Tag Archives: AFRTS

AFRTS: Thousands of hours of Roger Carroll shows now online

Roger Carroll

(Source: Radio World via Richard Langley)

Beginning in the early 1940s and for more than 50 years, the U.S. armed services produced long-form radio programs on vinyl disc to broadcast to troops overseas.

These were usually recorded by the top voice talents in Los Angeles and were heard over the American Forces Radio TV Service. Many of the same talent later created other shows specifically to aid the military with recruitment. The latter programs were then distributed to American radio stations for free on-air use.

Until recently, this trove of historical programming had been M.I.A., but now thousands of hours are available for online streaming, thanks to Army veteran Thom Whetston, who served in Panama and Korea.

“For years, AFRTS recorded many hours a week of personality-oriented music shows, and these were sent all over the world,” Whetston said. “The guys that hosted them got complimentary copies, and luckily one air talent in particular, Roger Carroll, saved most of his albums in his garage. For the last 10 years I had been writing a blog about AFRTS, and about a year ago, with Roger’s help, I began building a website where people can hear these shows again.”[…]

Continue reading the full article at Radio World…

Click here to visit Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds In Town and listen to the archive.

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AFVN: The GI’s Companion — A Tribute To Our Vietnam Veterans

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley for the following guest post:


AFVN: The GI’s Companion — A Tribute To Our Vietnam Veterans

Radio station WEBY on 1330 kHz in Milton, Florida (near Pensacola and Elgin Air Force Base), has produced a 10-hour documentary on the American Forces Vietnam Network. This documentary aired in two-hour segments in the afternoons of 26 through 30 October 2015. But it is being repeated in its entirety between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. CST (14:00 to 24:00 UTC) on Veterans Day (known as Remembrance Day in Canada and elsewhere), 11 November.

The WEBY website is http://www.1330weby.com/ and a backgrounder on the documentary can be found here: http://www.1330weby.com/images/afvn/AFVN_Documentary_on_WEBY.pdf and a timeline of U.S. broadcasting in South Vietnam here:

WEBY runs 25 kW during daytime hours (and a puny 79 watts at night) and can be heard in parts of four states (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) but it also streams its programs on the Internet and so can be heard around the world. I’ll try to record some of the streamed audio in case the documentary is not available after the broadcast.

I was alerted to this documentary by a recent episode of PCJ Radio International’s Media Network Plus (24 October) during which Keith Perron interviewed the producer. That interview is worth listening to, too.

AFVN transmitted on AM and FM throughout South Vietnam. I never had the opportunity to listen to AFVN personally, but as a high school student, I did use to listen to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) on shortwave from time to time. AFVN received some of their broadcast material via AFRTS broadcasts from Voice of America transmitters in Delano, California, and the Philippines. A scan of a QSL card I received for a broadcast from AFRTS Los Angeles via Delano in April 1964 [see below].


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Thank you…!

Rockwell-freedom from want-001

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, my favorite holiday of the year. This day gives us a chance to pause, give thanks, and feel gratitude–for our friends, family, and life. Despite congested roads and airports as folks make the homeward journey, Thanksgiving is a peaceful day, unencumbered by all the commercial baggage that comes along with so many other holidays.

When I mention to non-radio-geek friends and family that I run a website devoted to shortwave radio, they often respond by asking somewhat skeptically, “So, do you have many readers?” Indeed, last night, as I talked with my family, a family member kindly inquired again how many visitors now come to my website. And again I hesitated to answer, as it’s been many months since I’ve opened the full spectrum of web analytics.

For the first time in several months, I took a look at our web statistics…and was amazed.

I remember, a few years ago, when I was surprised and honored when I had over 200 daily pageviews on my site.  It was amazing to think that, in a 24 hour period of time, 200 pages of content had been read; thus, how many SWLers must be aspiring to, or enjoying, the hobby–!  Over the past few years, that number has grown by leaps and bounds: last night, I found that this site now averages about 172,000 pageviews per month, or 5,700 per day…Wow.


Along with these increased numbers has come increased interactivity–your comments, messages, and guest posts give this site remarkable depth and broaden the scope far beyond my blog posts and reviews. In other words, it’s your participation that makes this site what it is. Our 39,441 users give the SWLing Post a real sense of community. I’ve met so many friends through this site, and this adds a dimension to what could otherwise be a rather solitary hobby.  Radio listeners, you’re quite a club.


So I’d like to thank each and every one of you, personally, for being a part of this shortwave radio community. I’d like to wish my best to those of you celebrating Thanksgiving today. And if you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, let’s still raise a glass together anyway, okay? Cheers!  


To set the mood, here is a little nostalgia:  a Thanksgiving recording from 70 years ago: an old time radio recording of Command Performance broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, 1944. This is the sort of thing I turn to on Thanksgiving. Enjoy:

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Check out the AFRTS Archive

AFRTSMany shortwave listeners are familiar with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS); we’ve mentioned them before and the wide variety of programming they offer via several transmission sites.

I recently discovered the AFRTS Archive, an excellent blog that posts archived audio and memories from the AFRTS. The AFRTS Archive is actively updated and chock-full of nostalgia.

It’s Memorial Day here in the States and found this a fitting time to dig through the AFRTS Archive.

Of course, you can still listen to the AFRTS on shortwave–here are the frequencies:

AFN/AFRTS Shortwave Frequencies (note: all broadcasts are in USB)

  • Diego Garcia:
    • 12,579 kHz daytime
    • 4,319 kHz nighttime
  • Guam:
    • 13,362 kHz daytime
    • 5,765 kHz nighttime
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AFN (AFRTS) drops Key West transmitters

Due to budget cuts, the American Forces Network (AFRTS) has decommissioned their Key West, Florida SW frequencies of: 5446, 7811, 12133 kHz

Since the Navy provides the shortwave service as a supplementary or backup service for their ships that don’t have the Navy’s Direct-to-Sailor (DTS) capability, I’m not terribly surprised they’re downsizing. Even so, the AFN still maintains their Guam and Diego Garcia transmitters as they recognize that the, “[s]hortwave service is also an option for land-based listeners in remote locations that do not have access to local or satellite-delivered AFRTS full Satellite Network (SATNET) services.”

AFN/AFRTS Shortwave Frequencies (note: all broadcasts are in USB)

  • Diego Garcia:
    • 12,579 kHz daytime
    • 4,319 kHz nighttime
  • Guam:
    • 13,362 kHz daytime
    • 5,765 kHz nighttime

Personally, I’m a little saddened by the cuts as the Key West facility was the easiest for me to hear in the US, though I routinely hear Guam and Diego Garcia. Not familiar with the AFRTS?  Check out our recent post.

Thanks to Kim Elliott for the tip.

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Searching for a shortwave station with variety? Try the American Forces Network!

I remember the first time, many years ago, when I first tuned to the American Forces Network (AFN) on my shortwave radio. I was scanning the bands and happened upon a fairly strong single sideband broadcast. When I tuned in the signal I heard National Public Radio (NPR), a largely domestic public broadcaster here in the US. I thought, perhaps, it was some strange, temporary relay of that news broadcaster. But after hanging around on the frequency for a while, I heard other news sources, and finally the station ID: “This is the American Forces Network.”

The American Forces Network (AFN), in case you’re not familiar with it, is the brand name used by the US Armed Forces American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) for its entertainment and its command internal information networks worldwide. The primary mission of the AFN is to serve American service men and women, the Department of Defense, and other US government civilians and families stationed at bases around the world, as well as on U.S. Navy ships at sea. The AFN broadcasts a wide array of American radio and television programs from the major U.S. networks.

Though the AFN doesn’t broadcast at power levels typically associated with international broadcasters, their broadcasts span the globe. How?  By broadcasting in single sideband instead of AM.

What’s available over AFN radio?

Wikipedia offers a nice breakdown:

AFN […] 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, Techno/Trance and country musicRyan Seacrest‘s AT 40The 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 TalkKidd Kraddick in the MorningKim Komando,The Rush Limbaugh ShowThe Motley Fool Radio ShowA Prairie Home CompanionDoug Stephan,Titillating Sports with Rick TittleSports Overnight America, and other programs form 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 12 general-use streams for AFN stations to use. Of these, seven 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)
  • The Nerve (new rock)
  • TrancePort (trance/techno)
  • Today’s Best Country (country/western)
  • Gravity (urban rhythmic)
  • AFN Legacy – Deep Classic Rock Gems
  • MAX FM (80, 90’s)
  • 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)

The AFN is available on numerous FM relays around the world (basically, most places where US forces are stationed) and also via satellite. But, of course, you can find them on your shortwave dial as long as you have SSB. Note that reception will be much better if you have an external antenna–Navy ships, who primarily use the AFN on SW, have excellent receiving equipment.  To hear the AFN reliably on a portable radio, especially if you don’t live within the footprint of their target broadcast area, you will be at the mercy of propagation.

Shortwave Frequencies (note: all broadcasts are in USB)

  • Diego Garcia:
    • 12,579 kHz daytime
    • 4,319 kHz nighttime
  • Guam:
    • 13,362 kHz daytime
    • 5,765 kHz nighttime
  • Key West, Florida: Decommissioned – See post
    • 12,133.5 kHz day & night
    • 7,811.0 kHz day & night
    • 5,446.5 kHz day & night

It’s worth noting that the AFN previously operated a station in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, but they have it listed as out of service for an indefinite period.

Want to hear a sample of an AFN broadcast? The following clips were recorded between 11:00-13:00 UTC today, via their transmitters in Diego Garcia and Key West:

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