US military's Freedom Radio moves from Afghanistan to Riverside

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A radio service that caters to U.S. troops in Afghanistan is now broadcasting from the Inland Empire. Freedom Radio moved its operations from Afghanistan to the Armed Forces Network Broadcasting Center in January, according to the Press-Enterprise. The center is located just east of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County.

George Maurer, a disc jockey at the Armed Forces Network and civilian employee with the Air Force, told KPCC that Freedom Radio decided to move programming out of Afghanistan to take the radio station's crew members out of harm’s way.

Maurer said that while he has never been to Afghanistan, he was stationed in Iraq in 2005 and knows what it feels like for a soldier to miss life back home.

“There is always this thing in the back of your head that says ‘anything could happen at any time,’ and it kind of weighs on you a little bit,” Maurer said. “It’s nice to have that touch of home, a little bit of comfort, you know, a little familiarity to kind of take you away, even for just a few minutes.”

The theme of the AFN, Maurer said, is to keep the news as localized to Afghanistan as it can. The goal is to provide soldiers with news that they can’t find anywhere else, according to Maurer, while reporting on weather updates and command information as though it was broadcasted locally from Afghanistan.

The broadcasts carrying mostly localized news and popular American rock music are transmitted from Riverside to Afghanistan by satellite.

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