What was it like to work for AFN Europe in the 1960s and ’70s?It was a terrific time to be in the military. Many people believe the talent at AFNE in the mid-’60s to mid-’70s was the best ever. Many very good broadcasters left civilian jobs to join the military.

The technology wasn’t what it is today, but back then what was the pace, or timing, of sending, receiving and airing material?When I first arrived at AFNE in October of 1966, anything we got from the States was sent on short wave. Sometimes the quality was very marginal, but it was the only thing we had. Everything we did was on reel-to-reel tape which required a razor blade and editing tape to edit. Today, editing is done digitally.

Give us a sense as to what the life of a U.S. soldier in Germany was in the 1960s.It was very relaxed as I remember. Almost everyone at AFNE was volunteer Army, so we were all in it together. Everyone got along well and it seemed the German citizens welcomed us.

What was the local (military) sports scene like back then? I understand some events routinely drew large audiences.Yes, military sports were much bigger then. We often broadcast championship boxing matches, as well as football, basketball and baseball games. We would fly to England to broadcast the Air Force Championship football game. We would also air the Army Championship game. The G.I. Super Bowl between the Army and Air Force was instituted while I was there. That always drew big crowds.

Share a couple of your more memorable moments as a sports broadcaster.One was while I was on the air with a basketball game in January 1981. It had just been announced that the American hostages had been released. I said something like, “And a special welcome to 52 brave Americans who have just arrived in Germany.” I almost lost it emotionally.

My final broadcast was memorable in that I had a chance to say what an honor and a privilege it was to share a small part of the day with the wonderful men and women of our military services. Many of those people put their lives on the line for us every day. I never lost sight of that.

AFN-AM radio no longer regularly airs sports. What happened?Apparently, it was determined after a listener survey that very few people were listening to games on radio. So, it was decided by the people in Washington to eliminate all sports broadcasts. We used to broadcast games daily plus six events on the weekends. With the staffing problems we had for a while, it was not possible to keep that schedule.

However, we certainly could carry major events such as the World Series, All-Star Game, the NBA championship series, the Army-Navy game, the BCS title game, etc. I am on record as saying it was a very shortsighted decision to eliminate all games. But, the sports division was not part of the decision-making process, so we just had to live with it. Hopefully, in the future, AFN will be able to air key events.

Ken AllanJob: Soldier stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, who worked for American Forces Network for more than 40 years before retiring recently.

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