FEN Kyushu (Itazuke)

The Hank Schutzbier Collection

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We are very pleased to present a collection of information and photos on "FEN Kyushu" with central studios in Itazuke.  We are indebted to Hank Schutzbier for his contributions.  Hank recalls:

"Now, I may be very wrong, but while a staff announcer with FEN, 1957-1959, our esteemed engineer at the time, Bob Houston, was with FEN following the arrival of US troops on Kyushu in 1945. "

"We used to talk a lot about those early days and I recall Bob saying that the original broadcasts were made in Kokura, from an Army 399 radio communications van. Good choice back then since these "commo vans' operated with transmit frequencies in the HF band. According to my understanding they then moved from the van to a "Department Store" with large windows over looking downtown Kokura. This could the NHK building Roscoe speaks of in his history of FEN. The move to Itazuke AB Annex was as Roscoe indicates, before my time a bit, but we didn't broadcast Korean language material. This may have been done for a short period of time during the "conflict".

"Just before I arrived in January 1957, we had satellite receiver sites at Kokura, Ashiya AB, Tsuiki AB in Oita prefecture, and Fleet Activities Sasebo in Nagasaki prefecture."

"I might add that in addition to the medium wave frequencies of our transmit facilities, the program material from the network at FEN Tokyo (South Camp Drake), was received and selected material originating from our own studios were duplexed on two dedicated, audio-grade, phone lines to and from Tokyo. FEN Tokyo fed the network by pone lines while simultaneously transmitting network program material from the Momote Village transmitter site medium as well as on at least two short wave frequencies. I recall one was around 7 or 9MHz, the other possibly 11MHz and I think another was around 15MHz.

" I loved my work with FEN. It iprofoundly influenced my life to the point where I became a permanent resident of Japan, with a house not far from our original studios. Sadly, the site is now is occupied by a huge condominium complex. "

"Needless to say FEN hold a very dear place in my heart."

"My very close friend and colleague at FEN back then, Bill Hoffmeyer, was active in the Teen Agers on Parade broadcasts from FEN Itazuke (they kept changing our call sign back and forth, Kyushu or Itazuke). They were aired on Saturdays.  Bill, on return to the ZI went into radio and later bought up some TV stations. Did very well for himself. He's now in San Simion, California."

"My own show, 'Take 25' was pretty popular with the ladies of the house since I targeted them in the 8:05am time slot, between the news and Don McNeil's Breakfast Club. That show ran on a bit after I left but it just pettered out to make way for other programming. I had a ball doing that show."

Warm regards,

Henry (Hank) Schutzbier

Click on any of the thumbnail pictures below to see the full-sized image. You will need to use your browser's "back" button to return to this page.


This picture, provided by Bill Wood who worked with Schutzbier, shows Hank with his wife in Honolulu circa 1961. Bill and Hank worked together on a remote tracking station on Tern Island in the French Frigate Shoals halfway between Honolulu and Midway Island in 1961-1962 not too long after Hank left the USAF as an FEN staffer in Japan.  Apparently the e-mail address we have on file for Hank is no longer valid.  Can anyone help Bill locate him?


This picture shows the Itazuke studios with the transmitter building to the left. Just before Hank arrived in January 1957, they had satellite receiver sites at Kokura, Ashiya AB, Tsuiki AB in Oita pref., and Fleet Activities Sasebo in Nagasaki pref.


As seen from the FEN banner on the wall of the Itazuke events studio (circa 1957), FEN Ashiya (as a remote relay site but can't remember the frequency), FEN Sasebo relay at 1570Kc, the FEN Kokura relay at 1590Kc and the main studios at FEN Itazuke 1550Kc all comprised what was called FEN Kyushu.


There were three studios at FEN Itazuke.  Studio #1, as seen here, was the main announcing studio where 'normal' network and local programming emanated, then across the hall was #2 which was generally used for pre-recording program material but could also back up the principal studio, and the "events" studio, much larger, which could accommodate small groups. All three were available for on-line operation.


Japanese singer, Hamamura Michiko ("Banana Boat Girl") that Hank  interviewed while she was at the Nikatsu Theatre down town.


In 1957, terrible floods and land slides wiped out two towns in Nagasaki Prefectire, Isahaya and Shimabara. Hank interviewingf the charity relief people 


Jane Mansfield, touring with a USO show that stopped by after an engagement in Korea.


Hank and PrimeMminister Nobusuke Kishi shared the same helicopoter to view the damage from the floods. Hank met Mr. Kishi again in 1982 in Yamaguchi (his home prefecture) .  A common friend, Mr. Yagi, is also shown.   Mr. Yagi's wife was Mr. Kishi's younger daughter.


This was Armed Forces Day, outside the FEN studios at Itazuke. Sam Nakai and his orchestra, singers: Eddie Nakagawa and Peggy Yamaguchi.


Can't remember her name, but this lady MC'd part of the Armed Forces Day show that had the 'Teen Agers On Parade' group.


Hank at the controls for Armed Forces Day.


Army S/Sgt Vince DeRose interviewing unknown USAF officer


Armed Forces Day celebration outside Itazuke studios


Hank at the controls of the remote console along with his future wife.


Another view of Hank at the controls of the remote console along with his future wife.


Hank was Chief Announcer in 1958.  Hank shared the office with USAF S/Sgt George E. Cashman. He later worked for TBS television, a large Japanese network, in Tokyo as an English announcer on the bi-lingual stereo channel used for those wishing to hear programming in various languages.


A/2c Bill Hoffmeyer (now known as Liam Kingsmill - married an English woman). Bill left FEN Itazuke after 1959 and continued doing the teen programs in the Tokyo area. This is a shot of a morning program we did a few times, called "Rise & Shine."  In this shot, Bill did a remote across the street on the main base road, next to the base swimming pool.  This was on from 5am to 7am, a real fun program. Broadcast only throughout all Kyushu on our repeaters.


Another shot of Bill Hoffmeyer at the Itazuke main control board.


A close up shot of Bill Hoffmeyer (Hank's best friend), visiting Hank's house on New Years Day 1959.

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