American Military Radio in Central Europe

Frankfurt/Main Germany

Bertramstrasse 6 - 1988

This is the front of the HQs AFN building at the Bertramstrasse 6 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I was there in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Today the HQs AFN Europe are in  Mannheim, Germany. The new broadcasting centre on a Mannheim kaserne cost $12mil and is all digital, I have seen pictures of it and it is as if you are on the bridge of some spaceship.

HQs AFN Lobby 1988

In 1988 I made this photo of the HQs AFN lobby, I got a tour of the AFN building by SGT Tom Skinner. It was amazing!

HQs AFN Lobby 1990

This is the same lobby in 1990.

Radio

People

SP4 Lon Blair

Specialist4 Lon Blair, he used to present the morning show on AFN Frankfurt in 1988. He left the US Army and became an AFN civilian. He now is the boss of AFN Hessen.

SP4 Liz Luckhardt

Specialist4 Liz Luckhardt, she also presented the morning show. I vaguely recall she also did the AFN Midday show. She did a show from the Munich Octoberfest! That was a lot of fun! I liked her and sent her flowers. She got married to an AFN colleague.

Jan Wood

This is news reader Jan Wood. I got to talk to him in 1988 when I got the tour of the AFN building. I told him how the AFN news was far more informative than the Dutch news. He told me they did pick stories to air for their relevance for the American military audience. The American military leadership want American news as broadcast on military radio and television to be free of censorship. Dutch radio news on the top of the hour is 2 minutes, AFN's radio news is 5 minutes.

Equipment

News room

This is the newsroom where the information from news services was received.

news studionews studio

These are the news studio and the sports studio, they were located next to each other near the newsroom.

production studio

production studio

These are two so called production studios. Where for instance public service announcement were made, but no radio for immediate live broadcasts.

master control

clock

Master Control is the very heart of AFN Europe. Where the radio stream would leave the AFN building to be transferred to the transmitter. Here they used to play records with prerecorded radio shows. Like on the photo below. These vinyl records were about to be destroyed after being broadcast once. Mind you, this was in 1988, today AFN uses a big satellite to download programming from America which is then broadcast on AFN Europe's radio and television stations.

record library

record library

The AFN library is one of the biggest in Europe. I remember that when there was a request show on that the presenter would phone the record library and the record he wanted would be brought to the studio!

Television

tv studio

tv studio

The control room where live television programs were directed from.

set guesthaus

The set of the TV show Guest Haus a weekly show on AFN Television promoting German American friendship.

weathermap

The weather map with temperatures in Fahrenheit, between 1996 and 1999 I corresponded with the AFN weather woman Air Force Staff Sergeant Debbie Swan. She did weather for radio and television.

news desk

The set for the television news.

graphics computer

graphics computer

In 1988 I was shown the AFN graphics computer, which was used to make logos for in a corner of the screen, saying things like 'sports', or 'news'. Back then computers still were a novelty.

slides on tv

Tom also showed me this device, which is intended to be used to put slides on television.

Frankfurt

downtown Frankfurt

downtown Frankfurt

I also made these photos from a bridge on the river Main, these days Frankfurt has a skyline, but back in 1988 the Germans had only just started building tall buildings just look at the cranes.

HQs AFN Europe

US Army Europe

Back in 1988 the HQs AFN was part of USAREUR, later in 1989 AFN was transferred to another command so now these AFN people wear this patch below on their shoulder. This is the Army Broadcasting Service.