As war clouds gather across the globe, an expanding American military deploys soldiers and sailors to remote strategic locations. Soldiers in Panama and Alaska begin a tradition of military bro
... Moreadcasting when they build their own makeshift radio stations to alleviate boredom.
Command quickly realizes the need for U.S. troops, who are amassing in Great Britain for the invasion, to get entertainment and information from home. General Marshall asks Frank Capra, famed Hollywood director and now soldier, if he knows anyone who can start a radio network for the Army. He says, ?I know just the man.?
May 26, 1942
The War Department establishes the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) and offers a military commission (of Major) to prominent radio advertising executive Tom Lewis, making him its first commander. Within a year a makeshift headquarters is set up on the Fox lot in Hollywood, California. Offices and studios are set up to do the actual broadcasting in New York and San Francisco.
?The location of the organization was even more unbelievable. It was at the Fox Movie Studio at Sunset and Western Avenues. The probable reason for that location was that the Army First Motion Picture Unit was there. The head of that group was Frank Capra. That unit filmed the majority of World War II footage. The head of AFRS was Colonel Thomas H.A. Lewis. He had been in the movie production business before the war and we soon found he was Loretta Young?s husband. She came by to visit several times and was always charming.? (Ivan Saddler)
Meanwhile, a couple of months earlier, Command Performance premiered from New York and starred Eddie Cantor. The show reflected the wishes of American Soldiers, hence, a performance "on command."
August 11, 1942
The first AFRS-originated program Mail Call is produced by True Boardman and written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The cast included Lewis? famous wife, Loretta Young.
August 28, 1942
Although some disagreement exists, ?Melody Roundup? was likely the second AFRS program. Cowboy crooner Roy Rogers hosted the first four programs. Subsequently, the fifteen minute show featured many leading Country Western entertainers.
September 3, 1942
The Research Branch of Special Services delivers a survey requested by MAJ Tom Lewis to ascertain the listening habits and attitudes of the troops. He used the information, which surveyed 3,286 enlisted men, and encounters he had with troops in Alaska during his visit in June, to form his beliefs that if American fighting forces were going to be successful, they would have to understand what they were fighting for and that radio could help provide that information.
October ? AFRS originates two more programs. ?Personal Album? featured Bing Crosby as host, and more popular singers. ?Yarns for Yanks? contained fifteen-minute human interest stories told in several voices by one man. The first was Frank Graham, but after many Hollywood stars appeared in the series. ?Jubilee? was a Mann Holiner production, and launched the careers of many of the most famous black variety entertainers.
Since neither wire nor tape recording techniques developed sufficiently until after World War II, AFRS made all its original recordings by using electronically-motivated needle etchings on acetate disks that were transcribed to vinylite. It provided flexibility for the field stations to broadcast at the hours best suited to troops in each theater and enabled an increasing number to be produced.
December 15, 1942
Control of Command Performance, previously under the direction of the Bureau of Public Relations, is transferred to the newly formed AFRS.
LT Andre Baruch sets up the first ?Army Broadcasting Service? radio station in Casablanca. Baruch went on to become the Chief of the American Expeditionary Stations in the North African Theater.
The stations he went on to establish became part of the AFRS and provided programming included a program and music package from Hollywood as well as live, local talent shows, whenever practicable, and featured news at prime listening times, as revealed by Lewis? survey: 6:30 to 8:00 AM, noon and at dinner time.
The impact of these stations on soldiers? morale can be measured by letters Baruch received. One from a sergeant in an evacuation hospital read, ?The other evening we heard swing music and then, ?This is the American Expeditionary Station.? Goose pimples ran up and down our spines, and since then, our morale has increased one thousand percent?words cannot express the happiness that your programs have given to the American soldiers.?
ASCAP, BMI, MPAA and SESAC jointly grant AFRS a gratis annual license to record and distribute radio programs.
Every week, cartons of AFRS program releases were sent out en-masse in two boxes, A and B, including 110 discs each, 55 per box. This was done for weight considerations and to prevent loss. Each set had a mix of original programs, off-network programs and library selections.
Initially, shipments went by sea. They often arrived with cracked and broken discs. Shipments were sent to installations that were asked to then send the discs along to other installations; of course, not all the discs would be sent along from place to place. Some shipments never arrived at all. This was a situation that was inefficient, intolerable and unsustainable.
Col. Lewis and his staff negotiated an agreement with the Air Transport Command of the Army Air Forces and the Naval Air Transport Service to ship the cartons by air. This would save time and limit, if not eliminate, potential damage. Shipments were accelerated and increased so that packages would not be passed between units but distributed directly to each destination. Distribution circuits were established by geography.
By July 1, 1943, cartons were being shipped by air from Los Angeles. The system became very efficient and the loss rate was virtually eliminated. All of the cartons were clearly marked ?priority?, ?urgent?, ?radio transcriptions?, ?government property,? and ?must go through.? By the fall of 1944, AFN-London and AEFP could have off-network, prime-time American radio programs on the air within a week to ten days, a remarkable accomplishment.
Although AFRS delivered programming on disks, the shortwave operation broadcast six hours of its own entertainment productions and de-commercialized shows, as well as news every hour on the hour and special entertainment events, general interest items, small town news happenings and sports events, either live or recreated.
At its peak during WWII, AFRS shortwave stations were beaming 1,086 hours of programming a week. One third of San Francisco?s and almost 24% of New York?s was news.
January ? The War Department assigns AFRS the responsibility to install its own facilities overseas operated ?by American soldiers for American soldiers.?
September 1 ? The Office of War Information (OWI) ceases production of programming directed at troops overseas and turns over entire project to AFRS. In addition, it makes shortwave equipment available to AFRS for overseas transmission to what would become American Forces Network (AFN) affiliates of AFRS.
December ? Dresser Dahlstead, popular radio announcer and later to be a producer with the Ralph Edwards organization for many years, joins AFRS and becomes MAJ Tom Lewis? assistant. He helps develop the technique to fill the program time taken out of programs when the commercials are removed. By year?s end, AFRS expands to 140 stations around the world.
By 1944, a very efficient system seamlessly produced clean ?off-network? edited programs and very professionally produced original products. With many network and local radio talent employed in uniform by AFRS, the quality of the AFRS work product could be considered superior in some respects to wartime commercial (civilian) radio. AFRS Programs could be classed into three categories: (a.) AFRS-produced (live audience or studio host), (b.) off-network, and (c.) libraries.
January ? Having completed a training program for personnel destined for overseas assignments, AFRS also begins shipping self-contained stations to the Pacific Theater, each complete with transmitter, studio gear and record library.
CBS, Mutual and NBC individually grant AFRS permission to record and distribute their programs.
May ? AFRS in Hollywood is now producing 106 different programs each week totaling 40 hours in length. An additional 60 programs are from commercial sources and are edited to remove commercial announcements.
COL Tom Lewis arrives in England to supervise preparations for radio operation during and after the Allied Invasion of the European Continent ? D-Day.
June ? D-Day arrives as allied troops land successfully in France. AFN continues to broadcast in England and prepares mobile units to follow American armies.
December - AFRS is now producing 40 hours of original programming a week from its studios in Hollywood, California.
February 15, 1945 ? Command Performance ?Wedding of Dick Tracy? is produced for AFRS under the direction of Pat Weaver who modestly calls it, ?the greatest radio show in history.?
ABC grants AFRTS gratis permission to record and distribute its programs.
March - AFRS presses its 1,000,000th disk for distribution overseas and it?s presented to COL Tom Lewis. It was GI Journal featuring Bing Crosby, Linda Darnell, Betty Grable and Abbot & Costello.
There are now 154 AFRS stations worldwide including the Middle East, Europe, the China-Burma-India theater, Alaska, the Caribbean and the Pacific. There are also 143 AFRS operated public address systems and bedside networks , which AFRS supplies each with 126 program transcriptions.
April 12 ? AFRS receives news that President Franklin D. Roosevelt has died at 5:49 EWT. The first bulletin in broadcast worldwide at 5:52 EWT.
May 8 ? the world celebrates Victory in Europe day.
September 2 ? AFRS covers the Japanese surrender from the deck of the USS Missouri. Staff members quickly begin looking for permanent sites for AFRS stations on the Japanese mainland.
October 25 ? His job done, COL Tom Lewis returns to civilian life.
As MAJ Martin H. Work takes command from Lewis he faces the problems of maintaining product quality while cutting back on original production.
By the end of hostilities, AFRS was operating arguably the largest and most diverse radio network in the world, with facilities located on every continent, diverse programming from its own original productions and rebroadcast from every domestic radio network, as well as a global distribution network using transcription discs express shipped by air and broadcast over dedicated AFRS transmission facilities. This was a massive undertaking that was successfully accomplished.
AFRS continues three hours a day of shortwave broadcasts from New York but closes the San Francisco studio, leaving Los Angeles to take over west-coast shortwave operations.
February ? LTC Robert E. Kearney (USA) takes command of AFRS Hollywood, working out of the offices at 6011 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Larry Gelbart, of later M*A*S*H fame, arrives at AFRS as a Private. His first assignment is as the sole writer on Command Performance.
Fall ? Bing Crosby, after seeing from his shows on AFRS that he audience really doesn?t mind receiving recorded programs, leaves NBC and joins ABC, which permits recorded programming. This breaks the dam and other stars demand the same privilege. Live network programming starts to become a thing of the past.
With the war over and post-war economies in effect, AFRS production of original programs drops to 14 hours a week. An additional 41 hours of off-network programming is also supplied to AFRS stations by commercial networks.
Post-war agreements with the American Federation of Radio Actors (AFRA) and the Americans Federation of Unions are mutually arrived at and continue to this day, although in slightly altered form.
February - COL William M. Wright, Jr. (USA) assumes command of AFRS Hollywood.
AFRS gradually gets out of the creative end of radio production and, with the exception of a few informational programs, ends the type of original entertainment programming which has been its hallmark.
AFRS Hollywood operates primarily a distribution center for news, information and entertainment programming. To replace in-house entertainment productions, AFRS increases its use of de-commercialized network and local programs to 60 hours a week.
The loss of original entertainment programming production at Hollywood weakens AFRS?s connection with operations in the field. To Roy Neal, first Station Manager at AFN-Frankfurt, ?AFRS was something ?over there? whose shortwave sounded terrible and whose records sounded marvelous. That?s all AFRS was to us. It was a source of records.?
July - CDR E.F. Hutchins (USN) assumes command of AFRS Hollywood.
October 28 - The Secretary of Defense signs a memorandum permitting military television broadcasts and formally establishing an Armed Forces Television activity. ?Television potentially provides an additional medium of communication capable of exerting a strong, favorable influence on the information and education program of the Armed Forces,? the memo said.
December 25 - The first experimental TV broadcast by the Air Force is seen on Christmas Day from Limestone AFB, Maine
AFRS moves to 1016 McCadden Place, Los Angeles, CA.
April 21 ? The Office of Armed Forces Information and Education (OAFIE) in a letter changes the name of AFRS to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).
October 29 - As set forth in its original Instruction, DoDI 5120.2, the Armed Forces Television Service mission was much like radio. It was, ?to provide United States Armed Forces personnel overseas, and in isolated areas where commercial programs are not available, television programs for information, education and entertainment.? The mission of AFRTS remained to provide the same programming the service men and women in the field had watched back home. That is, ?a little bit of home.?
October - Lt. Col. James H. Rose (USAF) assumes command of AFRTS Los Angeles
The Air Force spearheads the establishment of television at its overseas bases.
July ? the Air Force organizes the first and only Radio and Television Squadron in the Armed Forces at Headquarters USAFE, Wiesbaden, Germany. The 7122nd Support Squadron initially supervises five radio and TV stations at Wheeler Field and Dhahran and supplied each outlet with kinescopes of the top entertainment shows, which the commercial networks provided to the Air Force free of charge.
September 15 ? American Forces Korea Network begins broadcast filmed shows.
The CBS and NBC Television Networks grant AFRTS separate continuous licenses to record, distribute and broadcast their regularly scheduled network programs.
February LTC Lother B. Sibert (USA) assumes command of AFRTS LA.
February 11 ? AFRTS stations worldwide are ordered to broadcast a program prepared by the United States Information Agency titled, ?Today?s Analysis of Events from Washington.? Most stations balk at the obvious propaganda and the threat of news management. WTOP, Washington and Jack Anderson make it a crusade. AFN Commander Robert Cranston leads a fight to keep it off the air in France but not Germany. The fight drags on with most stations playing it during the late night hours. Finally, on March 13, 1967 USIA gives up and cancels the program to the relief of all.
November 22- President Kennedy is assassinated and AFRTS provides uninterrupted coverage to the worldwide AFN stations.
July - Col. Robert R. Eby (USAF) assumes command of AFRTS LA
An aspiring young actress, Chris Noel, hosted ?Date With Chris? on AFRTS radio throughout the Vietnam War. She was so effective that she had a $10,000 bounty on her head from the North Vietnamese.
February - COL Robert Cranston (USA) assumes command of AFRTS LA.
AFKN becomes the first affiliate of AFRTS to replace film with a videotape recorder for studio operation.
December 9 ? The Armed Forces News Bureau, a unit of AFRTS, which supplies around the clock shortwave news and special event broadcasts to overseas AFN affiliates stands up in Arlington, VA. There is an immediate outcry from numerous quarters that this is an attempt to manage the news.
March - Col. Robert R. Eby (USAF) returns as commander of AFRTS LA.
August ? The Armed Forces News Bureau is renamed AFRTS-W, the ?W? standing for Washington. Charges of possible news management again fly but soon die out when it becomes apparent that the material distributed originates from commercial networks and independent sources.
August - COL Robert Cranston (USA) returns to command AFRTS LA.
Armed Forces Radio and Television Service changes its name to American Forces Radio and Television Service.
AFRTS goes to sea as closed-circuit television systems are developed for installation aboard U.S. Navy ships-at-sea.
April - Col. Albert E. Audick (USAF) assumes command of AFRTS LA.
ASCAP provides AFRTS with an experimental ?open ended? license to record and distribute programs accredited by the federation.
May 7 ? in a rare honor, COL Bob Cranston is awarded the second highest military award, the Distinguished Service Medal, by President Nixon. He becomes the first broadcast officer to ever receive this award.
September - COL Oliver A. Willey, Jr. (USA) assumes command of AFRTS LA.
July - CAPT Jack H. McDonald (USN) assumes command of AFRTS LA.
AFRTS LA is given the approval to establish 24-hour-a-day, satellite delivered global feed of news, information, entertainment and sports programs.
AFRTS LA changes its name to the AFRTS Programing Center
August - COL Floyd A. McBride (USA) assumes command of the AFRTS Programming Center
The radio Voice Channel began broadcasting globally this year.
December - The AFRTS Satellite Network (SATNET) begins test transmissions. By February, SATNET is supplying more than seven hours a day of live programming to four receiving sites, replacing the weekly Television Priority (TPA) package at those locations.
February - SATNET now supplies more than seven hours a day of live programming to four receiving sites, replacing the weekly Television Priority (TPA) package at those locations.
July - Col. David C. Cole (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS Programming Center.
AFRTS PC in Los Angles began 24-hour satellite delivery of news and sports programming via its satellite network (SATNET) channel to Guantanamo Bay, Roosevelt Roads and Panama; later in the year Diego Garcia and Keflavik began receiving SATNET. 17 of the 24 hours were de-commercialized by AFRTS PC staff.
By mid-year, AFRTS reached an audience of over 1.2 million active duty military personnel, DoD civilians, and family members in 45 countries, 15 U.S territories or possessions and aboard Navy ships at sea, making it the largest radio and television network in the world.
The AFRTS Programming Center distributes approximately 80 hours of programming on video cassettes each week to 17 circuits around the world. The package of non-time-sensitive material includes weekly series, mini-series, and made-for-TV and theatrical movies. The cost of duplication made it necessary to ?bicycle? the packages. After each station would use it, it would send it to the next.
October 01 - AFRTS changes its name back to Armed Forces Radio Television Service.
The Navy Broadcasting Services begins developing technology to put satellite receivers aboard large warships.
April ? AFRTS PC began producing Tele-Tips using the Air Products Distribution System designed for Sperry Microcomputers. Tele-Tips was distributed for the first time on floppy diskettes.
Mid-Year ? Almost all full-service land based AFN television stations are now linked to AFRTS PC in Los Angeles by satellite, where almost all programs are transmitted live directly from source and AFRTS personnel must cover stateside commercials with AFRTS command information and public service spots in real time.
November 03 - AFRTS-PC becomes the AFRTS Broadcast Center (AFRTS BC) and finishes relocating from Hollywood to a new site in the Los Angeles suburb of Sun Valley without loss of airtime.
August - Capt. Jack A. Martin (USN) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
Variety reports AFRTS operating budget at $27.4 million and estimates programming received to be worth $117 million annually in the commercial marketplace.
The AFRTS short-wave radio service is replaced by the Armed Forces Satellite Transmitted Radio Service (AFSTRS).
Colonel Tom Lewis, the man who shaped and molded AFRTS into the worldwide voice of home for millions of service men and women who served overseas, passes away at age 87.
April - COL Joseph L. Cook (USA) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
All satellite transmission from AFRTS BC becomes totally encrypted to prevent piracy of material by unauthorized sources.
AFRTS BC switches from vinyl to compact disk (CD) for music distribution overseas.
December - Col. Neal Emper (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
The Gulf War begins and AFRTS establishes the Armed Forces Desert Network (AFDN), providing AFRTS service throughout Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield (the first song played by AFDN is ?Rock the Casbah? by The Clash).
January - Col. Richard L. Fuller (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
AFRTS BC installs its first radio automation system the BE16.
The first satellite-radio format (Adult Rock from Unistar) is broadcast from AFRTS BC.
Following the Gulf War as the U.S. military begins its drawdown in Europe, a leading German politician says, "The U.S. Military can leave Europe, but AFN must stay.?
Trent Christman, former program director at AFN Europe, publishes his book, BRASS BUTTON BROADCASTERS (The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service Story). It offers an informal history of the AFRTS and its AFN stations around the world.
AFRTS BC replaces U-Matic with BetaSP for tape-distributed programming to land-based stations.
AFRTS establishes three regional ?Super Stations? in Germany, Italy and Turkey.
May - AFRTS turns 50, celebrates its Golden Anniversary, and is awarded a George Foster Peabody Award and a Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Mike Award;
June - CAPT Connie L. Haney (USN) is the first woman to assume command of the AFRTS BC.
January 03 - The Rush Limbaugh Show premiered on the Voice Channel and AFSTRS.
January 17 - Northridge earthquake, measured at 6.7, mostly spares Broadcast Center in Sun Valley, California. AFN signals are not interrupted.
AFRTS BC briefly distributes audio cassettes to ships before switching to CDs.
All BC Directorates start planning for a major expansion of the distribution capability. Known as ?BC 96? the project would affect every aspect of the Broadcast Center.
AFRTS BC relocates to a new state-of-the-art facility on March Air Force Base near Riverside, California.
The DGA grants AFRTS an ongoing gratis license to distribute television programming outside the contiguous United States.
August - Col. Glen L. Brady (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS BC
Network-level Creative Services and Marketing Branch created within the TV Division and non-linear editing begins at AFRTS BC. AFRTS services worldwide will be rebranded ?AFN? with a new, on-air logo designed in-house.
December 15 ? AFRTS-BC converts from analog to digital broadcast capability and changes SATNET from a program delivery service to a global on-air feed of radio and TV programs. Using an encryption system called PowerVu, made by Scientific-Atlanta. B-MAC enabled radio to expand from offering a single ?Voice Channel? to multiple, satellite-delivered music services.
January 02 ? The AFRTS BC converts SATNET to NewSports. The NewSports weekday schedule offers live and tape delayed news programming and the weekend schedule offers a mix of live news and sports.
March 23 ? The AFRTS BC launches its second TV channel, Spectrum, which quickly becomes a popular alternative for AFRTS family audiences. Spectrum offers a diverse assortment of demographically-targeted programming featuring movies, the best of the Public Broadcasting Service, Arts & Entertainment (A&E), Discovery Channel, and the History Channel, as well as classic series and cartoons. Packaged in an eight-hour segment that is shown three times, programming is designed to air in each major regional time zones during prime time.
September 26 four regional entertainment TV channels are launched:
AFN Pacific and AFN Korea at 0905 PST
AFN Atlantic at 1605 PST and
AFN Americas at 2305 PST
AFRTS BC begins satellite delivery of AFN to customers with a small 80 cm. satellite dish. Direct-to-Home (DTH) service, begins in Europe.
National Public Radio creates ?NPR Worldwide? specifically for AFRTS and is first broadcast from AFRTS BC, as one of the its different audio services now on the air.
AFRTS BC ceases production/broadcast of made-for-AFRTS, jock radio shows after a long tradition of having big-name Hollywood radio entertainers come to the BC to produce their shows for the troops overseas.
AFRTS BC launches BC-96; replaces mailing of Television Weekly packages of video cassettes worldwide with multiple satellite feeds from California.
AFRTS BC launches the AFRTS corporate website (http://afrts.dodmedia.osd.mil).
AFRTS BC begins delivery of live television to U.S. Navy ships-at-sea in the Pacific Ocean (POR) with the ?Direct-to-Sailors? Service (DTS); Indian Ocean (IOR) service started on Dec 3 and Atlantic Ocean (AOR) service started on Dec 23.
AFRTS BC, through cooperation and support of the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) in Offutt, Nebraska, creates the AFN Weather Center, staffed by Air Force weather forecasters, and launches daily global weather reports on AFN Pacific.
September - Col. Ray B. Shepherd (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
Three website launched by AFRTS BC Affiliate Relations staff. ?AFN on TV? delivers television schedules, ?AFN on Radio? provides radio schedules, and the Affiliate Website gives a password-protected portal of operational information to AFN Affiliates worldwide.
Through its expanded satellite distribution platform the AFN BC now delivers over 30,000 hours of television programming and more than 87,000 hours of radio programmi
ng annually to nearly 800,000 U.S. Forces personnel stationed in 169 countries and aboard U.S. Navy ships-at-sea.
AFRTS BC begins migration to tapeless broadcasting by using computer servers as the means to store programs.
November 21 - American Forces Information Service directs a change of the AFRTS organizational title from Armed Forces Radio and Television Service back to American Forces Radio and Television Service.
Navy?s Direct-To-Sailor (DTS) service expands to three TV and three radio channels.
April 10 ? AFRTS BC makes military broadcasting history with the world television premiere of the film MEN OF HONOR preceding stateside broadcast by a year.
AFRTS BC begins full-time channel ?bugging? of AFN Atlantic, AFN Pacific and AFN Korea, with NewSports and Spectrum to follow. A ?crystal? logo helps brand programming as coming from AFN.
March 01 ? AFRTS BC adds a Program Guide channel to its line-up. The Program Guide displays a 90-minute look-ahead as well as room for graphic promotional banners. It replaces the AFN Americas channel; the audience in Central America now gets time-shifted programming from their AFN affiliates off of AFN Atlantic.
August 07 - AFN News and AFN Sports goes on the air at 0100 Central European Time and 0800 in Japan and Korea time. These two channels replace NewSports, virtually doubling the amount of dedicated genre broadcasts.
September 11 ? AFRTS BC interrupts regular broadcasts to begin a week of 24/7 live news coverage of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, placing ABC, CBS and NBC ?special report? coverage on the three primary AFN entertainment channels and 24/7 cable news coverage on AFN NewSports.
January 31 - www.myafn.net launched by AFRTS BC Affiliate Relations staff, merging the AFNonTV and AFNonRadio websites. It, along with the corporate AFRTS website and the Affiliate website are all officially registered with Domain Discover.
July 2002 - Lt. Col. Roberto Garza (USAF) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
Mr. Stephen Mason (LTC USA ret.), Deputy Director of AFRTS, receives the Colonel Tom Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Television-Audio Support Activity (T-ASA), formerly located in Sacramento, California, moves operations and dozens of staff to the AFRTS BC facility in Riverside.
July - COL John D. Hightower (USA) assumes command of the AFRTS BC.
October 01 - the AFRTS Broadcast Center is renamed the Defense Media Center as a result of the T-ASA/AFRTS-BC consolidation. COL Hightower is named Executive Director.
An upgrade of the B-MAC encryption system gives the DMC the capability to increase its broadcast services.
January 01 ? DMC begins satellite feed of the Pentagon Channel worldwide.
DMC puts the Broadcast Automation System online, which replaces Odetics and enables more resources to be dedicated to program planning instead of operations.
January 01 ? DMC announces introduction of the AFN entertainment channels as AFN "prime" (AFN Prime Atlantic, AFN Prime Pacific and AFN Prime Korea).
January 01 - Direct-to-Home (DTH) service begins in the Pacific, primarily oriented for audiences in Japan and Korea.
January 01 - The DMC?s AFN broadcasts now reach approximately 800,000 DoD military and civilian employees, and their families, stationed overseas in 177 countries and U.S. territories, and aboard more than 180 U.S. Navy ships at sea.
The Defense Media Center changes its name to the American Forces Network Broadcast Center (AFN BC).
June 14 - Jeffrey W. White becomes the first civilian Executive Director of the AFN BC.
September 03 - AFN BC launches two new TV channels, AFN Family and AFN Movie, and expands AFN Spectrum from an 8-hour to a 24-hour schedule.
January 15 - Pacific-region AFN satellite service is disrupted by a major satellite outage when INTELSAT 804 loses the ability to transmit AFN radio and television programming services. Most AFN Affiliates are able to recover by switching from the SATNET to the DTS satellite.
AFN BC personnel install satellite uplink in Baghdad that marks a ?first? in military broadcasting history: the capability of sending live reports from a war zone.
The AFN|prime Korea Advisory Block is terminated, eliminating ?closed-circuit? TV feeds of programming to AFN affiliates. All program scheduling is now done by AFN BC.
AFN Radio?s Voice Channel adds three political talk-radio shows: Sean Hannity, Ed Schultz and Al Franken to compliment its broadcast of Rush Limbaugh.
February 27 - AFN BC launches AFN|xtra, a unique channel targeted at 18-24 year olds. It replaces AFN Korea.
April 01 - Mr. Melvin W. Russell (LTC USA ret.), Director of AFRTS, receives the COL. Tom Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award, from Jordan Rizer, former Director of AFIS.
The AFN-BC Marketing and Promotion Division is awarded five Promax Awards for excellence in on-air Promotion
AFN is granted permission to carry soccer's World Cup.
AFN BC discontinues play-by-play sports on AFN Radio when research shows radio sports drive 60% of the audience away. Very little negative feedback since the AFN audience is getting upwards of 50 sports events a week on TV.
AFRTS and AFN AMERICAN FORCES NETWORK become registered trademarks.
July 4 ? AFN BC creates an entertainment channel targeted at troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. AFN|prime Freedom is a server-delayed recording of AFN|prime Pacific, timed for the Iraq time zone, but containing command information geared for the CENTCOM audience.
January 01 - Direct-to-Home viewers in Japan and Korea see local command information for the first time, directly from a new Air Force control room at the AFN BC;
August 08 ? AFN BC broadcasts almost 600 hours of the Summer Olympic games of the XXIX Olympiad from Beijing, using NBC live network feeds from the east coast as well as USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Oyxgen.
February 01 - AFN Broadcast Center finishes installing the capability to broadcast high definition television.
AFN Radio brings providing high-profile live sports coverage to the global audience. First broadcast was the Daytona 500
Spring - the Voice Channel changes its name to "AFN The Voice."
July ? AFN BC launches ?Fans Choice? initiative which enables AFN viewers worldwide to vote for one game a week. After one Major League Baseball season, Fans Choice migrates to the NFL, allowing viewers to pick their Sunday ?game of the week.?
August 07 - AFN starts airing TV-MA programs from HBO on AFN|spectrum LateNight.
October 1 ? AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, California, assigned to DMA, under Field Operations.
November 01 ? AFN BC Radio Division launches AFN PowerTalk, 24/7 political talk featuring 1:1 hosts from the left and right for the DTH audience
December 20 - First civilian Executive Director of the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside California, Jeffrey White, resigns; David B. Gebhardt takes over as Interim Director.
January 31 - AFN radio launches a classic rock format AFN Legacy. It is the first 24/7 satellite music service to ever originate from the AFN BC. The first song from AFN Legacy was Led Zeppelin "Rock & Roll."
March 09 ? the Network Alert System (NAS) is dismantled. No longer required due to the reduction of staffed control rooms at overseas AFN Affiliates, it ends an era of providing ?breaking news? alerts and operational updates. The NAS is replaced by email.
April 01 - AFN Radio changes satellite-delivered services. DRIVE FX becomes TRANCEPORT, JACK FM becomes MAX FM, MAINSTREAM COUNTRY becomes TODAY'S BEST COUNTRY and Z-ROCK becomes THE NERVE.
April ? Mr. David B. Gebhardt selected Director of the AFN BC.
September 01 - AFN Broadcast Center takes over the management of decoders. PVConnect.net is no longer able to be accessed via web. AFNConnect replaces PVConnect.
October ? AFN changes primetime entertainment program scheduling to ?Fast, Fresh, Now!?. No longer delaying series seasons to only showing original episodes months after stateside broadcast without repeat, FFN enables the AFN audience to see network TV just as they would have back home, repeat episodes and all.
November 11 ? AFN carries the first-ever ?Carrier Classic? basketball game between Michigan State and North Carolina live from the USS Carl Vinson.
December 30 ? AFN Radio changes the name of its satellite-provide sports channels from ESPN and Fox Sports to AFN Clutch and AFN Fans, respectively.
March 31 ? AFN BC radio launches Joe Radio, replacing Cumulus-provided Max FM on its satellite feed and produced in-house.
January 9 ? Acting Director of DMA, Bryan Whitman, announces during his second DMA town hall meeting that Mr. Ray Shepherd will be the Director of the Defense Media Activity. He served as commander of the AFN Broadcast Center from 1999-2002.
February 16 ? AFN TV broadcasts Steven Spielberg?s Golden Globe/Academy Award nominated film, ?Lincoln? as a world television premier on Presidents Day weekend. The scheduling coincided with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King?s March on Washington, and the 150th anniversary of the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 by President Lincoln freeing the slaves held in the Confederate States during the Civil War.
February 19 ? Mr. Ray B. Shepherd assumes authority for Defense Media Activity in a ceremony held at DMA HQ at Ft. George Meade, Maryland.