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The biggest names in Hollywood and Broadway recorded for AFRS during the war years, The American Forces Network can trace its origins back to May 26, 1942, when the War Department established the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS). The U.S. Army began broadcasting from London during World War II, using equipment and studio facilities borrowed from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The first transmission to U.S. troops began at 5:45 p.m. on July 4, 1943 and included less than five hours of recorded shows, a BBC news and sports broadcast. That day, Corporal Syl Binkin became the first U.S. Military broadcaster heard over the air. The signal was sent from London via telephone lines to five regional transmitters to reach U.S. troops in the United Kingdom as they made preparations for the inevitable invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe . Fearing competition for civilian audiences the BBC initially tried to impose restrictions on AFN broadcasts within Britain (transmissions were only allowed from American Bases outside London and were limited to 50 watts of transmission power) and a minimum quota of British produced programming had to be carried. Nevertheless AFN programmes were widely enjoyed by the British civilian listeners who could receive them and once AFN operations transferred to continental Europe (shortly after D-Day) AFN were able to broadcast with little restriction with programmes available to civilian audiences across most of Europe (including Britain) after dark. As D-Day approached, the network joined with the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to develop programs especially for the Allied Expeditionary Forces . Mobile stations, complete with personnel, broadcasting equipment, and a record library were deployed to broadcast music and news to troops in the field. The mobile stations reported on front line activities and fed the news reports back to studio locations in London.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



0645-GI-Jive-Duke Ellington - Hop, Skip and Jump 15:11
0646-GI-Jive-Al Donahue-Yes Indeed 14:01
AFRS - Amos and Andy (Replacing Comedy Caravan 175) 25:42
#037 Delta Rhythm Boys Lucky Millander 29:38
#038 Jimmie Noone, Butterfly McQueen, Ida James, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lucky M… 31:58
AFRS 051- Jubilee - Jouis Jordan and His Tympany 5 Orchestra 11-08-43 30:14
AFRS 076 - Amos and Andy 30:57
AFRS 141 Jubilee Count Basie - Hattie McDaniel 07-16-45 29:28
AFRS 17 - To the Rear March - Bob Hope - Frank Morgan - Charlie McCarthy 29:58
AFRS 520 - One Night Stand - Gene Krupa -Hollywood Palladium - 1st Song - Linge… 29:46
AFRS 695 - Spotlight Bands - Mal Hallett - 1st Song - It Had to be You 06-07-45 15:05
AFRS 696 - Spotlight Bands - Jan Garber Fort Sam Houston - 1st Song - Swanee Ri… 15:03
AFRS Command Performance - Christmas Special 12-25-45 1:43:27
AFRS Command Performance - Victory Extra 08-14-45 1:40:20
AFRS Command Performance Christmas Special 12-23-44 2:08:14
AFRS Command Performance Christmas Special 12-24-42 59:51
Shirley Temple, Abbott and Costello, Fanny Brice 29:38
Mickey Rooney, Amos 'n Andy, Harry James 29:34
V-Mail Special 14:58
First Song - Blue Sky 15:07
AFRS-024 - Radio Hall of Fame - Tribute to Lt Gene Kelly 11-18-45 29:58
AFRS-040 - Radio Hall of Fame - Hedda Hopper - George Burns & Gracie Allen 03-1… 29:59
AFRS-133 - Bob Hope - Betty Hutton - from Santa Barbara University 02-12-46 30:32
AFRS-Sound Off-177-Stan Kenton-Eager Beaver 15:14
AFRS-Sound Off-178-Bing Crosby-It's Only A Paper Moon 15:27
AFRS-Sound Off-289-Tommy Dorsey Connie Hains-What Is This Thing Called Love-02-… 15:38
AFRS-Sound Off-290-Tommy Dorsey-Who 15:40
Mail Call - assembled program 29:00