AFN’s talk radio station on Okinawa will be offline until June for tower repairs
Stars and Stripes April 26, 2023
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Fans on Okinawa of the American Forces Network will be without AM talk radio for several more weeks as the military broadcaster continues with station repairs.
SURF 648 AM, sister station to AFN’s WAVE 89.1 FM, went off the air March 21 so crews could repair a support wire for the station’s radio tower, AFN spokesman John Clearwater told Stars and Stripes in a recent email.
Maintenance crews are working to repair the wire so programming can resume by June 1.
“The radio tower is having contracted repairs done to fix a broken guy wire,” Clearwater said. “It’s a critical piece of repair, and the reason we had to temporarily shut down transmission.”
The island’s AFN station sits atop a hill in the Plaza Housing area of Camp Foster in Chatan. It began broadcasting to U.S. troops as Far East Network Okinawa on May 17, 1945, Clearwater said.
The AM channel offers an alternative to the music-based WAVE 89.1 FM and features popular programs from U.S. broadcasters like National Public Radio, Sports Overnight America and various political commentators.
Maintenance on the radio tower was first announced in a March 20 post on the AFN Okinawa Facebook page. A guy wire is a tensioned cable that adds stability to a free-standing structure, like a radio tower.
“AFN radio broadcasting on Surf 648 and 89.1 FM serves to entertain and inform audiences with the same top-rated programming available to stateside listeners,” Clearwater said.
The station also provides critical news and information during natural disasters like typhoons.
Talk programming is still accessible through the AFN Go application, available in the Apple App Store and from Google Play, and also from the AFN Okinawa website, Clearwater said.