AFN-Korea radio shifts format for consistency
November 13, 2007
SEOUL — American Forces Network-Korea has changed the name of its radio service from “Eagle FM” to “AFN The Eagle.”
Wherever it lands on listener’s ears, officials say, the change last week was to mark the station’s transition to a different, more consistent format in its programming.
Over the past two months, AFN-Korea has been integrating its new format into its radio service, switching from music primarily chosen by disc jockeys to music from a list provided by the Lund Corp. — a contracted company that tracks of the most popular music in the States.
The change, said Dan Valler, AFN’s chief of network radio, was initiated to combat a lack of consistency in radio service across the peninsula.
He said in the past, music was selected by DJs, so if one preferred one type of music, that’s what he tended to play most.
As a result, programming on AFN radio stations varied dramatically at different locations and between different DJs at the same location.
“With the standardized format, they no longer have to concentrate on selecting music. They can concentrate on developing their shows and on command information, which is our primary mission,” Valler said.
“It gives us a mix, which is how people are listening to their music these days,” added AFN-Korea commander Lt. Col. Michael Lawhorn.
Lawhorn said he hoped the new format would be helpful to a radio station trying to compete with rising technology, such as MP3 players.
Most AFN-Korea listeners asked for their opinions are happy with the change.
“There’s been a lot more variety, which is really nice,” said Jaime Harland, 30. “I think to keep everybody happy, they have to play a range.”
Others haven’t noticed a difference.
“I haven’t really noticed. It’s background noise,” said Larry Lott, 53. “My kids listen to it.”
And some listeners just won’t be satisfied.
“I have to force myself to buy a new iPod, so I don’t have to listen to it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ana Jeff, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 524th Military Intelligence Battalion.