Friday, August 10, 2012

Taiwan memories

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 Watergate 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 Taiwan with my daughter Lara in 1986 in honor of her 18th birthday (she was born in Taipei). I returned in 1992 before visiting the mainland. The station had become International Community Radio Taiwan and was still in the same building on Yangmingshan. I got together with Gordon Brooks, Joe's adopted son.

38 comments:

Burt Schneider said...

Larry Fogel writes: I was very happy to have been selected by Burt Schneider and Joe Brooks to be the first "civ Sub" for navy billets at AFNT in 1968, and arrived with family in tow for a wonderful 5 year tour. I assisted in selecting other civilians, including Jack Bateson, Marty Bonderoff, Dick Levofsky and Don Hein. I was involved with the move to Yangmingshan
studios.

I started out as morning show host, trained by Spc Fred Friend, and in time, became program director and host of other shows. I served from 1968-1973. I retired from gov't service in 1993 and reside in Seymour, TN just south of Knoxville. Taiwan Memories ...enough to last a lifetime

R. BLAINE HOWE said...

LARRY FOGEL WAS AT AFNT-TAIPEI MY 2 TOURS AT AFNT-CCK...SEE MY EARLIER BLOG COMMENTS! I WAS U.S. AIR FORCE ADMINISTRATIVELY BUT DUTY-WISE I WAS UNDER THE U.S. NAVY. ALOT OF MANY GOOD TAIWAN MEMORIES!!!

...BLAINE HOWE

Burt Schneider said...

I was shocked to get an email from Larry Fogel's family notifying me of his death on October 5, 2006 of complications of pancreatic cancer. Larry and I had corresponded recently and he never mentioned his condition. I have great memories of our time together in Taipei.

Eric Loveman said...

Hi Lt. Schneider!

I was at AFNT from Nov. 1966 to Feb. 1968, so I was there when you took over from Lt. Jim Jacobson. I have many, many vivid memories of the time I served under you and have always considered you the best OIC I had during my 5.5 years in the military (there were several good ones, but you were the BEST!). I was basically a one-man news department, thanks to your encouragement and guidance. You might remember that Joe Brooks was deathly afraid that one of my interviews could stir up a controversy that, among other things, could cost him his pension and destroy his planned retirement. I imagine that you took quite a lot of heat for some of our news coverage, but in defending the freedom of the press you not only insisted that I not shy away from sensitive issues when interviewing VIPs coming through Taiwan (and there were many), you went out of your way to help set up many of those interviews. Not just with me, but I'm sure you stood up for the staff and shielded us in many ways that we never knew.

Do you remember the Navy Exchange fire coverage? I gathered the interviews and wrote the script, and you anchored the coverage. Great job!

I went back to AFNT in September, 1969, after a short tour at Lowry AFB in Denver and a year in Vietnam, but it wasn't nearly as much fun!

I went back for a THIRD time in Sept., 1979, (as a civilian, of course) to set up the news department at ICRT.

I read that your daughter lives in Pickerington. I've been in Columbus since 1971 (except for my time with ICRT). It would be great to see you when you are in this area!

Eric Loveman
ericlove@earthlink.net
(614) 475-2433

The Enforcer said...

Hi, You forgot to mention that there was also an AFNT station at TAINAN AB. It was run by the Air Force. I was lucky enough to work part time there during my tour from Dec 1969 - Mar 1970. I spent the majority of my time at the radio station instead of my Air Force job. Love the experience and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Dave Golden

ahpen said...

Sorry that I don't know you! In an occasional searching of "Joe Brooks", I came across with your blog. I listened to AFNT quite often when I was a high school student trying to learn English (am 74 now). Father of one of my classmates' was a friend of Joe and I met him once in my friends home. I remember that Joe was a heavy guy but he impressed me that he could put on his shoes on alternately standing postures even though he was so heavy!

DWR said...

Joe Brooks was program director at AFRTS Clark Air Base, PI when I was newscaster during 1963-64. Still can see Joe sitting at his gray military issue desk.

Dave Redman

Bob Smith said...

I worked as an announcer for the Air Force at Armed Forces Radio Taiwan back in the early 60's. I was the announcer and producer for the "PM Commuter". Ir was a show that reflected the style of the NBC radio show of that era "Monitor". Some of the people that worked with me were Announcer Donald Haines who took over the PM Commuter after I left the Island. I also worked with the librarian Bobbie King from Griffin, Ga. Journalists Bert Madare and Peter Greshium. I am now about to retire from a 33 year career at WRDW CBS TV Augusta, Ga. as Chief Meteorologist on the 5pm 6pm and 11pn newscasts. Mr Brooks (program Manager)was my mentor. Warrent Officer (GS) L. Arrison was the station manager. Arrison left to take a job with Voice Of America in Jakarta before I was transfered out. What great memories. If you would like to contact me: bob.smith@wrdw.com.

Burt Schneider said...

Recently spoke with David Hess who is living near Yosemite in California. After getting out of the Army, he became a Foreign Service Officer with USIA and had some great postings including Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. David is fluent in both Chinese and Russsian and reads newspapers online in those languages. He has been working for the Census Bureau.

Burt Schneider said...

A call from out of the blue. Mark Bragg has been living in Palm Springs, CA, and had been involved in real estate development until the economy took a nosedive. Previously, he had a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. and then produced public affairs programming for radio stations.

Rico said...

My grandfather was the head of the Philippine office in Taipei from 76-81. I'd visit twice a year and spend months at a time at our home in TienMou, Other than one english language TV show at 10pm, there was only AFNT to keep me company. I can still recall the station ID chime, and that was 30 yrs ago. Thank you AFNT for being there, a job well done. By the way, does anyone recall the piece Charlie Tuna would play at the end of his show? It sounded like a bass guitar but I never did find out the name of the song. Cheers!

Burt Schneider said...

Re: Charlie Tuna's theme song, a reliable source tells me it was "Sexy" by MFSB. Hear lots of AFRTS airchecks on Thom Whetson's blog.

Patricia said...

I am working on an "American Footsteps in Taiwan, 1949-1980" exhibit. The Armed Forces Radio is a shared memory for the 1960's Taiwan people. I am wondering where I could get some old photos for the exhibit, such as studio, program on-air, etc. Your advice would be appreciated.

Burt Schneider said...

Am not sure when you posted this, but you are welcome to use any photos on this site. Also search "Taipei Air Station" for more.

NTWS Jon said...

By the way, does anyone recall the piece Charlie Tuna would play at the end of his show? It sounded like a bass guitar but I never did find out the name of the song. Cheers!

@Rico: Charlie Tuna used two instrumentals over the years to cap his syndicated AFRTS show. The first was "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band -- which included the bass solo segment you recall. The beats and rhythms of this 1971 tune have been used and sampled by hip-hop artists over the years.

The second tune he used was MFSB's "Sexy" from the "Philadelphia Freedom" LP. Charlie used this theme up until his last syndicated AFRTS show in the 1990s.

Charlie has his own website at this URL:
http://www.charlietuna.com/

BTW, we aired Dick Joslin's AFNT-produced "Time Machine" show on the Far East Network on weekends back in the late 70s and early 80s. Former AFNT staffer, Army SSG Bob Levy "rescued" many of the reels from Taiwan and transferred them to Tokyo. Bob retired from the Army as Network Sergeant Major from AFRTS at March Air Force Base, CA in 1997. He's currently a doting grandfather in Texas.

Jon Yim, JO1, USN (ret.)
FEN-Tokyo (1979-1982), FEN-Okinawa (1982-1984)

Scott said...

LT Schneider,

Please look at the Taipei Air Station blog, scroll down until you see the AFNT spot.

http://taipeiairstation.blogspot.com/

Scott Ellinger (stationed in Taiwan)

Jay said...

Anybody know the whereabouts of Dick Joslin? I grew up listened to his show in Taiwan, and after all these years I can say that he is the most talented DJ I've ever experienced.

-- Jay Stone Shih

John Taylor said...

While I was assigned to Food Services, I had the honor of filling in on the weekends for the staff down at CCK. It has been so long I have forgotten their names hopefully someone will remember mine. While I did not get into radio back in the world as I wanted to do, I have done a lot of Voice Over, DJ and production work since those golden days in 66-68,
"The Voice of the Commander, this is AFNT CCK"

John Taylor, Former Sgt, USAF
St Louis

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard said...

Do You Remember An Air Force Sgt Named Dan Bailey... He Was From Rileyville, Virginia And Was An AFNT Announcer. I Remember Him Well, But Have Lost Contact With Him This Past 40 Years. He Was There In 1969 To Sometime In 1971.

Iverylm said...

I too did some part-time DJing on Sundays at Tainan AB. Was there from 1971 tp Sep 1974. Anyone remember J. Michael Glenn?


LEE MARABLE

John Taylor said...

Wow where was my mind at, must be a touch of old timers....I was at CCK 68-70. Oh where have those great days gone?
John Taylor

Bob Mercer said...

Was stationed at AFNT Tainan in 1968 and 1969.
Sgt Estridge then Sgt Wheatley were the NCO's-in-charge and between Estridge and Wheatley, I briefly served as NCO-in-charge. Have many fond memories of my time there. We had our share of talented local DJ's and lots of radio station war stories. Sent a bunch of photos of our team to Burt, but never heard back. Hope all is well. Best regards,
Bob Mercer, SSGT, USAF (1965 - 1969)

Burt Schneider said...

Hi Bob. I don't think I ever received the photos. Try sending to tusradio@yahoo.com.

Cholla Bud said...

Kent Peterson ("Roger") told me about this blog. He and I served at AFNT on Grass Mtn. I was there during 1968-72, in one of seven newly-civilianized DON positions.

The other civilian radio production specialists were Bob Leibforth, Jack Bateson, Larry Fogel, Dick Levofsky, Dick Joslin, and Marty Bonderoff. The chief engineer also was a US civilian, Bob Henning, if I recall correctly.

Rich Falerni also was an AFNT OinC during those years, as was Owen Resweber.

My previous tour was 1962-64, when it was AFRT, with studios in the Sugar Building, downtown. We had a mixed staff of Navy, Air Force, and a few Army guys, including Dave Hess. I was a Navy Journalist.

Some of the Navy guys were Bert Madere, Bill Wilson, Dale Pitman, Pete Gresham, Ron Garland, and Phil Hagley. Bill Wilson was killed by a mine June 8, 1969, while serving in Vietnam.

The Air Force guys I recall best are Bob Smith, "Burnie" Burnstein, and Jack Hickey.

A big event during that tour was Typhoon Gloria (1963). Height of the floodwaters was above the doors of the Navy Exchange and Commissary, and to the ceilings in the HQ Support Activity compound across the street. We single guys lived in a hostel downtown; during Gloria we were camped in the AFRT studios for a couple-three days.

In those days our hourly newscasts were produced by some of our Navy Journalists' usual duty editing and re-writing newspaper-style AP and UPI wirecopy into radio format. The big 15-minute 'cast at 1800 was read by a radio-experienced Seventh-Day Adventist missionary (Bill-something), and he was good at it. He didn't get paid, but was allowed to shop in the Navy commissary.

Occasionally, our teletype wire service was interrupted, then the Chinese engineers (there were nine, I recall) would tune AFRTS or VOA news via shortwave, for rebroadcast. I think the network stations at Tainan and Taichung carried our Taipei news broadcasts.

Lin Arison, an Army warrant officer, was the OinC during some of my '62-'64 tour. He was a classically trained musician, and I think had served in the Army Band. It was said that he had a hand in writing the national anthem of the Republic of China. His tastes and training definitely held firm sway over AFRT program content; rock'n'roll was seldom heard.

As mentioned by others, Joe Brooks was a unique personality. He was outgoing and generous, and in love with Chinese culture, especially the cuisine. I knew him only from my second tour, though he had been Program Director in Taipei previously. I think he held comparable positions in both the Philippines and Okinawa.

It's a treat to see this blog, but sad to learn of the passing of some who've shared in the journey.

Cheers to all.

Bob Smith said...

How can I get in touch with you. I would like to get caught up on the where abouts of some of these guys. Email me at .

Burt Schneider said...

Bob, your email didn't post. Were you wanting to contact Don Hein?

Bob Smith said...

Yes....I sent a couple of pictures of me at AFRT at the Sugar Building Studio and an interview with Chubby Checker. Did you get them?

Taipei Air Station said...

If some of you folks have photos of your radio time in Taiwan, I am trying to put together a blog post of AFNT. There must be a lot of great photos of folks who served full or part time working the sliders. Please mail me your photos at: Taipeiairstation@yahoo.com

I will acknowledge your mail. Thank you. Kent Mathieu

jason haris said...

Hi Burt,
I loved reading this piece! Well written! :)

jason
Student pods

Rory O'Neil said...

Enjoyed the journey here! If anyone is interested in Grass Mountain, please consider joining us at the Facebook group: Yangmingshan US Military Housing Come Back to Grass Mountain 陽明山美軍眷舍群回到草山 We are recalling old times of the former residents, employees, and personnel associated with the facilities, and are helping document these historic moments and restore the remaining structures for Taiwan.

Claire Edge said...

From 1970-1973I proudly served as the only female announcer/DJ on AFNT Tianan. After being stationedall over the U.S.and Korea Iam now living in Gooding, Idaho. cedge745@juno.com. My station managers were Dave Duggans and Lou Hargans.

Burt Schneider said...

Thanks for posting, Claire. We had several women announcers in Taipei. Nan Nixon did a woman's program and Dale Naylor, the general's daughter, did some volunteer work. I've been in touch with both.

Scottony76 said...

This is crazy reading all of these stories. My name is Scott Jenkins and my family transferred to Taipei from Nairobi in 1974. I started at TAS as a junior that year and we settled up on Yangmingshan. I used to catch the school bus to TAS right down at the end of the road by the steps that led down to the snack bar, bowling alley and movie theater and noticed frequently men and women in uniform and some civs entering and exiting a white bunker looking building across the street.

Well one day my curiosity got the best of me and I asked a woman leaving the building what the building WAS. "AFNT" she replied, and she offered to give me a tour after school one afternoon "just ring the bell" she told me. So the NEXT day I am ringing that bell and getting the tour and getting to know Dick Joslin, Bob Levy, Marty Bonderoff, Rebecca Belvin and a slew of others and they actually let me learn my way around a studio.

Next thing you know I am hosting the Saturday morning show for TAS "Tigerbeat" and eventually filling in for the other full time staff when they are away and I ended up staying on Taiwan after graduation and working at AFNT until January of 1978 when I headed back to the U.S. and fairly quickly landed a job in D.C. at WPGC.

I'm in L.A. now and believe it or not have been back working for AFN for a number of years now. I will be headed back to Taiwan on March 24th(for the first time since I left in '78) for a HUGE worldwide reunion attended by hundreds of former Taipei American School classmates.

We will all be staying at The Grand Hotel and that will be home base for a week of daytrips and memories and gatherings like a big banquet one evening at what used to be "The China Seas"(it's now "The American Club of Taipei). There will be speeches and a slide show on a huge screen AND thanks to the AFN archives...an audio collage of AFNT through the years, so if any of you have any old audio you would like to contribute please let me know and send it to me and I will work it in.

Reach out to me at TS7th@aol.com and the sooner the better! Thank you for putting up with my very long "walk down memory lane". Scott Jenkins(Tony Scott)

Burt Schneider said...

Scott, thanks for the comments. It's great that you got your start in broadcasting by hanging out at AFNT. I've been back to Taiwan twice over the years. Hard to believe it's been almost 48 years since that baby in the picture was born. I'm still dabbling in broadcasting, filling in on the NPR station in Tucson and doing a weekend classical music shift on its sister station despite being totally deaf. Thanks to cochlear implants, I'm still able to do what I've enjoyed doing since I was a 15-year-old at Catalina High School. Hope you have a great time at the TAS reunion.

Best regards, Burt

Grandma&GrandpaH said...

I served as a staff announcer in Tainan in 1963-1964. I was known as "Happy time Jack". I had the afternoon slot. The only person I remembered that was there as an announcer was a Patrick C. Brady. I remembered an announcer dedicated "Red Sails in the Sunset" to Chan Kai Chek and the Ambassador happened to hear it and that announcer was taken off the air for 2 weeks and sent to Sun Moon Lake resort as punishment. Enjoyed my time there. Retired UASF Senior Master Sergeant First Sergeant in 1984

joel lachapelle said...

I was stationed at Tainan 1965. I worked in Airforce Communications.
I still remember the "commercial" they played on the radio. It was for food!
Because you missed actual advertising. It went something like "Do you have a pain in your tummy? You need food. Food is good.It went on and on. Good memories.

Ron Crowley said...

Hi, Taiwan vets! I was stationed at ShuLinKou 1959-60 for my first overseas' tour of duty, for the U.S. Navy. Great assignment! I was a daily listener to Armed Forces Radio Taiwan in Taipei. Enjoyed the program "Taipei Topics"; also "Turn Back The Clock" with Andy and Virginia who spinned platters of then current and earlier versions of popular tunes. Wonderful memories; miss "Terraced Bay" big time!
Ron Crowley
Elkridge, MD