Military Deejays Debut Afghanistan-Based Radio Broadcasts

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2006 - Military disc jockeys based in Afghanistan today inaugurated radio-broadcast news and other programming to an estimated in-country audience of 18,000 U.S. servicemembers, an American Forces Radio and Television Service official said here today.

"There's no other radio service that they can listen to that gives them detailed information about what's happening on their base and area," Andy Friedrich, deputy director of AFRTS, said during an interview at the organization's headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Active-duty Army, Air Force and Marine radio broadcasters, technicians and administrators working out of a studio at Bagram Air Base operate American Forces Network-Afghanistan, Friedrich said. The service provides seven hours of programming daily, Monday through Saturday.

"These people come from our normal station operations all over the world," Friedrich said. He noted that AFN-Afghanistan is the military's 34th overseas radio station.

AFN-Afghanistan provides servicemembers with a bevy of useful information, similar to local news, weather, and other programming offered by civilian U.S. radio stations, Friedrich said.

"For instance, during the wintertime in Afghanistan, they have a lot of snow and ice, and there are road conditions that need to be announced," as well as sand storm warnings in the summer, Friedrich said.

Servicemembers serving in Afghanistan can also tune in the radio to hear about dining facility menus, Friedrich said, as well as what's playing at the base movie theater or what's on sale at the Post Exchange.

Wire service-provided stateside and world news is provided to AFN-Afghanistan and other overseas military outlets via satellite through the AFN broadcast center in Riverside, Calif., Friedrich said.

U.S. military-operated radio broadcasting from Iraq began about two and a half years ago, Friedrich said, noting staffing issues had delayed the start of radio service from Afghanistan.

But now, American troops in Afghanistan "can now tune in to our local radio transmitters to hear the news," Friedrich said.

"We are very proud of the fact that we're providing local radio in Afghanistan," Friedrich said.

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