Thursday, August 10, 2006

New York Memories

I worked at the Armed Forces Press, Radio and TV Service in New York City in 1965 and 1966. My main job was to secure permissions from the networks and program producers to air programs on AFRTS. From time to time, I anchored the evening shortwave radio news which was broadcast to Europe. I also interviewed celebrities including Tom Jones and the Supremes. Most interviews were conducted on sets of television shows such as "Shindig," "Hullabaloo," and "The Bell Telephone Hour." We had members of all the service branches plus Department of Defense civilians. We shared offices and studios with the Voice of America at the Fisk Building, 250 W. 57th St. It was a great place to be, accessible to the commercial broadcast studios and Broadway theaters. I also moonlighted in master control at WOR-TV located on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Some notable members of the crew were Col Joseph Hornsby, USAF, Officer-in-Charge; Navy Journalist Jim Brumm, who went on to work for a number of news organizations on the east coast; and Army Pfc Cal Thomas. (Yes, that Cal Thomas). Writing in one his columns, he described his work there as "fighting commies on 57th St." One of my favorite staff members was Gordon Bridge, a civilian sports announcer with a dry sense of humor and nefarious friends along Eighth Avenue.

3 comments:

Jim Brumm said...

Memories seem to be all we have of AFRS's New York operations. Two years ago, when I asked about such things as when the opertion began, a DOD PAO who was Chief of Affiliate Relations/Program Operations Division for the American Forces Radio and Television Service Broadcast Center said "we just don’t have any archives here. Everything’s been turned over to the Library of Congress and the National Archives."
At the time, several folks referred me to the book "Brass Button Broadcasters." I bought it and found only two brief mentions of AFRS New York, calling it the Armed Forces News Bureau -- a term I never heard when stationed there. Not mentioned were the other programming efforts conducted in New York, where the office was or how long the operation continued. My best guess on the last point -- based on memory of comments made 40 years ago -- is 20-some years.

Les Blatt said...

I still have pretty fond memories of those days in NY (and, later, Washington, where we moved, lock stock and studio, in 1966).

Another sports announcer in NY was Shelby Whitfield. He later moved over to ABC Radio and became their sports director for many years.

I'm a bit hazy on this, but I think Andy Cremedas and Bill Hall, both AFRTS alumni, came on board in DC rather than in NY. Both of them wound up at ABC Radio in DC - Bill Hall only for a few years, but Andy just retired from ABC about a year ago.

Burt Schneider said...

Happy to report that former Captain Paul Bue is doing well and living in Florida. He retired from the Army and is living in Florida where he is mayor of Penney Farms. He recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.