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The PPDRDG Ministry of Propaganda Presents:
AN ALL-TOO BRIEF HISTORY OF PIRATE RADIO ON DIEGO GARCIA
Want to listen to Diego Garcia's short-wave transmission of AFRTS?
Tune in to 12579 kHz daytime, 4319 kHz nights.

As of January 2011, it is the ONLY Shortwave broadcast made by the Navy anymore -
So don't miss out on hearing a legend!

Want to Check Out What Was Playing on Radio DG During Your Tour? Check It Out.

Here's a great site all about AFRTS - Lots of air checks and downloadable stuff:  http://afrtsarchive.blogspot.com/

Yes, it was the local D.J.s spinning records that helped keep the Provisional Peoples' Revolution alive - who could resist the call to rebellion when they were listening to Jimi Hendrix, Billy Idol, or Atari?

 The boys and girls at AFRTS - the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service - and it's local affiliates at NBS (Naval Broadcasting Service) on DG had the best job on the island keeping the rest of us entertained in between USO shows.  And they did an great job, usually ignoring the rules and playing really great music no matter what the program director said.  They also made some great "commercials" - does anybody else remember the 'jog on the path!' video where they ran down runners on the road with the NBS van?

 From the early volunteers who knew how to play an 8-Track to today's crew-cut professionals, they were the ones who picked the music and beamed the old re-runs into our barracks rooms.  If it wasn't for them we'd all have gone crazy.  Here's a VERY small collection of photos of those folks - only because these are the only photos I have.  If you have any more photos or stories, PLEASE send them to me and let's get them on the page.


Before we get started, here's an email from May 2011 asking for your help:  "I'm a late 20's something radio broadcaster with several radio stations in the USA. I love hearing recordings of radio stations from all over the globe. If anyone who was stationed in Diego Garcia in the distant past has recordings of the American or British forces radio stations that may have operated there, I'd love to hear them. I'm also very interested in anyone who was recently on Diego Garcia or may be there now who could record the radio stations for me. I can't really afford to pay you, but I will be glad to pay postage there and back along with the cassette tapes and anything else necessary.  If you can help, please email me! Thanks, Paul  (Email: Walkerbroadcasting@gmail.com)"


Here's another request for contact:

1988
Irshad Cassim = galledutchfort@yahoo.com
Citizenship = Sri Lankan
Service = Short Wave Radio reciever
My_Quest = Short wave friends
My_Warstory = I am a Sri Lankan and I use to listen to the unnamed radio from DG in late eighties. I use to listen to the music and conversation of various personalities in DG who usually comes to the radio. I was a high school student at that time and while studying for the examination I usually mingled with the SW receiver. The radio from DG operates from 7-10pm according to Sri Lankan time, sometimes the voice is not clear and most of the time there were minor disturbances. I would like to know the radio hosts and various announcers whom manned the station during that period. Now I am in Indianapolis. 


1972 - RADIO REINDEER!
Many thanks to Terry Mross for these photos.
Terry is one of the success stories of the PPDRDG.  He's a movie star!
O.K., now the test question:  Does anybody know these guys?
Don't you love the beards?  Ahhh, the good 'old' Navy...

Diego Garcia AM
                  Radio Station, 1973


From:  "JOHN DELSO"
Hi,
        I was on the Rock in 72 and was a dj on afrts.The pictures .......the guy in the top pic with head phones I believe is the one and only
"Petey Wheatstraw"!! I was in MCB-62, I'm not sure if he was with ATCU-4 or not (we partied A LOT), I have many pictures from then!!  When I scan some, I'll send some to you for your web page if you want.
John Delso,  MCB-62,"B" Co. Comm. Squad,   AFRTS,   Mars Radio Operator

Here's more from John (PICTURED BELOW): <johndelso@att.net>
This is AFRTS studio on Diego Garcia in 1972.  This was the first one - the ones in the photos above was the "new" station built in '72.  I was with MCB-62 and that is me John Delso (JD the DG).  My show was from 12 noon to 6 in the evening.  Then is was shortened to 12 to 3.  The Station was in the back room of the Special Services Building.  On the other side of the back wall was the barber shop.  The wood case on the right side is 200 cassettes I brought with.  The were used a lot.  The silver radio on the left was our audio monitor.  It was sure a fun gig.

From:  "howard henze" <bchhenze@superior.net>
    These pictures depict the way the station was originally set up in 1972 by AFRS, and the Special Services Office on D.G.  Later pictures show the turntables on the other sied of the booth. It was then called "Radio Reindeer" as the island was "Reindeer Station" and we were the best beacon for the C-130's out of Bankok. They couldn't carry enough fuel to look for the island if they didn't "hit it" first time around and we were stronger and more reliable than the navaids.
     In the second picture, the guy at the board with the heavy beard and cap may be Larry Bruin, a gunners mate on loan from the CB battalion to the L.S.C. He was a great dj and very instrumental in getting the station set up and keeping it running.  I WAS the evil program director and Special Services officer and the only rule I had was to avoid "dead air" and have enough variety in the day to keep everyone happy. There was no TV or anything else other than the nightly movie so we had to do our best.  We had a great time putting this together and getting a few things over on the command that they never even realized we did.  We broadcast the Bob Hope Christmas Show so everyone heard it and I have a copy that I'm trying to dupe. It doesn't sound like much now, 30 years later but it was a big deal for us then. The Island Command was VERY unhappy with me for helping in inviting them to come but they got over it.
     Please contact me with any questions or if you were one of the team it would be really great to hear from you. JD the DJ is already on board....
Howie Henze

From:  Terry Mross <terrymross@yahoo.com>
     In the pics from '73 (not '72) that is definitely "Petey Wheatstraw" at the mic in the top picture.  Don't know who is buddy is.
     The bottom pic is BU1 J.D. Lawton ("Road Runner") at the mic.  That's BM2 Thrasher standing behind him. Thrasher didn't work there.  He just hung out and got drunk with us.  Don't know whatever happened to Thrasher.  Lawton, the last I heard, retired and is in
     Gulfport, Ms.
     I'd sure like to know whatever happened to Mike "Mo Medley" Malone.
     By the way, I was "Norton" on the air.

Early 1975 - Early 1976
NAME = Joel McDonald
MY QUEST = exchange the grail for a nice cappuccino machiine
VT of a SWALLOW = with or against the wind
E-MAIL = joel@nwcreativeservices.com
NATIONALITY = yank
SERVICE = Navy (more or less)
UNIT = AFRTS (radio station)
RANK/RATE/JOB = Journalist (JO) - Radio Disc Jocky (aka Rockin' J. Robin)
MY INTEREST IN DG IS = Geo-political Rabble Rousing
SUBJECT OF MY STORY: = I'd Like to Share Precious Memories of Drinking/Fishing/Snorkeling/Sailing on Diego Garcia
MY WARSTORY = There was the time when a totally wasted SeaBee JO named Glen Amato (Chicago) would come into the radio shack during my evening easy listening show (officers' mello music) and would not leave until I interviewed him, live on the air, as Eleanor Roosevelt. It actually became a regular addition to the show. Go figure.

Or, was it the time that I and another JO type, Bob Lewis, (Indiana) re-recorded all the pre-recorded comedy "shorts" sound track snippets for a morning DJ named Walter Rekoski (a very tall polish guy with a speech impediment, hey it was radio!) we nick-named Fonebones Rekosky (after the Mad Magazine character). He had the early morning country western show. He had the country western show because no one else wanted it, AND because he had that speech impediment. Anyway, he unknowingly played what he thought would be a comedy line, but instead he got was much more "interesting". He was so freaked out by the fairly obscene re-recordings that he actually ripped the "cart" machine (looked like an eight track tape unit) from atop the radio desk and virtually through it across the studio! ah, the good ol' days! I got extra duty for that one.

Anyone remember the drinking competitions at the Brit Club?  I got lots more remembrances if anyone is interested.

Above:  Some of the AFRTS guys set up to record Roger Hickey and his musical partner singing at the newly constructed Chapel in the Palms in 1971 or 1972.  Anybody know any of these guys?


MARS RADIO - 1972!

Competing for popularity with AFRTS was MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System)
which was the only way to make a call home. 

Here's a picture of Roger Hickey manning the station in 1972:



Roger sent in 138 photos - all of them excellent - of his tour there in 1972.  Here's where you can see them all:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30832662@N05/sets/72157631312137842/


If anyone has a story, photo, or more information about MARS on Diego Garcia, please send them to me!


1985
Many thanks to Cathy Hines for these photos.
Here's the AFRTS (NBS) crew in 1985.
Cathy is second from the right, front row (holding the hat).

Be SURE to check out Cahty's youtube videos of DG circa 1985!  http://www.youtube.com/user/beebebarton

Here's the AFRTS Radio and Television Station in 1985.

Here's Maynard the Cat (Maynee-san) supervising the AFRTS Record Library.

Whatever happened to the collection?

Here's Jim Morrison, a DJ from 1984:
Jim Kiltie, DJ 1984

1996

Here are some official US Navy photos of the computerized control room at the NBS station on DG.  Somehow, I think those old boys in 1972 had a better time.


2006
 "DG MEDIA MACHINE"
Propaganda from the Professionals!





 
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