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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — American Forces Network is expanding its nightly 10-minute Pacific Report to a half-hour news show to increase coverage of the Pacific Command, officials announced Monday.

The first broadcast under the new format is expected to air May 17, said Cal Miller, chief of operations and plans for Air Force Broadcasting.

The tentative schedule calls for the new Pacific Report to air at 6:30 p.m. in Japan and Okinawa, with a possible repeat at 10 p.m. on AFN Pacific.

AFN Pacific is aired on all AFN affiliates worldwide.

The change will allow AFN to deliver more local and regional news to and about Pacific viewers, Miller said. “It occurred to us that a lot more than four or eight minutes of stuff occurs in the Pacific theater every day,” he said. “We felt we needed to do this to more effectively cover what’s happening.”

The AFN detachments at Misawa Air Base, Yokota Air Base, Kadena Air Base, Sasebo Naval Base and Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station will increase their local news segments from four to 10 minutes; those 10 minutes will kick off Pacific Report, with each detachment airing its own broadcast. Bases without staffed AFN outlets — including Yokosuka Naval Base, Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Camp Fuji and Camp Zama — will see a compilation of news from bases on the Kanto Plain during the first 10 minutes of Pacific Report, Miller said.

“We’re covering local news for everybody in Japan for the first time,” he said.

Pacific Report also will air on the 24-hour Pentagon Channel three times a day — with the schedule to be announced — and will be fed to all military installations worldwide by May 14. The Pentagon Channel can be seen at the Pentagon and in the House and Senate. “Field commanders can get some of their stories in front of folks up on the hill,” Miller said.

Ten minutes of Pacific Report will be devoted to regional impact stories, including those from South Korea, where AFN already airs a half-hour newscast. Time also will be set aside for Japan-wide sports and regional and local weather.

AFN broadcasters will be producing more stories to fill bigger local and regional news slots. The five AFN detachments in Japan and Okinawa will be required to submit at least one story daily for Pacific Report, said Keith Lebling, AFN Tokyo chief. “There’s some anxiety, but we’re going to have to work harder and smarter,” he said. Pacific Report is produced at Yokota Air Base, where 23 broadcasters from all services produce stories. “We have a very good team here,” Lebling said. “Once they get into the groove, it’s going to be easy.”

To fill 10 minutes of local news, AFN Misawa will offer a mix of one-minute, hosted segments on an array of topics, from sports to local tours, said Master Sgt. Ron Przysucha, AFN Misawa detachment chief. A Navy meteorologist will provide a local weather forecast.

“It’s not just more news, it’s more of the things that we never had time for,” Przysucha said. “We can get into more about some of the programs, like DODDS, instead of just having the school lunch menu.”

Miller said no plans currently exist to increase the AFN staff. “We’ll review the process. If we need more, we’ll ask for it,” he said.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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