Radio and the Military

Derek Skala

When most people think about getting drafted they imagine going into combat as your typical foot soldier, but this is not always the case. Some, like my great uncle Bob Moke, are lucky enough to join the AFN, or the American Forces Network.


Before the Vietnam war, Bob had begun working at a radio station while enrolled at Worcester college. After he graduated in 1965, he entered grad school at Kent State and continued to work part time in the college radio stations. After finishing grad school in 1967, Bob was drafted in June.


Bob described himself as never being very athletic, making basic training very difficult. He said, “They treat you like shit. No respect, they order you around, and you feel  like you’re nothing.” However, after a few weeks you get built up and everyone is cheering each other on. Near the end of this basic training, he was taken aside and given the choice to go into a different school of the army. There was no school for broadcasting, so Bob chose the supply school. This was mainly a classroom setting where they learned about the distribution of bedding, auto parts etc…


When people are drafted into the military, it is mandatory that they serve two years, but there is the option to serve three. Choosing this gave Bob a better chance of getting into some of the better programs offered, including the supply school, instead of being sent to the front lines. Bob chose this option and was lucky to be stationed in Germany.


When in Germany, Bob was lucky enough to run into someone he knew from back home with a bit of pull in the army. They put in a good word for Bob, and he was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany where the AFN headquarters were located. Bob ended up being on the air for over two and a half years. AFN’s purpose was to entertain, and inform the troops. It was heard anywhere American troops were stationed.


At AFN Bob started out as an announcer who did very little, but after a month he got his very own show. He did an hour in the morning Monday through Friday. Eventually after a couple more months Bob got his big break, and landed a large weekend show. He hosted “Weekend World” every Saturday and Sunday for four hours. “Weekend World” was basically a large variety show that included music, comedy, news, celebrity interviews, and a weekly sports wrap-up. Bob hosted this for about two years, and all the way up till when he was out of the army.


After his unique experience in the army which Bob described as “very meaningful and positive”, He continued a career in radio. He worked at several local stations, and eventually at Sirius XM until his retirement in 2009.