"DJ" Andrew Branstad
How many times have I heard this, smoothly-delivered from the main DJ:
This is AFN "The Eagle", serving America's best! I'm Sergeant Andrew Branstad with you here on......
I think Andrew Branstad is quite a good DJ, the equal of any civilian one in the USA. I've been listening to him for nearly two years now. I enjoy listening when he's "on the air", even though I'm not the intended audience at all.
America on the Korean FM Dial
The AFN radio station out of Yongsan is enjoyable, well-executed, and professional, given the small target-audience of a few thousand (tens of thousands?) of Americans attached to the U.S. military around Seoul. You'd have no idea that "The Eagle" was in Korea, 98% of the time. My impression is that U.S. Soldiers generally don't notice Korea. There is seldom any mention of Korea at all on AFN, for example, so it's no wonder. Relatedly, I notice that the Army people all pronounce "Yongsan", the base in Seoul, "wrong". It's supposed to be "Yohng-sahn" (용산). The Army people say "Young-saen" ("영새언") or occasionally Yahng-saen" ("양새언"), depending on their accents. (Maybe some are aware they're saying it wrong, but would think it pretentious to try to imitate the true Korean pronunciation.)
During most of the day, there is no DJ, and top-40 pop music is played. A recorded "Today's best hits, on AFN" is the tagline. which is followed immediately by top-40 U.S. music. Every now and then, there are also songs I recognize from the 2000s and 1990s. Somebody at the helm there really loves the 1991 song "Life is a Highway". Maybe Branstad himself! He'd be about the right age [b. circa 1979] for it to be a youth-nostalgia thing for him (and a befitting song for youth-nostalgia it is). I've heard that song many times at all hours of the day on 102.7 FM, "The Eagle".
Simulcasts; Morning Show at Bedtime
AFN "The Eagle" also sometimes does "simulcasts" of programs from the USA, involving some local U.S. DJs I'd never heard of, playing more top-40 music (one being somebody named Dave Perry, who I often end up hearing, and who has a pretty great radio voice). The main simulcast program I hear is called "Kid Kraddick in the Morning". It's on when I get home from work, 10 PM Korea time. Sometimes I listen. Listening into an American "morning-show" at 10 PM in Korea is pretty neat. Once, I was amused to turn it on and hear Psy being interviewed, in English, by the "Kid Kraddick" cast. Psy sounded sleepy, and didn't sound very fluent in English at the moment.
Totally Irrelevant to Me
I was once on Yongsan Garrison. My retired-Air-Force uncle brought me on while he was here for a week. Yongsan is an amazing place, a true American "colony". Listening to AFN, I sometimes feel like I'm in the U.S. Army in Korea. The latter is especially true from the "commercials", which are entirely informational, Army-oriented public-service announcements. Some are on how to avoid getting into trouble, others are info on events upcoming at Yongsan.
All of that is totally irrelevant to me, but then sometimes the least relevant is the most fascinating. Just ask any of my students: Rule #1 for many classes: "Anything off-topic is highly entertaining"!