This is not your average boring, military Web site. That’s what many people think when they first click on the AFN Kaiserslautern site at afneurope.net and vote on the top songs playing on AFN The Eagle radio, participate in contests to win prizes or play a game of hangman.
The site also features AFN Europe TV news stories you can download, as well as the day’s exchange rate and weather information.
The station’s Web site is one of the reasons AFN Kaiserslautern was selected as the top AFN Europe station out of five in 2008. The brain behind the Web magic is Tech. Sgt. Jeramie Brown, who is a few semester hours away from getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Science. Sergeant Brown takes his experiences and puts it into a weekly “Virtual World News” computer gaming feature airing Europe-wide on AFN The Eagle.
The Air Force sergeant is one of 13 people who contributed to winning station of the year for overall excellence in broadcasting, engineering, logistics and personnel.
Station Commander Master Sgt. Shiela Flinders said the key to the win was “each person displaying initiative, motivation and teamwork.”
Many individuals accomplished a lot at AFN Kaiserslautern, with each achievement contributing to the station’s overall success. Sergeant Flinders won the Air Force News Agency Senior NCO of the Quarter, Senior Airman Rob Joswiak won AFN Europe Junior Enlisted Servicemember of the Year, Staff Sgt. Daniel Vernatter earned Network NCO of the Year and Senior Airman Joely Santiago got Junior Enlisted Member of the Quarter in 2008.
Airman Santiago also got a below-the-zone promotion to senior airman and Army Sgt. Ian Camejo was promoted to staff sergeant. Station personnel excelled while deployed, with Senior Airman Scott Johnson serving six months in Iraq and Airman Joswiak and Sergeant Vernatter each serving six months in Afghanistan.
Sergeant Flinders was selected for Officer Training School in June and newly-arrived Tech. Sgt. Colleen Armstrong was chosen for a week of advanced television reporting training in Italy.
While the individual achievements indicate a cohesive, competent team, competition judges felt it was more important that the station was succeeding in broadcasting quality command information and clients felt those messages effectively achieved their goals.
“The biggest thing we hear back from our clients is they know they will get results by advertising with us – whether it’s participation for a blood drive or asking the community to donate to holiday programs for military families,” Sergeant Flinders said.
Since the messages AFN Europe puts on the air are free, stations rely on clients telling the station how well the broadcast publicity worked. Gerri Young, Defense Commissary Agency Europe public affairs officer, said AFN Kaiserslautern’s last-minute publicity for the Vogelweh Commissary’s Seafood Roadshow, the sixth location for the sale, “busted all records for the others by a long shot.”
And 435th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Don Bacon said AFN Kaiserslautern’s promotion of a voter registration drive resulted in 178 people signing up, “approximately 45 percent greater than events without the AFN effort.”
Assistant Superintendent of Lorraine American Cemetery Walter Benjamin credits AFN Kaiserslautern’s promotion with doubling the participation for Memorial Day at Lorraine Cemetery from 400 people in 2007 to 800 in 2008. The results of AFN Kaiserslautern’s support of the Memorial Day event helped the station win an AFN Europe broadcast excellence award. The station also won honors for its morning DJ show with Demarrio Spence as well as radio and TV spots produced by Ops Manager Jerry Cormier.
Of course, creating broadcast publicity is useless if it doesn’t go out over the airwaves. Technicians Oliver Leismann and Gerhard Geyer kept radio transmitters on the air and all broadcast systems working.
Traffic Manager Margit Lesmeister started her career as a secretary, then jumped into the digital age to become the first point of contact for people wanting to get their publicity requests on the air in the KMC.
The 33rd AFN Europe Commander Col. Scott Malcom felt the station’s accomplishments resulted from a common attribute.
“What sets apart AFN Kaiserslautern from their sister stations this year was the attitude of initiative that each and every team member there exudes every day. The many contests they sponsor to connect members of the K-town community with their key information clients are all the result of their good ideas and their collective ability and energy to implement them,” Colonel Malcom said. “In short, the relationships that they have with their supported communities are exceptional. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
(Courtesy of American Forces Network Europe)