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At American Forces Network-Daegu studios on Camp Walker last month, Army Spc. Richard Slemaker rehearses for a pre-recorded Feb. 28 broadcast of the AFN-Korea Nightly News. That effort was a "warm-up" for AFN Korea's first-ever live Nightly News broadcast on March 9.
At American Forces Network-Daegu studios on Camp Walker last month, Army Spc. Richard Slemaker rehearses for a pre-recorded Feb. 28 broadcast of the AFN-Korea Nightly News. That effort was a "warm-up" for AFN Korea's first-ever live Nightly News broadcast on March 9. (Kevin P. Bell / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — On any given night, American Forces Network-Korea viewers see the flagship Nightly News program anchored from the the network’s headquarters studios in Seoul.

But if AFN-Korea had to evacuate Seoul, it would be up to the network’s Daegu detachment at Camp Walker to keep the network on the air, transmitting live information of importance to the U.S. military communities on the peninsula.

That’s why the staff at the AFN Daegu broadcast detachment see it as “huge” that the station, after months of training and equipment upgrades, made its first-ever live news broadcast on Friday .

The newscast was produced, directed, anchored and aired by the Daegu detachment from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. and was rebroadcast from tape at 10:15 p.m. that night.

The newscast was nearly flawless, said Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer R. Williams.

The only glitch lasted about “a half-second,” when a video dissolved black, leaving viewers with audio but no picture for that instant, said Williams.

During this month’s Reception, Staging, Onward Movement & Integration exercise in South Korea, AFN Daegu will air several live newscasts, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin P. Bell, detachment commander.

It plans to produce the Nightly News at least once a month, and some of those newscasts may be live, Bell said.

Last week’s newscast followed months of training and other preparation, Bell said. All hands from camera operator, director, anchor and others were involved.

In November, the detachment sent Army Spc. Richard Slemaker to the Seoul headquarters for a week, Bell said. Slemaker would later anchor Daegu’s debut live newscast.

“He actually watched the newscast being produced and he actually anchored” at least one news broadcast while there, Bell said.

As a warmup for Friday, the detachment produced the Feb. 28 edition of the news. Although they taped that newscast, they did so “live-to-tape,” a method that simulated live-broadcast conditions, Bell said. The tape then was aired from Seoul.

The live and almost-live newscasts were “the culmination of probably about eight months of technical upgrades and training that finally came together,” Bell said.

The Daegu detachment’s existing TV studio recently was fitted with the equipment needed for live broadcasts, part of a $1 million upgrade still under way at the station.

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