WXLH - Okinawa




AFRS Okinawa Hustles

Just Like Station in U.S.

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LATEST OF THE LATEST -- AFRS Okinawa brings you the latest of sporting events, stateside and local to all personnel in the Rycom area.  Top photo shows Cpl. Gerald G. Follett, a radio engineer technician at the station, manipulating the dials to bring in a special shortwave broadcast from the states while the bottom photo shows sportscaster, Air Force Pfc. Stan Bohrman bringing you the latest sports news.  (U.S. Army Photos)

Pacific Stars & Stripes (Ryukyu Edition), January 25, 1950 (page 2)

HQ RYCOM --  AFRS Okinawa claims the distinction of being the first radio station to be established on Japanese-held territory.   "The Voice of Information and Education" was born three days after the invasion of Okinawa, when radio equipment first hit the beaches.  In May 1945, Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, then commanding general of the Tenth Army formally opened the station.  On Sept. 7, 1945, AFRS shortwaved to the world the formal surrender of the Ryukyus Islands, which event marked the end of all organized hostilities in the Far East.

Situated high atop Windy Hill, near the Rycom Special Staff Area, AFRS operates on a frequency of 1260 kilocycles with the power of 250 watts.   The station is under the direct supervision of the Staff Troop Information and Education Section.

A backstage view of AFRS reveals all the hustle and bustle of a stateside station.  Announcers have to work up their programs days in advance, and behind all the shows is the planning of the program director, who has to arrange the material weeks ahead of the actual broadcast.  Arrangements must be made for special Island events covered by the mobile transmitting unit and for special airings of stateside sports events.

Keeping the equipment in operation is a difficult task, but under the chief radio engineer, the station stays on the air in spite of technical difficulties.  Emergency power units permit broadcasts to go uninterrupted during power failure.  These power units kept AFRS on the air during the last typhoon, until the equipment became rain-soaked.

The station boosts a record library of over 10,000 discs.  The librarian can pick out almost any musical recording, popular or classical at a moment's notice.

Visitors can watch the "live" broadcasts which dominate the morning and afternoon schedules:

Sgt. 1/C Don Cosgrove's Musical Clock Show

Cpl. George B. Morgan's Coffee Time

Quarral C. Noah's Sketches in Melody

Pvt. Thomas E. Lockwood's Symphony Hour

Cpl. Gerald G. Follett's and Choko Fugiama's newscasts

and Sgt. John Evanchick's Strictly Stateside and Requestfully Yours.

Also, Cpl. Henry Carrara's Hospital Request Show

Arla Guild's Island Chatter

Stan Bohrman's sports news

and appropriate Sunday programs with Pfc. John W. DeAguirree and the chaplains.

Heading the personnel at AFRS are Capt. Louis Osborne, officer in charge and M/Sgt. Edward M. Morris administrative NCO.

Thus did station Gypsy, one of the nine voices of American Forces Korean Network, live up to its name.  AFKN's first station moved around so much that they called it Kilroy (they still do); it broadcast from an olive drab van in the smoking ruins of Seoul, two days after the United Nations liberated it.   The next station was also rather itinerant, and got the name Vagabond; but Pusan looked like it was here to stay and the one there became Homesteader.  The others are Rambler, Nomad, Mercury, Meteor, and Troubadour.  Together they reach nine out of every ten men in Korea, whose receivers vary from earphones on hospital ships to R-100 radios in the bunkers (every platoon gets one), some of them tuned in 24 hours a day.

More WXLH/FEN Okinawa goodies at this link.

This page last modified on Friday, 30-Jul-2004 21:31:41 EDT



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