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  • The Panama Coast Artillery Command (PCAC) begins military broadcasting in the Panama Canal Zone.
  • The U.S. Army’s Alaska Communications Service (ACS) launches three “secret radio stations” in Sitka and Kodiak: KRB, KODK and GAB.
  • March 01 - Command Performance premiered from New York and starred Eddie Cantor. The show reflected the wishes of American Soldiers, hence, a performance "on command." By the end of the year responsibility for the show was given to AFRS from the Radio Division of the Bureau of Public Relations;
  • May 29 - The War Department establishes the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) in Hollywood, California and commissions prominent radio advertising executive Tom Lewis as its first commander.
  • August - The first AFRS-originated program "Mail Call" was produced by True Boardman and written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee;
  • ASCAP, BMI, MPAA and SESAC jointly grant AFRS a gratis annual license to record and distribute radio programs;
  • July 4 - The American Forces Network Europe (AFN-E) provides its first broadcast to U.S. troops from BBC Studios in London. The broadcast includes five hours of recorded shows and BBC News and sportscasts. The signal is sent via telephone lines to five regional transmitters to the troops in the United Kingdom;
  • October 25 - 5th Army Mobile Expeditionary Radio Service begins broadcasting in Naples, Italy;
  • December - by year’s end, AFRS expands to 140 stations around the world;
  • Seven stations form the “Mosquito Network” open in the Southwest Pacific while the “Jungle Network” begins broadcasting in New Guinea;
  • Back home, CBS, Mutual and NBC individually grant AFRS permission to record and distribute their programs;
  • December - AFRS is now producing 40 hours of original programming a week from its studios in Hollywood, California;
  • D-Day arrives as allied troops land successfully in France;
  • November – AFN administrative Headquarters remains in London but operations move to newly liberated Paris. As Allied forces continue to push German Soldiers back into Germany, AFN moves east as well. Following the liberation of Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, more than 60 AFN stations spring up along the Allied front;
  • On the home front, AFRS presses its 1,000,000th disk for distribution overseas;
  • ABC grants AFRTS gratis permission to record and distribute its programs;
  • World War II ends and, Colonel Tom Lewis returns to civilian life on Madison Avenue;
  • The Far East Network (FEN) is established and takes control of 14 AFRS affiliates in the Pacific;
  • June 10 - AFN Munich signs on the air;
  • AFN Bremen and AFN Berlin sign on the air;
  • August - 5,000 troops in Austria are served by the Blue Danube Network (BDN) from a mobile radio station on the back of two, two-and-a-half ton trucks;
  • August 15 – AFN Frankfurt signs on the air from a mobile radio studio on the back of a truck parked outside General Dwight Eisenhower's Frankfurt Headquarters;
  • December 31- AFN London signs off the air;
  • AFN Europe Network headquarters in the Hoechst Castle on the Main River near Frankfurt;
  • The Department of the Army establishes the Army Information School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania to train soldiers as military print and broadcast journalists.
  • AFN closes all stations in France;
  • March 17- AFN Stuttgart signs on the air;
  • AFN Bremen moves north and becomes AFN Bremerhaven;
  • AFN Europe reporters cover world events such as the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, the Soviet Blockade of Berlin and the Berlin Airlift;
  • The Korean War begins and “Vagabond Radio” in Seoul becomes the American Forces Korean Network (AFKN).
  • July - AFN Nuremburg signs on the air at the Grand Hotel in downtown Nuremberg, Germany;
  • The Armed Forces Information School opens at Fort Slocum, NY.
  • The Secretary of Defense signs a memorandum permitting military television broadcasts, and the first experimental broadcast is seen on Christmas Day from Limestone AFB, Maine.
  • December 14 - AFN Kaiserslautern provides radio service from a mobile van to serve those West of the Rhein;
  • The AFRS adds television to its military broadcast mission and officially becomes the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.
  • October 21 - AFN Kaiserslautern signs on the air at Vogelweh, Air Base;
  • October - U.S. Forces relocate from Austria to Italy and the Blue Danube Network also moves south of the Alps and changes its name to the Southern European Network (SEN);
  • Southern European Network Headquarters moves from Livorno to Verona;
  • The CBS and NBC Television Networks grant AFRTS separate continuous licenses to record, distribute and broadcast their regularly scheduled network programs;
  • AFTRA, DGA, SAG, WGA-E and WGA-W jointly provide AFRTS with a continuous gratis waiver to record, distribute and broadcast commercial-free radio and television programs;
  • May 23 - AFN returns to France with a station in Orleans;
  • July 15 - After being one of the 11 original transmitter sites in Europe, AFN Heidelberg becomes its own station and signs on the air;
  • March 20 - AFN Berlin becomes the first station to provide 24-hour operations;
  • The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) reaffirms its ongoing gratis radio and television program duplication license for AFRTS;
  • March - The Defense Information School (DINFOS) is established at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana to train military broadcast students for worldwide AFRTS assignments;
  • The Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS) opens its doors at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana;
  • AFRTS begins broadcasting in South Vietnam as the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN);
  • AFN Europe Network Headquarters moves from the castle to downtown Frankfurt in a building provided by German Hessen state radio, Hessischer Rundfunk;
  • AFN Orleans shuts down as France withdraws from NATO and asks U.S. troops to leave. The station moves to Belgium and sets up at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as AFN SHAPE;
  • Southern European Network Headquarters moves from Verona, to Vicenza, Italy;
  • The AFVN station in Hue City, Vietnam, is overrun by enemy forces during the opening days of the Tet offensive; one AFVN staffer is killed and five others begin over four years of captivity in North Vietnam.
  • Armed Forces Radio and Television Service changes its name to American Forces Radio and Television Service.
  • Fourteen AFRTS staff members die when an F-4 Phantom Fighter crashes into the Udorn, Thailand station.
  • Air Force Television at Ramstein provides TV to the troops in Central Europe until the early 70's when AFN Europe assumes the mission;
  • The Navy launches closed circuit television aboard U.S. Navy ships-at-sea.
  • ASCAP provides AFRTS with an experimental “open ended” license to record and distribute programs accredited by the federation;
  • February 5 - AFN SHAPE becomes a full service station.
  • The AFVN ends its broadcast mission as the Vietnam Conflict comes to an end;
  • The Secretary of the Navy establishes the Navy Broadcasting Service (NBS).
  • Southern European Network changes its name to Southern European Broadcasting (SEB) when Italy approves the request to broadcast a television services;
  • AFN Soesterberg, the Netherlands signs on the air;
  • October 28 - AFN broadcasts the first color television signal from the Frankfurt studio;
  • The AFRTS Programming Center (AFRTS-PC) in Hollywood, California is given the approval to establish 24-hour-a-day, satellite delivered global feed of news, information, entertainment and sports programs;
  • December - The AFRTS Satellite Network (SATNET) begins test transmissions;
  • The Army and Air Force follow the lead of the Navy and establish their own centrally managed broadcasting services – ABS and AFBS;
  • January 15 - the American Forces Satellite Network (AFSN) switch was thrown from the Air Force Arctic Broadcasting Squadron and military personnel stationed at Shemya AFB, Galena Airport, Campion AFS, King Salmon Airport, Attu Coast Guard Station, and Adak naval Station were connected to the world by satellite.
  • May 01 - AFN Wuerzburg signs on for the first time with six people on the staff. Headed by SSG Clark Taylor, engineers Joachim Niemand and Alvin Lucas; SP5 Bill Boyd in Network News; staffers SGT Nike Anthony and SP5 Jay Derkach;
  • October 4 - AFKN activates a new FM stereo automation system;
  • October 4 - American forces Korea Network celebrates 30 years of service to U.S. Forces stationed on the Asian Peninsula;
  • Navy Broadcasting Service completed the installation of another sub-site system which brought the total of TV equipped submarines to 14. It consists of two VTR units mounted in a control console, a black and white camera for local production work, and various monitors for viewing at different locations throughout each boat;
  • February - The AFRTS satellite network center (SATNET) now supplies more than seven hours a day of live programming to four receiving sites;
  • The 1981 Radio-Only Station of the Year was Det 11, AFEBS at Hellenikon Greece; TUSLOG DET 124 at Incirlik, Turkey was the combined Radio and TV Station of the Year.
  • NBS establishes AFRTS service in Lebanon in support of the U.S. Marines;
  • The American Forces Satellite Network (AFSN) signed off for the last time;
  • October 01 - AFRTS changes it's name back to Armed Forces Radio Television Service from American Forces to Armed Forces Radio and Television Service;
  • October 04 - AFRTS-PC began 24-hour satellite delivery of 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.
  • 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;
  • November 03 - AFRTS-PC becomes the AFRTS Broadcast Center (AFRTS-BC) and relocates from Hollywood to a new site in the Los Angeles suburb of Sun Valley without loss of airtime.
  • 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, first commander of AFRTS, passes away at age 87;
  • AFN Panama supplies recordings used to “persuade” Manuel Noriega to surrender;
  • All satellite transmission from AFRTS-BC becomes totally encrypted to prevent piracy;
  • AFRTS-BC switches from vinyl to compact disk (CD) for music distribution overseas.;
  • November 11 - AFN Europe reports live on the collapse of the Berlin Wall;
  • 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).
  • April 26 - AFN Nuremberg moves from the Bavarian American Hotel to William O'Darby Kaserne in Fuerth, Germany and offers local TV command information to its audience;
  • January - AFN Europe sends troops to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield;
  • Far East Network - Philippines Headquarters and studios at Clark Air Force Base destroyed by volcanic ash from Mount Pinatubo’s eruption on Luzon;
  • AFRTS-BC installs its first radio automation system, the BE16; first satellite-radio format (Adult Rock from Westwood One) broadcast from AFRTS-BC;
  • February 14 - AFN Munich signs off the air;
  • 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.”
  • AFRTS establishes three regional “Super Stations” in Germany, Italy and Turkey;
  • AFRTS-BC replaces U-Matic with BetaSP for tape-distributed programming;
  • BRASS BUTTON BROADCASTERS is written by Trent Christman;
  • May - AFRTS turns 50, celebrates its Golden Anniversary, and is awarded a George Foster Peabody Award and a Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Mike Award;
  • AFRTS-BC replaces vinyl radio shows with cassettes;
  • AFN Bremerhaven signs off the air;
  • March 31 - AFN Bremerhaven signs off the air;
  • April 16 - AFN Heidelberg signs on the air after moving from Stuttgart;
  • May 1-2 - AFN Berlin broadcasts live from a former Eastern Bloc nation with a radio remote from the city square of Neu Brandenburg;
  • June 20 - AFN Somalia signs on the air;
  • October - Southern European Broadcasting (SEB) becomes AFN South (AFNS);
  • AFN Munich signs off the air;
  • January 17 - Northridge earthquake, measured at 6.7, mostly spares Broadcast Center in Sun Valley, California;
  • March 8 - AFN Somalia signs off the air;
  • April 05 - AFRTS at Iraklion Air Station, Crete, goes off the air after nearly 34 years of service;
  • July 15 - AFN Berlin signs off the air;
  • August 15 - AFN Soesterberg signs off the air;
  • AFRTS-BC relocates to a new state-of-the-art facility on March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California.
  • The DGA grants AFRTS an ongoing gratis license to distribute television programming outside the contiguous United States;
  • September 4 - The station formerly known as AFN Nuremberg signs on the air with a 24-hour radio marathon party from its new location on Rose Barracks, Vilseck;
  • December – AFN mobile radio station deploys to support troops serving in the Balkans on a NATO peacekeeping mission;
  • Network-level Creative Services and Marketing Division created and non-linear editing began at AFRTS-BC;
  • December - AFRTS converts to digital broadcast capability and AFRTS-BC converts SATNET from a program delivery service to an on-air feed;
  • NPR Worldwide created specifically for AFRTS and first broadcast from AFRTS-BC;
  • AFRTS-BC ceases production/broadcast of made-for-AFRTS, jock radio shows;
  • AFRTS ceases mailing of Television Weekly packages worldwide;
  • AFRTS launches its corporate website (;
  • AFRTS begins delivery of live television to U.S. Navy ships-at-sea with the “Direct-to-Sailors” Service (DTS);
  • Satellite delivery of AFN to customers with a small satellite dish, Direct-to-Home (DTH) service, begins in Europe;
  • AFRTS transitions from analog to digital and compresses its satellite signal to launch the four regional AFN Entertainment, the NewSports and the Spectrum television channels and ten different audio services;
  • AFRTS-BC, through cooperation with the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) in Offutt, Nebraska, launches daily global weather reports on AFN Pacific.
  • U.S. Forces withdraw from the Panama Canal and the Southern Command Network (SCN) ceases operations;
  • Three website launched by AFRTS-BC Affiliate Relations staff (AFN on TV, AFN on Radio, and Affiliate Website);
  • AFRTS-BC begins migration to tapeless broadcasting;
  • Through its expanded satellite distribution platform the Broadcast Center now delivers over 30,000 hours of television programming and more than 87,000 hours of radio programming annually to nearly 800,000 U.S. Forces personnel stationed in 169 countries and aboard U.S. Navy ships-at-sea;
  • February 15 - AFRTS ceases broadcast of the AFN-Americas television channel;
  • 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;
  • AFRTS-BC does the world broadcast premiere of the film MEN OF HONOR;
  • AFRTS-BC begins full-time channel “bugging” of AFN Atlantic, AFN Pacific and AFN Korea, with NewsSports and Spectrum to follow;
  • AFRTS-BC adds a Program Guide channel to its line-up;
  • June 25 - AFN Alaska signs off the air;
  • August 07 - AFN News and AFN Sports goes on the air at 0100 Central European Time and 0800 in Japan and Korea time;
  • 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 on several channels. AFN Europe provides round-the-clock coverage of closures, delays and European-theater force protection messages;
  • launched by AFRTS-BC Affiliate Relations staff, merging the AFNonTV and AFNonRadio websites;
  • 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;
  • May 28 - AFN Frankfurt changes its name to AFN Hessen;
  • October 01 - the AFRTS Broadcast Center is renamed the Defense Media Center;
  • AFN Europe starts to send military journalists and engineers to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • December 10 - the American Forces Network Iraq commences broadcast operations in the Green Zone. MSgt Erik Brazones conducted the first live show following opening remarks from LTG Ricardo Sanchez, CJTF-7’s Commanding General and the first song aired is Paul McCartney’s “Freedom”
  • AFN-BC begins satellite feed of the Pentagon Channel worldwide;
  • Naval Media Center’s Roosevelt Roads detachment ceases operations;
  • AFN-BC announces introduction of the AFN entertainment channels as AFN "prime" (AFN Prime Atlantic, AFN Prime Pacific and AFN Prime Korea);
  • Direct-to-Home (DTH) service begins in the Pacific, primarily oriented for audiences in Japan and Korea;
  • The Defense Media Center now reaches 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;
  • AFN Broadcast Center upgrades the PowerVu encoding system to PowerVu Plus, enabling the eventual expansion of channel capacity;
  • May 24 - AFN Hessen begins broadcasting from the studios at Wiesbaden Army Air Field;
  • 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;
  • October 29 - AFN Europe Network Headquarters broadcasts its first live radio broadcast from the network's new Headquarters building on Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany;
  • DMC personnel install satellite uplink in Baghdad that marks a “first” in military broadcasting history: the capability of sending live reports from a war zone; "Freedom Journal - Iraq" becomes the first daily television newscast delivered worldwide from a war zone;
  • The AFN|prime Korea Advisory Block is terminated, eliminating “closed-circuit” TV feeds to affiliates;
  • AFN Radio’s Voice Channel adds three political talk-radio shows: Sean Hannity, Ed Schultz and Al Franken.
  • 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;
  • April 12 - AFN-Afghanistan stands up at Bagram AB;
  • 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 Europe's Eagle Radio goes on the air in Bulgaria, the second former Warsaw Pact nation to have live AFN radio (Hungary was the first);
  • AFN-BC discontinues play-by-play sports on AFN Radio;
  • AFRTS and AFN AMERICAN FORCES NETWORK become registered trademarks.
  • February 27 - AFN BC launches AFN|xtra, a unique channel targeted at 18-24 year olds;
  • March - AFN Europe debuts AFN The Eagle, a researched, pre-approved family-friendly mix of adult contemporary and oldies music. Commissaries and other public places start playing AFN radio again;
  • April - Mr. Melvin W. Russell (LTC USA ret.), Director of AFRTS, receives the COL. Tom Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • AFN Europe's Eagle Radio goes on the air in the former Warsaw Pact nation of Bulgaria;
  • July 04 - AFN Afghanistan does its first show and AFN-BC launches AFN Prime Freedom;
  • July 21 - AFN Afghanistan begins full radio operations;
  • September 18 - NMC Broadcasting Detachment Keflavik goes off the air;
  • December 1 - AFN SHAPE becomes AFN Benelux at the request of the garrison commander, who wants the station name to be more inclusive (the station broadcasts to Chevres Air Base, as well as locations in the Netherlands and Germany, not just SHAPE Headquarters);
  • 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;
  • AFN Wuerzburg changes its name to AFN Franconia at the request of local commanders who want the station's name to be more inclusive of communities served (the station serves Wuerzburg, Schweinfurt, Bamberg and Ansbach);
  • February 02 - NMC Broadcasting Detachment Lisbon transmits its final FM broadcast and CATV service;
  • AFN Europe changes its AFN Eagle radio service positioning statement from "Music Worth Fighting For" to "Serving America's Best;"
  • 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;
  • October 01 - Defense Media Activity stands up;
  • March 11 - Mr. David S. Jackson appointed as the first director of Defense Media Activity
  • March 30 - DMA Director, Mr. David S. Jackson, reported to duty
  • April 8 - Groundbreaking ceremony for Defense Media Activity facility is held at Fort George G. Meade.
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