

AFN Benelux - The Eagle

  • 101.7 FM: Brussels (Evere)
  • 107.9 FM: Chièvres (100 W)
  • 106.5 FM: SHAPE, Casteau (200 W)

South Korea[edit]

Television[edit]

NOTE: All over-the-air television broadcasts in South Korea ended in May 2012. The following are previous stations.

AM Radio (Thunder AM)[edit]

FM Radio (AFN Eagle)[edit]

resource:[16]

Italy[edit]

Japan[edit]

Honduras[edit]

Shortwave (USB)[edit]

  • Diego Garcia:
    • 12,579 kHz daytime
    • 4,319 kHz nighttime
  • Guam:
    • 13,362 kHz daytime
    • 5,765 kHz nighttime
  • Key West, Florida: (decommissioned)
    • 12,133.5 kHz day & night
    • 7,811.0 kHz day & night
    • 5,446.5 kHz day & night
  • Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (site currently out of service):
    • 10,320 kHz daytime
    • 6,350 kHz nighttime

See: AFN Shortwave Frequencies

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AFRTS Home Page". Afrts.dodmedia.osd.mil. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  2. ^ Kopp, Ray (2004). Thunder in the Night, A Sailor's Perspective in Vietnam. p. 64. ISBN 1-892451-28-X. 
  3. ^ Martini, Ron (2001). Hot Straight and Normal (2 ed.). p. 14. ISBN 978-0-595-20825-8. 
  4. ^ "Affectionately known as "A-Farts" to its alumni". Pittsburg TV & Radio Online. 
  5. ^ Retired soldier referring to A-farts
  6. ^ a b "Historical Summary: American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  7. ^ "AFRTS". Afrts.dodmedia.osd.mil. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  8. ^ German Listening Comprehension - Amerikanischer Soldatensender AFN (English) (German) german.about.com, The New York Times Company, accessed: 15 December 2011
  9. ^ Der amerikanische Einfluss auf die Rolle des Radios in Nachkriegsbayern google book review, accessed: 15 December 2011
  10. ^ And The Bands Played On, Howie Thompson, Xlibris Corporation, 2013, page 135
  11. ^ Iran "NIRT International Radio", YouTube, 11 Feb 2012
  12. ^ a b "AFVN - American Forces Vietnam Network". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Korean cable firms to stop AFN broadcasts". Stripes.com. 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  14. ^ AFN TO DISCONTINUE OVER-THE-AIR TELEVISION BROADCAST IN KOREA
  15. ^ "myAFN Affiliates". Myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  16. ^ "AFN Viewer's Lounge for Koreans". Afn.co.kr. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  17. ^ I ripetitori FM italiani (Italian)

Further reading[edit]

  • Patrick Morley: 'This Is the American Forces Network': The Anglo-American Battle of the Air Waves in World War II. Praeger Publishing (2001).
  • Trent Christman: Brass Button Broadcasters: A Lighthearted Look at Fifty Years of Military Broadcasting. Turner Publishing (1992).
  • History of AFRTS: The first 50 years. U.S. Government Printing Office (1993).
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Kitakyūshū Kitakyūshū
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Miyazaki Miyazaki (UMK) MRT UMK (UMK)
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