Armed Forces Network Kaiserslautern provides information and entertainment for U.S. Department of Defense personnel and families across the Kaiserslautern Military Community, to include Baumholder. In January, AFN updated their frequency from 100.2 to 105.1, allowing them to access even more of their 64,000 potential audience.
U.S. specification radios cannot access even-numbered frequencies like the old 100.2.
“We had a hard time reaching half our potential audience when they’re in vehicles, which is when people listen to radio,” said Master Sgt. Christina Nelson, AFN Kaiserslautern affiliate manager.
Since part of AFN broadcasts include weather and traffic information, it is important to be able to reach people while they are driving.
After a 15-year struggle, the AFN team was finally able to switch over to an odd-number frequency, Nelson said. It was a challenge to work through the German government and find an available frequency.
“This time we were determined to make it happen,” Nelson said.
According to Nelson, AFN Kaiserslautern’s mission is to promote command information for the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and 86th Airlift Wing commanders and provide entertainment to KMC military members and AFN audiences. She said that one of the most important impacts that AFN has is giving the KMC a sense of home and bringing them opportunities to come together by advertising events happening in the community. She said that with the new frequency, AFN is bringing people together in higher numbers than before. They have had more phone calls, more interaction on their Facebook page, more people calling in traffic reports and more involvement in their contests.
AFN Kaiserslautern’s biggest customer, 86th Force Support Squadron, has benefitted from increased reach as well. The 86 FSS provides morale-building opportunities and ways to stay connected with the community, such as Outdoor Recreation trips and a variety of classes and youth programs.
“We have a really good partnership with AFN Kaiserslautern, and they cover a lot of our events,” said Kelsey Kukharev, 86 FSS marketing specialist. “They have two spots per week for (force support squadron) events, and our facility managers such as Outdoor Recreation and the Arts and Crafts Center usually get a couple of spots too.”
Kakharev said the new frequency helped 86 FSS raise bigger event turnouts, allowing them to have a bigger impact on the community. Their biggest event of the year, Freedom Fest, drew larger numbers this year after advertising on the new frequency.
When 86 FSS began advertising the “8 for 8” Vogelweh Bowling Center program, no one signed up. The program supports Recharge for Resiliency, an initiative helping Airmen and families impacted by deployments. Without participation, 86 FSS would have lost the money they invested in the event; however, after advertising on AFN Kaiserslautern’s new frequency, they got the participants they needed for the program.
The hard work and dedication that AFN Kaiserslautern went through to make the new frequency happen is paying off. Broader information dissemination gives more people in the KMC a way to stay informed, entertained and connected.