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Radio Andernach: the soldiers' radio

By 1st Lt. Luis Sánchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001

Radio Andernach is the soldiers' radio operated by soldiers from the German SFOR contingent in Rajlovac, Sarajevo. They put on air a range of programmes, such as news, music, and greetings from home to inform and to entertain. The broadcasting frequencies are 97.7 and 104.8 MHz.

Rajlovac - Working in the media is an exciting job that requires your best. The Radio Andernach team knows it well. They deal with a demanding task: to entertain and to keep soldiers informed. "We give them the chance to listen to a German speaking radio station and in this way they could feel closer to home," stated 1st Lt. Steffan Klinger, editor-in-chief. A five-member team carries out this job, broadcasting from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on a daily basis.
Radio Andernach
Radio Andernach is the German Army radio for soldiers serving abroad. It takes its name from the city of Andernach (considered the birthplace of the modern German Army in 1956). The radio network is comprised of several stations. The main station that produces programmes nation-wide and manages the net is located in Mayen (a city near Coblenz, Germany). The signal is sent by a combination of telephone lines and satellite signals to its two regional studios in the Balkans, one for SFOR and the other for KFOR.
The regional centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in Rajlovac, where the soldiers from the German Contingent (GECONSFOR L), the audience, serve. It's the only German speaking radio on Sarajevo's dial. The radio station is comprised of a centre, placed in one container, and two antennas.
The container is affectionately called "the can," due to its similarity with this item. A picture hanging on the wall with the inscription " the show must go on" is a reminder that a fire destroyed the previous radio centre. The can is a fully equipped studio well provided with resources. For instance, musically speaking, it has some 1,800 CDs and 300 MDs.
Two antennas transmit the signal. The first is a 25-metre high pole set near the can (97.7 MHz), and the second is located on Mount Trebevic (104.8 MHz) in southeastern Sarajevo. Under good weather conditions the signal is spread out over some 50-60 kilometres. The signal doesn't reach Filipovici's detachment (in the eastern German Area of Responsibility), where the staff receives programmes by means of tapes.
The Team
A five-soldier team, three moderators and two technicians, on a six-month tour performs the task. They can be easily distinguished from the others thanks to a uniform badge with the motto "Radio Andernach, Soldaten senden für Soldaten" (Radio Andernach, run by soldiers for soldiers). Klinger commented: "In Germany you broadcast to the sky and you cannot see your listeners, here after the programme you can meet them in the dining facility, or anywhere in the camp and talk about an issue. We know firsthand what our listeners want, and thus are able to improve our programmes."
The feedback process works. Rajlovac's soldiers speak, call by phone and write notes in order to express musical preferences and greetings. Furthermore, there is a suggestion box in the compound.
1st Lt. Michael Godel from Psychological operations also co-operates: "I take part gathering information from Germany, correcting and providing the appropriate format. We have no time to say everything; it's necessary to summarise. The information we provide must be interesting for the soldiers."
Cpl. Artjam Bitor, editor and moderator, Cpl. Thomas Rudolp and Cpl. Jens Wolf, technicians, complete the team.
The programming
The transmission goes out from 6:00 a.m. till 10:30 p.m. and includes a selection of programmes. Some come from the main station, in Mayen, others are fully produced in Rajlovac. On weekends and days off the complete programming is produced in the camp.
Pieces of news are selected and include international, German and local news, sports events, humanitarian help and so on. They also have news from their own barracks in Rajlovac. Soldiers want to know what happens around them. There is also music (top parade, international music) and greetings from and to the camp and Germany for loved ones. Thus, they keep closer to their homes.
Tune in to Radio Andernach now and listen. "From morning till night, close to people, always in a good mood." (Radio's motto.)

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Germany