Blast knocks AFN radio station off the air
April 3, 2008
Armed Forces Network officials cannot definitively say when its AM radio station will be back on the air in the German state of Hessen after an explosion at a transmitter site interrupted programming Tuesday.
Three Germans were injured Tuesday around 12:30 p.m. in an accident during a routine generator check at the Weiskirchen transmitter site.
“Everyone’s doing OK,” AFN-Europe public affairs officer George Smith said, adding that the two Department of Public Works employees and an AFN-Hessen technician were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The three were treated for minor shock, smoke inhalation and minor burns. They have all been released and are doing fine, Smith said.
As for the AM radio programming, Mark Vagnerini, AFN-Europe’s executive officer, could only say that AFN hopes to have the signal up and running sometime next week.
“Somehow there was a minor explosion and small fire in the power distribution panels,” Vagnerini said. “The fire was extinguished and emergency services came … but we cannot go in there to repair it until the investigation is complete.”
“We’re working hard to restore service at this time,” Smith said.
The AM outage affects some 90,000 American military community members, mainly in and around Wiesbaden, Smith said.
AFN’s AM 873 frequency carries “Morning Newswatch,” National Public Radio programming and the “Connections” music program, according to a Wednesday AFN news release.
“Until service is restored, listeners can tune in AFN’s Eagle Radio service, a mix of contemporary music and top of the hour news on FM 98.7,” the release read.
Smith added that for listeners who also watch AFN television via a decoder box, the AM programming can be listened to through their TV.
Other AFN AM frequencies throughout Germany are listed online at www.afneurope.net. Listeners might be able to pick up the broadcast at 1107 AM from Kaiserslautern or 1143 AM from Mannheim.