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Sailors on Isolated Facility Use Radio to Keep Shipmates Informed, Connected

28 April 2020

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Carlos W. Hopper

The Sailors behind the microphone on the Navy's most isolated radio station: Diego Garcia.

Onboard U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, one of the most isolated duty stations in the world, service members and contractors get their information regarding the command from American Forces Network Diego Garcia, either via television, radio, or social media.

The radio side of the house provide two live shows daily, Monday through Friday, and plays the top 40 hit music. Led by Mass Communication Specialist (MC) 2nd Class Jackie Hart, the radio Leading Petty Officer (LPO) and hosted by MC3 Jacob Woitzel and MC3 Arthur Rosen. Hart said that being able to go into the studio and interact with the people in the command while they do their four-hour segments is exciting, because they are able to let their personality shine and have fun with it.

AFN Diego Garcia and its Sailors directly support Capt. Blake Tornga, NSF commanding officer, via radio and social media, delivering information to service members and civilians. Additionally, they contribute to the morale of the island not only by playing music, but by also letting the command know of upcoming Morale, Welfare, and Recreation events and other events around the island.

Once a week, the CO has a talk show at AFN and invites listeners to call in and ask or answer questions, while talking about recent and upcoming events with one of the DJs.

Currently AFN is making sure service members and contractors here on Diego Garcia are aware of the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19.

The workload is divided by two radio hosts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning show starts at 7 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m., where the morning host breaks for lunch. The afternoon DJ starts getting things ready for the afternoon show around 12:15 p.m. and starts the show from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

“I get to the studio around six in the morning to prepare for my show looking for new science and technology articles to talk about during my breaks from the music,” said MC3 Arthur Rosen, the afternoon radio show host.

Playing music and being able to interact with the people on the island has been a bonus for the DJs here on Diego Garcia.

“Every DJ has their own vibe, which makes us different,” said MC3 Jacob Woitzel, who hosts the morning show. “The mission comes first, but we all have our own way of accomplishing the mission, and having the creative freedom to do that is nice.”

Hart has been in the Navy for almost seven years, and said that being an MC gives you a lot of creative influence when it comes to the work.

Being the radio LPO has given Hart the opportunity to show four junior Sailors what he learned in broadcasting school. He said that he’s enjoyed being able to pass on the knowledge he’s acquired to these first term Sailors.

“I enjoyed the fact that I got to pass on everything I learned to these Sailors that didn’t get the same training I did and came straight here from “A” school,” said Hart.

Woitzel said that having Hart as their LPO is nice because they can bounce ideas off of each other and he teaches them the stuff he knows. Having Hart around is great. He’s a great LPO said Rosen about Hart. He said that Hart has an answer for every question.

“He didn’t just teach me radio, he taught me how to teach radio and I’m excited to pass that on,” said Rosen.

Hart said that doing his job is a lot of fun, and that being able to interact with the people here on the island and distribute information in a different way is exciting.

“Radio is more personal, you get to go on the radio, play music people want to hear, let them hear your voice, hear your personality, you go in there with a smile on your face, you’re genuinely excited to be there doing your job because it’s fun,” said Hart.

He said that the added bonus of his job is that he gets to ask questions and have listeners call in and try to answer them, and that it’s cool to tell them they got it right.

“I genuinely feel that when I’m able to present a radio show and spend four hours playing music and giving information in a fun and exciting way for everybody listening that it’s not really working for me,” said Hart. “It’s me having a good time and the added benefit I can say I do this for a living.”


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