Joined: 26 Aug 2004
Location: Kansas (Transplanted Texan)
|Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:50 am Post subject: Freedom Radio in Iraq, soundtrack to a war, goes quiet
Video: Morning show hosts Prickel and Townsend signed off for the last time from Freedom Radio, an American Forces Network station that has been broadcasting from Baghdad since December 2003.
|Freedom Radio in Iraq, soundtrack to a war, goes quiet
By Dan Zak, Published: September 23
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq — “It’s 81 degrees in beautiful downtown Baghdad. Six oh five on your clock on Fun Fact Friday. I’m Prickel.”
“And I’m Townsend. Thanks for falling into extended formation this morning.”
An apricot sunrise burns through the gray haze over Baghdad, which wakes up Friday to the jocular baritones of two staff sergeants in a ramshackle, mostly disassembled sound booth in a squat, Saddam-era bunker on a dusty side street of the Green Zone.
“Prickel is over at the weather desk.”
“Before I get into the weather, I wanna point this out: We have blotch.”
“Baghdad, you are not cloudy, you are not partly cloudy. You have blotch.”
“It’s just a blotch on the radar. That’s the weather. Gonna get up to 106 today. It’s gonna be a hot one.”
It’s 100 days before the deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal , and Baghdad-based Freedom Radio — after nearly eight years of broadcasting talk and music to service members and Iraqis — terminates its live transmission at midnight and cedes the airwaves to military satellite signals from Europe and Afghanistan. Sgts. Adam Prickel, 29, and Jay Townsend, 30, have tag-teamed their Freedom Radio show, “Morning P-T,” since December — doing the weather, jazzing up military announcements, taking requests for top-40 hits and golden oldies, smudging the conservative brass with their ribald humor.
“What’s the most important physical trait a woman can possess? According to a magazine: a pretty face. You have to be able to look her in the face.”
“That can be fixed by a coupla drinks and turning the lights off.”
“Coming up here shortly we’ll have an interview with Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, deputy commanding general for operations for U.S. forces in Iraq, and his adviser.”
“Hopefully they weren’t listening to what we were just talking about.”
The duo cues Cee Lo Green’s “[Bleep] You.”
Every war has a soundtrack. This one has rolled and blundered along to Green Day and Toby Keith, Britney Spears and Linkin Park, and most recently Adele and Daughtry and “Lighters” featuring Eminem and Bruno Mars. One constant of modern warfare since 1942 has been the American Forces Radio and Television Service Network, a communications arm of the Defense Department that broadcasts to 175 countries and U.S. territories and is now headquartered at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.
And at the end of a rotating line of enlisted broadcasters in operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn is the 206th Broadcast Operations Detachment out of Grand Prairie, Tex. It includes on-air talent Prickel and Townsend, who met on military-journalist deployments during the 2007 surge, and the hosts who follow them (Sgt. Brad Ruffin, 42, of the “Midday Getaway” at 1000 hours and Capt. Chris McNair, 44, of the “Afternoon Express” at 1400 hours).
There has been funny business: An on-air deconstruction of Britney Spears’s anatomy and behavior, a sermon about feminism and the emasculation of the American male, a discussion about the familial roles played by Joey and Uncle Jesse on the ’90s sitcom “Full House.”
(more at the linked page)
Somewhere in the basement I have a few tapes I made of Armed Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) when I was at DaNang. I have a few from Armed Forces Thailand Network (AFTN) after we were transferred to Nakhon Phanom (NKP), Thailand, and finally at Ubon, Thailand, too. I just turned on my little Panasonic tape recorder and recorded songs that I liked playing on my radio, so the quality isn’t exactly “studio”. That Pioneer radio, along with the turntable and tapedeck I added, is still sitting in our "Little House on the Prairie" home school in our basement ...everything still works, too. Anyway, about every 30 seconds there’s a “zzzzzzt zzzzzt” from the radar interfering with the radio signal as the big rotating dish made its sweeps. Makes my copy of Charley Pride’s “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone” pretty unique I suppose….
...by the way, our son-in-law will be coming home from Iraq next month...seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan is enough in my opinion.
Find the perfect babysitter, petsitter, or tutor -- today!