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Army Staff Sgt. Kim Almodovar, a member of the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment that has deployed to Iraq with the American Forces Radio and Television Service, is one of the broadcasters for AFN-Iraq.

Army Staff Sgt. Kim Almodovar, a member of the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment that has deployed to Iraq with the American Forces Radio and Television Service, is one of the broadcasters for AFN-Iraq. (Courtesy of AFRTS)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — American Forces Network-Iraq will begin live radio broadcasts from Baghdad this week, featuring news, weather, music, tips on Iraq’s culture and language, and other content tailored to troops in that country.

It will begin broadcasts to the Baghdad area on Wednesday, and hopes to extend them to other parts of Iraq by Christmas.

“It’s really for the troops,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Perry Nouis, AFN-Iraq’s commander. “It’s for the guys on the front line who are doing the dirty work.

“When troops have … ‘that touch of home,’ programs they’re familiar with … they certainly appreciate it.

“We’re not going to be ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ ” Nouis said, referring to a movie about AFN’s Vietnam War broadcast operation, AFVN, “but we’re going to be continuing that kind of service to the troops in the field.”

At the start, AFN-Iraq will air two live shows daily in Baghdad on 107.7 FM, the first from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the second from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The shows will originate at newly built studios in the Convention Center in Baghdad.

“But we do see that expanding,” Nouis said, “and as we go national, we’ll probably have four live shows a day.”

AFN-Iraq is wrapping up contract negotiations to have a satellite uplink in place so its radio broadcasts can reach other areas of Iraq with major troop concentrations, including Mosul, Tikrit, Balad, Ar Ramadi, Kirkuk and Tallil Air Base, Nouis said.

Before starting those broadcasts, AFN-Iraq will announce where on the radio dial troops can tune them in, Nouis said.

Since October, AFN-Iraq news crews in Iraq have done radio and TV spots about U.S. forces in the country.

But the recorded TV material has been broadcast from Los Angeles as part of American Forces Radio and Television Service programming, Nouis said.

Troops in Iraq have been able to catch the TV segments on sets in unit day rooms or chow halls.

The recorded radio segments have been broadcast from within Iraq over transmitters the U.S. military maintains at various points around the country.

“What’s going to be different is that we’re going to do this live,” Nouis said. “What we’re going to introduce is the local programming … here in Baghdad.”

“Sounds pretty cool,” said Sgt. Michael McCue, 24, of Cook, Minn., a military pay sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 8th Finance Battalion, 1st Armored Division. “A lot of guys here have radios.”

McCue said he’ll tune in especially for news “… ’cause I don’t get an opportunity to watch a lot of news around here. I would listen to music, too, because you don’t really get to know what’s new out there.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Spc. Daniel Capo, 20, of New York City, a light wheel mechanic with the 1st AD’s Company C, 123rd Main Support Battalion.

“Soldiers out here need all the morale they can get. ... Whatever they can do for the soldier I think is a good idea. I mean, we’re going to be here for a year. ... It’s kind of hard on soldiers.”

Capo said he’d listen for “music, and what’s going on in the States, like, who’s who? What movies are coming out. Stuff like that.”

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