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Taiwan memories

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From 1967 to 1969, I was officer-in-charge of the Armed Forces Network in Taiwan. We had stations in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan. We had one of the first FM stations in the AFRTS system. The first year we had our studios in downtown Taipei and staffers loved to eat at the myriad of restaurants and food stands in the area. Once a month we organized a feast under the auspices of the "Chow Chow Club" and sampled menus from the many provinces of China. In 1968 we moved to new studios in Yangmingshan or “Grass Mountain.” Living in Taipei was a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed the wonderful people, the language, and the culture. We had a great air staff including Fred Friend, who coincidentally ended up in Tucson; Larry Fogel, who came from KXYZ in Houston, and Mark Bragg, who I later read had something to do with the Wedtech incident. And who could forget, Joe Brooks, our program director who was fluent in Chinese and was a walking encylopedia of all things Chinese? I visited …

Lost relative found

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Happened to be looking at a website about the Taipei Air Station and ran into a post about a young woman who was looking for information about her grandmother.

To my surprise, grandma was Mary Wang, our receptionist at the station. I contacted the seeker and sent along this picture. She was ecstatic. I also put her in touch with Rosalie Fogel, Larry's widow who was also from Taiwan.

Granddaughter wrote: "I will pass this information on to my mother. My grandmother passed away when my Mom was 12, so she also has very few memories of her. Again, thank you so much. The information that you have provided is invaluable to my family and I, and you've given me much more than I've been able to collect from anyone, or any other source."

By the way, Mary Wang was one of the first TV personalities in Taiwan. She had a fashion and sewing program and was featured in a cover story in the local TV guide.

You never know how our dabbling on the internet touches lives.

Downtown

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AFNT was located downtown in the West Gate area of Taipei in the Sugar Building across the street from the First Department Store (tall building on the right). Thanks to Rick Courtney for the picture and the aircheck of "China Night" from Frank Feller (on the right hand side of the page). Rick's blog is here.

Joe Brooks

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Joe was the civilian program director and veritable walking encyclopedia of all things Chinese. He had served in the US Army in China and Korea and also worked in Armed Forces Radio-TV in the Philippines and Okinawa. He was the author of "From a Yankee Notebook," detailing his personal experiences in Taiwan. He spoke Chinese fluently and had many local friends including those in the Chinese army. He was famous for presiding over elegant banquets prepared by his personal chef. One of the funniest stories I heard about Joe, was that he actually fell asleep while he was on the air hosting the Saturday morning program, "China Express." Seen here with Larry and Rosalie Fogel.

More pictures from Taiwan

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Program guide from Winter, 1968Taipei AM 1560 FM 100.1 SW 3.990 7.215 Taichung/CCK AM 1580



FROM THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR: "New headquarters are in the offing. For some time AFNT has been looking forward to a move from our present location in the Sugar Building on Hankow Street in Taipei. Hopefully, if the gods smile benignly on our plans, our next printing should find us operating out of new quarters in building P-1 on Grass Mountain.

With new facilities, more space and additional personnel who are due to report in during this three-month period, we hope to stimulate our program sound. Emphasis will be on a more 'commercial' sound, most familiar to those recently arrived from the USA, with more programming fitted to the local scene. It will all take time, but be patient -- we will try not to disappoint you."

Staff: TSGT Roger Klucas, JO2s Vernon Brady and Ron Garland, JO3 Doug Williams, SSgt Izzy Keller, SP4 Fred Friend, SGTs Jerry Calenberg and Mark Bragg, and A1Cs Eri…

Blast from the past

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Found some pics from the good old days. Army Specialist Fred Friend, "Good Morning, Taipei." Also ended up in Tucson after getting out of the Army. Fred was anchor and news director at several local TV stations and went on to be director of public affairs for Diocese of Tucson. He is married to the former Nan Nixon, whom he met at the station.

Cal Thomas writes

I sent Cal Thomas a link to this site and we exchanged several emails over the weekend. He mentioned several names I haven't heard in about 40 years -- staffers who served with us including Les Blatt who went on to be a network news producer and Paul Kerivan whose car Cal used to borrow for his monthly PX and commissary run . Also CG Wells who Cal says died some time ago. If I remember correctly, CG was the news director of the Armed Forces Press, Radio and TV Service in New York, and a real professional.

When I told Cal that I am currently hosting the local segments of "All Things Considered" on Tucson's NPR station, he suggested tongue-in-cheek that I have him on the show.

"We could choke the audience with nostalgia," he wrote.