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.
“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.”[…]
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.
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].
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!
Many 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)
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)
12,579 kHz daytime
4,319 kHz nighttime
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.
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