To expand its reach overseas, the American Forces Network will launch more than two dozen online radio streams on Tuesday. Almost every AFN radio station in Europe will start streaming online so that their broadcasts can be accessed through personal computers and smart phones.
The Armed Forces Network can trace its start back to 1946 when the War Department established the Armed Forces Radio Service. It would later expand into television and in 1954 launched its first television station.
The current radio programming for AFN includes talk, country, urban, classic rock, top-40 and adult hits. In 2005 during the Bush administration, the network added political news/talk programs hosted by Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity and Alan Combs. The programming not only serves to entertain and inform service members but to propagandize listeners tuning in to the network in the countries where AFN stations operate.
There was a campaign to remove master right-wing propagandist Rush Limbaugh from the AFN airwaves and the U.S. Government was forced to issue a response to the WhiteHouse.Gov petition posted in 2012 demanding that Limbaugh be removed from the AFN satellite radio network broadcasting in Europe .
The Pentagon and not the White House responded by a written statement which in part read,
“AFN does not censor content, and we believe it is important that service members have access to a variety of viewpoints” – Bryan G. Whitman
The official response was signed by Bryan G. Whitman, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Bryan G. Whitman is the same man that was in charge of the entire Department of Defense’s global media network from 2002 to 2010 according to his official DoD bio. It was in 2010 when Raw Story published a report that the Bush administration was documented using elements of the U.S. Defense Department’s media network to wage a Psychological Operation against the American people through radio and television with the goal of manipulating public opinion to garner support for the invasion of Iraq.
Now Whitman is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs during the Obama Administration and answering petitions left for the White House.
The Department of Defense is now significantly expanding its broadcasting capabilities to reach even more people.
After completing a 2012 online radio pilot program in Europe to test whether or not Internet streaming was viable, Keith Fenske, who is AFN Europe’s chief of Web operations and architect of the online services said that they had streamed over 750,000 total listener hours.
The AFN radio broadcasts will be accessible through anfeurope.net, afnpacific.net and iTunes but currently the service is blocked in certain areas of the United States and its colonies.
The fact that the Pentagon has decided to use Internet streaming on such a broad scale only solidifies the Black Talk Media Project’s belief that online radio and television represents the best option for media independence for the global Black community.