Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Monday, March 22, 2010

End of AFNT and Beginning of ICRT

Wang Chun was a college student at Chengchi University starting in October 1975.  While there, he heard AFNT Radio for the first time because the station's broadcast signal could not reach his hometown of Kaohsiung.  He spent many hours listening to music, especially jazz, which was his favorite.

It was during his senior year that the Carter administration announced that the US government was going to establish normal diplomatic relations with the PRC on January 1st, 1979.  A few weeks later, he decided to record some of his favorite music from AFNT during those final days.  He wrote:
When I heard this sad news that day, I knew that AFNT would ceased to  exist soon. Accordingly, I bought a small number of local-made, low-quality cassettes and started recording AFNT programs.


The programs I recorded were Mellow Rock and Jazz Album Countdown in FM and RC Show in AM.


Finally, the day AFNT signed off permanently had come. It was midnight, March 15th, 1979. As far back as I can remember, it was a cold, drizzling night. I sat in front of my study desk with a portable radio/cassette recorder waiting for the final moment.


As a matter of fact, for the last three weeks before that day all regular programs had disappeared gradually from AFNT and were replaced by soft background music because American military personnel including AFNT DJs had been withdrawing out of Taiwan at a steady speed.


However, the historical transitional moment has been recorded.  Thirty years later I still feel shocked and can't help falling into a deep sentimental mood when I once again listen to how AFNT died and ICRT was born.


Can you imagine what was the first song ICRT aired? It was "Happy Together."  For all these years, I always think it was such a big irony for Taiwan-America relations that time.


Wang Chun was kind enough to send me several mp3 files of AFNT's last day of broadcasting, but the one that I want to share with you is from those final few minutes around midnight on March 15, 1979.  The sound quality isn't the best, but you can find the file HERE.  It runs for about 12 or 13 minutes.


You can hear today's ICRT Radio broadcasts live HERE.

14 comments:

Victor said...

I think the correct name of AFNT is "Armed Forces Radio Taiwan". FYI. http://www.icrt.com.tw/en/A01.php
http://k6eid.com/afrt.htm
http://mirach.lunarpages.com/~taipe2/index_files/Page2958.htm

Bill-USACC said...

enThanks for giving us access to the broadcast as the radio station changed hands.
I always thought the station was called AFNT which functioned under the AFRTS umbrella?
AFNT was located on Grass Mt next to the bowling alley and snack as well as adjacent to the BOT housing area. Since I worked many a night shift at the USACC communications facility on Grass Mt I was fortunate to make friends with some of the AFNT personnel over the years. They performed a great service, especially during the times of Typhoon alerts.

Anonymous said...

The radio was AFNT - Armed Forces Network - Taiwan - that was the announcers comment day in and day out for my tour Nov 71 thru Feb 74.....

Regards

John Hurst

Anonymous said...

Bill -- sidenote. I saw MIDWAY, JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS at the movie theater there, to name a few.

Bill-USACC said...

Thats right there was a small movie there too! I remember the bowling alley was sooo small, maybe only 4 or 6 lanes..
I seem to remember tennis courts?

Bill-USACC

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think five lanes. And correct on the tennis courts. I took lessons there.

Anonymous said...

i remember listening to AFRN; the only program I can remember was the "Barbara Randoloh Show". Came on around midnight, I believe. I was Linkou Navy 1969-1971.

Mike Bergman said...

I was news director for Armed Forces Network Taiwan in Taipei from late 1973 to December 1976. Great memories. Great friends!ses

Cobrawaltz said...

Rats, tried to listen the final AFNT broadcast but website says it is unavaliable, any suggestion on how I can hear it

Don said...

Try the link again. I fixed the broken link. Thanks for letting me know.

Don

Tuan said...

Wang Chun should 2 years older than me. I studied in a college right across the street from the American Forces headquarters on Chung Shan North Rd in Taipei, from 1977 to 1981, during which time, Carter administration withdrew the Forces and ended AFNT. Unlike Wang Chun, I didn't spend much time listening to AFNT, but still it's part of my "childhood" memories, which lead me here. I remember their call sign wad always "AFNT, FM, Taipei." Now 30 years later, here I am in Seattle .....

Rory O'Neil said...

For decades I described my days as a pin-setter (1968-69) at the "two-lane bowling alley" on Grass Mountain. I have been convinced by others recently that it was a four-lane bowling alley. Was the exact location of AFNT complex across the street from the bowling alley (and just a bit closer to the main mountain road)? Perhaps it was just the transmitter towers across the street (next to the flagpoles, and a small playing field, possibly where tennis courts were built)? Was the USACC facility in the same building as AFNT? Thanks for any help.

Stev said...

In 1959-60, the Grass Mountain bowling alley had two lanes. There was one tennis court near the main road where you turned in to the bowling alley and theater. What happened after that I don't know.

Rory O'Neil said...

Thank you Stev.

I believe the date for the last day of operations and broadcasting as AFNT was April 15, 1979.