Sunday, April 02, 2006

AFN, Where For Art Thou?

Whatever happened to the US Armed Forces Radio station? Remember when we had not one but two stations, that varied every few months from Top 40 to R&B to Classic Rock to exclusively Talk radio?

Ever since I hooked up the iPod to my car's stereo, I don't pay much attention to the radio and only listen on occasion, so I don't really recall when exactly the AFN completely disappeared. In fact, I still have its local FM frequency (104.3) programmed on the preset channels in my car. But I miss the live morning shows that we'd hear in the afternoon; the Jonathan & Mary Show was particularly hilarious, whereas the Tom Joyner Morning Show had its hits and misses and was mainly good for some old-school soul music. I miss the lunatic rants of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlesinger, as well as the NPR show All Things Considered. I also miss the unintentionally hilarious "public service announcements" that were targetted at US military personnel.

Throughout its time on the air here in Kuwait, it would disappear sporadically for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, but would always come back. Sometimes it would come back in a different format, but at least it was there.

So is there an official explanation as to why it no longer broadcasts here in Kuwait? Several theories are floating:
  1. It was quietly escorted off the local airwaves when Marina FM commenced operations. I don't buy that one because the target audience is completely different, and if anything Radio Sawa is a much bigger threat.
  2. The Ministry of Dis-Information got rid of it because Islamist MPs objected to the un-wholesome content on some of its morning shows. That's very possible given the current "holier than thou" climate of fear we live in.
  3. The Ministry may have also felt it was too much of a US propaganda tool and quietly got rid of it. Again, it's possible Islamist MPs may have exerted some pressure.
  4. AFN may have decided it was too costly to rebroadcast to its forces on the local FM frequency, and perhaps now provides them with entertainment on satellite or Internet based systems.

Anyone with relevant information on this subject is welcome to post a comment or reply here.


  1. Zaydoun,

    They got rid of it just to spite you.

  2. OK fine... but who are "THEY"?

  3. مادري

    ياكرهك ما تنصاد

  4. Again... why would "THE MAN" get rid of a station that is not in direct competition?

    No, that theory holds no water. There has to be something else

  5. im pretty sure you are right in that the yanks found it too costly to have it on FM any longer.Cheap bastards are already running out of money in iraq,and now that all the contractors are being busted as soon as they land in the USA,the whole climate of spending regardlessley is changing.Even the pro american magazine HI which was owned by the state department has dissapeared.

  6. Suprisingly, I was actually thinking about this a few days ago.. I'm glad u brought it up, i want to know what happened:)

  7. Zaydoun,

    I contacted AFN and they told me that the radio station is still available but a special decoder is needed to receive the programming. They are rolling this technology out in a lot of the areas where AFN is available.

  8. Thanks Poiwer.. so this means they're not going to return to the FM airwaves?

  9. I'm kinda surprised when you say you're missing that radio channel. From what I remember, half the time it was just ads praising the army etc, and the other half was just boring music. To be fair I haven't given it that much of a chance, especially since its broadcasting wasn't always clear in my case for some reason. But this is coming from a BIG radio fan (I never watch tv but listen to the local radio everyday. And no, I'm not talking about music channels).

    I've spent about 5 years in the states and listened to Newstalk 1110 for some time, until I realized how freakin' stupid some of the people on it are. Spires and Krantz? Rush Limbaugh? Dr. Laura? I'd rather watch grass grow than listen to those freaks (especially that Dr. Laura...).

    NPR was a better choice IMO. Newstalk 1110 was 90% flash and sparkles, 10% (crappy) substance.

    As for our local radio stations, I actually like them. You get at least one good sport show, some human development type shows, busniess-oriented radio courses (there was one split in short episodes last year. Really nice), and the like.

    It would be really nice if we could get one of the English BBC channels (BBC 7 is sweet).

    Anyways, sorry if that sounded so 'rantsy'. But for me that channel was just propaganda, and radio is the last place I want hear that kind of propaganda at...

  10. Of course it was propaganda, but the music was good. Especially when it was good R&B

    As for Rush and Laura, I can't stand them either but I listened for shock value. But I really do miss the NPR shows and Jonathan & Mary

    As for praising the army, you forget it wasn't aimed at us but supposedly to boost army morale. And the further you drove south the weaker the signal!

    But anyway... what happened to it??!!

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. What we need is more Islamic radio stations to guide us to the righteous path.

    Down with Satanic American propaganda!

  13. Zort,

    I hope your sarcastic comment wasn't directed at my reply? I'm not pro purely-islamic radio stations; I just want channels that have a good entertainment/value ratio. Notice I said I'd love to have BBC7 (which is full of comedy shows and dramatized novels).

    As for AFN growing weaker the further to the south you drive... that's interesting, I never knew about it before. Although I am not living too far to the south myself, so I'm not sure why I wasn't able to get good reception :).

  14. I don't know whether Zort was being sarcastic or not, but I actually think there's a point to what he said.
    Since most of the islamic hosting stations are on the AM instead of the FMs, which are pretty fuzzy on the ears no doubt.

    And yes, we do need to be guided; atleast many do at the time being.

  15. safi... zort was indeed being sarcastic, and guidance can - and should - be found with one's family

  16. The Cartalk guys too.. silly fun.

  17. Bu Jwais,

    Not at all bro :-)

    I was being sarcastic but it was NOT directed at your reply...I actually was hoping you wouldn't understand it that way ;-)

    P.S. I don't get ANYTHING on my radio when I drive I just continue singing my way to the chalet.


    The last thing we need is guidance by Salafi Kooks who'll guide you to Tora Bora before you know it!

  18. Zaydoun... Zort, the double Z's ;P

    I know that guidance always comes from family first, no doubt.
    But you know how it's here in Kuwait, some people are just too shy or just disconnected from their family so the radio is somewhat of a hopeful approach.

    As for the Salafeyeen, majority of people have a brain you'd like to presume, but I guess brain-washing is brain-washing. Although I do still see that some radio shows could be interesting, giving strictly agreed on tips for instance, just basic things; nothing complicated.

    You can't please all.

  19. zort... get an iPod and hook it up in your car. It's the best thing EVER!!

  20. Safi,

    I see your point.


    I'm the only one I know who still doesn't have an iPod...still Apple-challenged.

    Nevertheless, I prefer to sing. My car is one of two places where I get the chance to sing without anyone complaining! LOL

  21. Zort,
    I wonder if you get all expressional, you'll get stares no question haha.

    Just some input, I know back in the day IBM crushed Apple like well... an apple. They got kicked out of the Middle East in a sense. I guess it's back after all, "cool"ing up people, huh.

  22. So sing along to the iPod.. Or do you have your own compositions that you perform a capella?!

  23. AFN's off the air and a good riddance too!
    The respite this has provided can allow some to get hooked on to BBC's Radio 4, Radio 3 and Radio 7 via the Net.

  24. OK fine... and now that I have the iPod I don't miss it anymore, and I can download Podcasts from NPR if I want to... but the question still remains unanswered:

    Why did it disappear?

  25. Safi,

    I got used to the stares. My psychiatrist says I shouldn't be bothered by them..LoL


    I get very creative man...what can I say?

  26. Who cares, about stares, they don't kill. :P

    Besides they don't even know you.
    Again, who cares.
    Oo sallamatkom.

  27. Zaydoun. My post is dedicated to you. Please check it when u can. Being the King blogger, it is yor duty to check on your loyal (or not so loyal) subjects.


Keep it clean, people!