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Petty Officer 3rd Class Beau Smith, news director for American Forces Network, Sasebo Detachment, edits a news report created by anchor Petty Officer 3rd Class Melanie Lemus on Tuesday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Beau Smith, news director for American Forces Network, Sasebo Detachment, edits a news report created by anchor Petty Officer 3rd Class Melanie Lemus on Tuesday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A documentary-style travel and cultural program produced by Sasebo’s American Forces Network detachment has grabbed people’s attention.

“‘Kyushu Explorer’ is one of the most talked-about television shows in the history of AFN Sasebo, even though it only started three weeks ago,” said producer Petty Officer 3rd Class Beau Smith.

Sasebo is the only U.S. military base on Kyushu, “which makes the large island exclusively our beat,” Smith said.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Roger Dutcher, AFN officer-in-charge, said the program “is in the spirit of the Discovery Channel.”

“It has the dual purpose of providing Japanese history and culture and encouraging base residents to get out and enjoy the many opportunities available to them in the Kyushu area,” he added.

Each program is “tagged” with information on how to find more information about off-base activities, Dutcher said.

The first segment was broadcast July 7, and has been repeated each Thursday on AFN-Pacific in Sasebo. Each month a new subject is explored and shown Thursday evenings at 7:50 p.m.

The first segment, “Kyushu Volcano Explorers,” documented an expedition to Mount Aso in Kumumoto prefecture and Mount Fugen-Dake in Nagasaki prefecture.

Sasebo Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division Director Scott Poluhowich said the show is engaging and educational.

“It’s professionally done,” he said, “… and is of such high caliber I wouldn’t have thought military folks did it locally.”

Penny Blevins, a Navy spouse and employee at the Fleet and Family Support Center, is another fan.

“I can honestly say it’s the best AFN show I’ve seen in the five years I have watched AFN,” she said.

Some see other potential uses for the show.

“MWR wants to have each program shown at our Travel and Tours Office, on our Travel and Tour Buses, during base [indoctrinations] and, when possible, on our theater screens,” said Allison Foo, MWR marketing director.

Smith is happy with the reaction.

“To have this new travel show is the fulfillment of my dream to provide high-quality local programming to our community, help them get off base and experience breathtaking sights in Kyushu and make their tour here their best in the Navy,” he said.


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