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About 10,000 servicemembers and Defense Department civilians overseas will get to comment on their American Forces Network radio station through a random survey that was to be mailed out in late January.

American Forces Radio and Television Service, AFN’s parent organization, intends the survey to help overseas military stations tailor radio programming.

The goal is “to serve our overseas audience with the information and entertainment that they want and need to hear,” Warren Lee, AFRTS plans and operations officer, was quoted as saying recently in a DOD news release.

AFRTS last surveyed its worldwide audience in 2002. This is the first survey dedicated specifically to radio listeners.

AFN staffers in Japan said the survey most definitely will influence local radio programming. “Whatever the audience answers on programming, we’re going to cater to that,” said Yokota Air Base’s Gunnery Sgt. Tim McGough, AFN Tokyo operations manager. “Now is the time for listeners to tell us what they think.”

At Misawa Air Base, about 1,000 surveys went out to base residents, said Master Sgt. Ron Przysucha, AFN Misawa detachment chief.

It’s a “mechanism for gauging our audience, their demographics, their likes and dislikes,” he said of the survey, noting that the station also conducts local surveys of its own. AFN Misawa recently changed its radio programming to be more “family friendly” in response to listener demand.

But Przysucha said that if the survey indicates a “significant swing” in another direction, “it’s up for us to change to meet the needs of the community.” Surveys were to be mailed directly to servicemembers and DOD civilian employees the week of Jan. 23.

Troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, who aren’t at their permanent mailing addresses, will get their forms through military Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials at MWR facilities, dining halls and other common areas, AFRTS officials said in the news release.

A postage-paid envelope is included with the survey form.

Those selected to participate also may respond on the Internet using an access code provided with the hard-copy survey.

AFRTS hopes to receive survey responses by mid-February and will provide feedback about results through local AFN stations in May, according to the news release.

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