Original AFN recordings to be played behind the Plaza at this year´s festival
AFN, the American Forces Network, accompanied U.S. troops all through the war as one of the many amenities they had and other armies could only envy. The radio station brought their military audience the latest tunes and news from home and abroad as well as sports, special broadcasts and messages from friends and relatives.
The U.S. Department of War decided to set up the military radio station in as early as 1942. The AFN network came to Europe on July 14, 1943. This is when the umbrella organization, Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) based on Kodiak Island, Alaska, was also established.
Broadcasting from Paris was added in 1944, and in May 1945 another AFN branch was opened in Frankfurt am Main. Initially radio programming was broadcast from a truck parked behind a local chemical plant where the main U.S. headquarters was based. After Munich was occupied by the US Seventh Army, AFN Munich was added to the network, broadcasting from two 100-kilowatt transmitters near Munich and Stuttgart. In Munich the station was based at a villa on Kaulbachstraße that once belonged to Gauleiter Adolf Wagner. In August AFN’s main headquarters were moved from London to Frankfurt am Main. Within just a short period, the station started broadcasting in Nuremberg, Bremen, and Berlin.
The Pacific Ocean Network (PON), composed of several stations located on tiny Pacific islands, broadcast for soldiers in the Pacific. AFN continued to broadcast after the war, and featured live broadcasts from the Nuremberg trials. Even today you can tune in to AFN!