FEN TV Chitose
The Premiere Broadcast

It is with deep gratitude to Ray Osborne and the men and women of the first FEN-TV broadcast in Chitose, that we present these materials. Fortunately for us, Ray was on hand with his camera to capture these great pictures! John Hazlet of FEN Iwakuni (who did some temporary duty up north) also has added to this collection.

In the autumn of 1962, television came to FEN in Chitose. A new TV studio and transmitter were installed within the existing facility. This was the second FEN television facility -- the first was at Misawa AFB. These pictures were taken on the day of the first TV broadcast. The first live broadcast was the evening newscast with the station NCOIC, Air Force Sergeant Dave Edwards as the newscaster. The station staff included: Airman John Chester who had transferred from AFKN (Armed Forces Korea Network) because of his experience in television with AFKN, Airman Tom Thornburg who transferred from radio, and Army Specialist Ray Osborne who moved from part-time in radio to full-time in the television facility, though he continued to write a weekly program for radio.

The facility consisted of a compact switcher and mixer in conjunction with two JAN 16mm projectors and slide/film chain. The programs were shipped in weekly and consisted of most of the popular TV programs of the era. Kinescope recordings showed programs that were originally broadcast live. Kinescopes of sports events and special live news programs such as Meet the Press came by special air shipments. This was all in the days before videotape and satellite delivery. During the week, the program service started around 5:00PM and ran until about 11:00PM and included a live newscast at 6:00PM. Weekend programming was more extensive and included seasonal sports such as the World Series, and college football. At least 4 feature-length movies would be broadcast during a typical weekend.

The station operated on UHF Channel 73 and used a translator transmitter with a range of about 10 miles under ideal conditions.

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Air Force Lieutenant Michael Hall, Station Manager, FEN-Chitose, (center) demonstrates the studio camera to Colonel W. Nechanicky, base commander at Chitose, (left), and Air Force Colonel Stanton the commander of FEN from Tokyo.


Air Force Sgt. Dave Edwards prepares to read the opening newscast as FEN-TV Chitose begins broadcasting. Dave, if you're out there, we'd love to hear from you!


Picture taken through the control room window as Sgt. Edwards reads the news during the actual broadcast.


Present in the control room while the broadcast is on-the-air.

From left to right:

Airman Tom Thornburg (left), who was the announcer for the newscast.

Airman John Chester, is the studio director of the broadcast.

Watching them intently are Air Force Colonel Stanton, Commander of FEN from Tokyo, Army Colonel William Nechanicky, the base commander at Kuma Station, Chitose. Tom Thornburg, is a broadcaster in Florida. John Chester, we've lost touch with you and would love to hear from you. He may also be living in Florida.


This is Army Specialist Lou Davidsburg who took over the regular duties of the evening newscast. The newscast was broadcast live every evening at 6:00PM. The text of the newscast was read from FEN-Tokyo every afternoon via landline at dictation speed. It would be transcribed and turned into the script used by the newscaster. Lou is now a correspondent for WMAR-TV the ABC affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland.


This is how Ray Osborne looked way back then. He started as a part-time announcer and was able to transfer on a full-time basis when the television facility was ready to become operational. In civilian life he had experience in commercial and educational television. After the service he had an extended career in educational media and distance education for Bell Laboratories and Public Relations with AT&T Corporate Television. At the present time, he is an Information Development Consultant with Lucent Technologies where he writes technical documentation for large-scale computer software systems.



Dage vidicon studio TV camera at FEN Chitose (at the time the FEN TVstation was being commissioned there). Photo courtesy of John Hazlet.


Rack of equipment at FEN Chitose. The stuff below the Ampex 350 is video amplifiers of some sort. Photo courtesy of John Hazlet.

Looking for more information on Chitose?  Check out the pages from the ASA Chitose Association.


This page last modified on Saturday, 16-Nov-2002 18:14:28 EST

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