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"off duty" 1970 - 1997 - eine Werbezeitung für's US Militär

Die in diesem amerikanischen (Freizeit-) Shopping-Magazin angeprie- senen Produkte waren auschließlich amerikanischen und kanadischen Militärangehörigen ausserhalb der USA zugänglich - also zu kaufen - vor allem zu ganz ungewöhnlich (verblüffend) niedrigen US $ Military-Preisen. Zu der einführenden "off duty" Seite geht es hier lang.

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Als die "off-duty" Themen-Lücken fast alle besetzt waren ...

Dem aufmerksamen Rezensenten und Redakteur fällt auf, daß die Frankfurter off-duty Redaktion ab 1972 mit aller Kraft versuchte, alle die GIs und deren Familien interessierende Gebiete abzudecken - einschließlich der Hausfrauen in den Wohnungen der US Hausing Areas. Neben Reisen und den europäischen Gastländern und deren Spezialitäten und Marotten wurde so nach und nach alles "vereinnahmt", das vom Thema her irgend etwas Interessantes hergab. Gefehlt hatten die Langspielplatten, um die sich bei Audio- und Hifi fast alles drehte.

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Die Special Record Section - December 1975 - Teil 1

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Off Duty / Europe / December 1975
1975 at Its Best - Ein Leben im Schallplatten-Himmel

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AS AN AMERICAN serviceman (or woman) stationed in Europe, you may not realize it, but you are living in "record heaven." Many Stateside record collectors would give their right (tone) arms for the chance to buy records under the circumstances that military personnel take for granted - or simply ignore. Consider these facts : (Betrachte mal diese Gründe ......)

First,

the exchange system (die amerikanischen Verkaufsstellen) offers virtually all the major American releases to its customers at discount prices. And, more than ever before, the selection is up-to-the-minute.
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Second,

the EUCOM audio/photo club and the Warren Co.'s Top Pop Shops also specialize in providing the military customer with the latest hits at bargain prices.
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Third,

commercial record shops, particularly in large cities, offer both U.S. and European recordings. While prices usually aren't discounted, they are lower than Stateside collectors are willing to pay for "imported" records - when they can get them. (There are people who would pay almost any price for certain European discs, particularly those in the classical field.)
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Take a closer look

AAFES records technician William Jacobs checks the stock at the Frankfurt PX.

Let's take a closer look at the above points. AAFES, Europe began a new distribution program last July (1974) for records and pre-recorded tapes. Under the new plan all records and tapes for European exchanges are purchased by AAFES's Atlanta, Georgia, records distribution center.

Records are packed in Atlanta, then shipped via commercial air freight to Rhein Main Air Base, where they are sorted for immediate delivery by truck to points throughout Germany.

Records destined for exchanges outside Germany, such as in Britain, Greece, Spain and Italy, are sent directly to those regions, also via air. In the past this merchandise was first sent to Germany, then forwarded, so the new system is faster.

Alles wird in verschlossenen Containern verschickt

All the records are shipped in sealed containers, which speeds customs clearance in Europe, further reducing delivery time. The result, according to Thomas L. Pabst, director of the AAFES, Europe, merchandising division, is that new records are on sale here only 7-10 days after their U.S. release, which is 2-3 weeks faster than was the case previously.

Erstaunlich - up to 1,600 titles

The largest exchange outlets carry up to 1,600 titles, which includes records and tapes in all catagories, including 4-channel.

A small troop store will offer about 100 best-sellers, a typical store will offer about 650 titles. Based on sales volume, each store places a reorder each week.

Any of 1,400 titles from a master list (updated monthly) or hit list (updated weekly) that contains 100 album titles plus 50 cassette and 50 8-track cartridge tapes may be ordered.

According to Mr. Pabst, such records are already distributed to any of AAFES, Europe's 146 record outlets within two weeks of placement of a reorder.

Computerization of the reordering process, plus the use of transatlantic cables and leased data communications lines, helps make possible this speedy response from half-way around the world.

Und immer gibts "discount" = Rabatt

As we've mentioned already, the exchanges carry all types of records and tapes. Pop records account for 70% of sales, country and western 10%, jazz 7%, classical and easy listening, 5% each. A typical $5.98 album sells here for $3.75 while a $5.95 tape goes for $3.03. Savings are similar at other price levels.

At the EUCOM audio/photo club in Stuttgart, military personnel who are club members can choose their purchases from among several thousand record and tape titles.

There is rock, soul and country of course, plus very large selections of classical, jazz and movie soundtrack recordings.

Bespielte Bandspulen einschließlich Quadro Bänder

Several hundred titles are available on cassettes, with lesser numbers offered on 8-track cartridges and open-reel tapes. There are about 200 quadraphonic titles available, too. All records and tapes are sold at discount prices, of course.

With the exception of some classical selections on the well-known Philips label, all of EUCOM's records and tapes are U.S. manufactured. EUCOM, like the exchange system, receives its records via air freight, which means new releases are available at EUCOM as soon as they are released in America.

If a record-buyer can't find exactly what he wants among the thousands of discs on EUCOM's shelves, no problem. The club gladly accepts special orders - and at no extra charge - as a service to its customers, noted Mrs. Gene Aften, records manager. Special orders are not usually accepted by other outlets.
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The W. D. Warren Company's Top Pop Shops ....

..... all located near U.S. bases, also offer records to American military personnel at discount prices. Founded in 1969 as a single store in Buchschlag, near Rhein Main Air Base, there are now shops in eight other locations, including Kaiserslautern, Fürth, Augsburg, Ludwigsburg, Baumholder, Mannheim and Bitburg.

The newest store, located across the street from the American hospital in Berlin, opened last month. Top Pop Shops though not affiliated with the American military, require presentation of a valid I.D. card before you enter.

Once inside you'll find records, tapes and posters on sale, just like in a Stateside store. The sales personnel speak English, so you don't have to worry about a language barrier - or a money barrier. These stores will accept U.S. dollars or German marks, take your choice.

Like the other record outlets we've mentioned, the Top Pop Shops offer a selection of current Stateside hits in all catagories, the typical store carrying about 1,200 titles in discs and 120 or more in cassette and 8-track cartridge.

There are quad albums, too, and lots of golden oldies. There is one difference in the Top Pop Shops products, they are pressed in Europe from "masters" made in America.
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Fast alle Platten werden in Europa gepresst ....

If you are among those recording aficionados who believe that European records are made with better vinyl — and more care — than American-produced discs, this is an added plus. Since most manufacturers try to release new albums simultaneously through tout the world, the latest hits are pressed and released in Europe at the same time as in the U.S., points out Peter Treml, the chain's record buyer.

Man kann auch in deutschen Platten-Läden kaufen

Buying records on the economy offers some unique advantages, too, although the prices are usually higher than those found in the other outlets mentioned.

Be prepared to pay 15-20 DM or so for a popular album, whether by an American or European group, in most German record stores. Of course, some records will cost more, some less. Is the extra money worth it? That depends on what you are looking for.

Europeans have long treasured the works of American rock and roll pioneers. Performers who made it big briefly in the U.S., then faded away, often surfaced in Europe as full-fledged stars. Consequently, their records are big sellers here. So, if you've got a taste for oldies but can't get no satisfaction at other outlets, European record stores can be a treasure trove.
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Some fantastic "greatest hits" on the European market

There are also some fantastic "greatest hits" collections on the European market. Some current discs offer the Bee Gees' Jive Talk, Kraftwerk's Autobahn, Leo Sayer's Long TallGlasses, 10 CC's I am Not In Love, Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes' / Wanna Dance Wit' Choo, Gloria Gaynor's Reach Out and I'll Be There, BTO's Hey You and about a dozen other recent hits for 22 DM, or about $8.00.

How about 40 Presley hits for 30 DM? A bit of the old country? Give a listen to Johnny Cash, Lynn Anderson, Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Rich and Tammy Wynette, all on one bargain-priced disc. The examples could go on and on. Suffice it to say, Europe's "greatest hits" records are worth looking into.

If classical music is your favorite, then European record stores should be as welcome as money in the mail. Classical music has always been much more popular in Europe than America. Consquently, the classics are more frequently performed and recorded in Europe. That is why there are selections offered here that just cannot be found Stateside.

We've already mentioned that many people feel European-made records are superior to the American equivalent. That goes for covers, too. Besides, some people like to own things that are a bit different from everybody else's.

Imagine yourself setting around back home with a few friends, when somebody notices that unusual album.

"Yah," you say, lifting your German beer stein to your lips, "picked that one up while I was over in Europe. Say, did I every tell you about the time that we ......." ?

Diese Titelstory - Dezember 1975 - ist höchstwahrscheinlich auch von Walter Rios.
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Vintage Wax - They're your favorites

THOUSANDS of new recordings are released every year in the United States, but despite this flood of vinyl - or perhaps because of it - many people still get the greatest enjoyment from hearing their old favorites.

Often these "oldies" are records that have been popular for years, but in other instances they have only been off the charts for a few months. Either way, people look forward to hearing them again.

For GIs in Europe the "Old Gold Retold" show, which originates at "AFN Frankfurt", is a welcome chance to relax late in the day to such familiar sounds. Thorn Robinson, who hosts the program, has compiled this list of the songs that are most frequently requested by listeners.
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Thorn Robinson compiled this list of the songs (dec. 1975)

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  • 1. PRECIOUS AND FEW Climax
  • 2. KNIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN Moody Blues
  • 3. YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND Carole King/James Taylor
  • 4. LEAVIN' ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul and Mary
  • 5. COLOR MY WORLD Chicago
  • 6. YOU MAKE ME FEEL BRAND NEW Stylistics
  • 7. I HONESTLY LOVE YOU Oliva Newton-John
  • 8. MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
  • 9. BABY I'M A-WANT YOU Bread
  • 10. SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDER John Denver
  • 11. WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN Three Degrees
  • 12. YOUR SONG Elton John
  • 13. TIME IN A BOTTLE Jim Croce
  • 14. MY LOVE Paul Mc Cartney and Wings
  • 15. SO FAR AWAY Carole King

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The music maker
AFN Radio, that is ...........

MUSIC AND RADIO are closely associated in the minds of many people, so it is no surprize that if you mention music to the typical GI, AFN, Europe radio quickly becomes a topic of conversation.

Even though there is plenty of American music to be heard on European stations, the majority of GIs prefer the familiar sound of American disc jockeys playing that music.

We thought that readers of this special OFF DUTY recordings section might be interested in learning a bit about AFN's music policy and the chain of events that ultimately results in those sounds that go out over the air waves.
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A bit about AFN's music policy

The process actually begins at American Forces Radio and Television headquarters in Los Angeles. There experts study the scores of new releases made available free of charge to the network by record makers.

Based on their knowledge of the likes and dislikes of military listeners, plus their years of experience in the music business and input from trade sources, they compile a list each week of new music to be distributed to American military stations.

The new music is not sent out in the form of conventional records or tapes that most of us are used to buying. Instead, it is recorded on special transcription discs (which can only be played a limited number of times) that are intended for use only by the network. (Anmerkung : oft auf 40cm Platten)

Thus, the thousands upon thousands of recordings, dating as far back as 1943, in AFN, Frankfurt's library, are not like commercial discs. Instead, they often contain the works of several different artists assembled from separate singles or albums. (By the way, AFN does not give away records or transcriptions and is prohibited from doing so by military regulations.)
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  • Anmerkung : Mehr zu diesen speziellen AFN Platten mit in den weltweiten AFN Stationen kostenfrei spielbaren Titeln finden Sie auf den Seiten der New Yorker Firma "audio record", die die Rohlinge an die US-Militär- Verwaltung geliefert hatten, in Millionen-Stückzahlen.

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AFN Frankfurt war die weltweite "master station" des AFN

Decisions as to what type of music to play and when to play it is based on the needs of the people in the area each station serves. While many of each day's programs are carried by all stations (these originate in Frankfurt, the master station), morning and evening prime time slots, among others, are turned over to the local stations.

Correspondence with listeners, personal contact, audience surveys, staff experience and so forth are all constantly being evaluated to determine the best programming possible.

Unlike the situation in most of the U.S., where even modest-size communities are served by several radio stations and listeners can take their choice, there sometimes is only one AFN outlet per area. (Many areas now are served by both an AM and FM station.) That means each station must strive to satisfy a wide variety of needs, no easy task.

Im AFN - jede Woche ein Füllhorn voller Musik

Fortunately, with close to 100 new cuts being received each week from Los Angeles, not to mention the selections already on hand in record libraries, music directors and disc jockeys have a cornucopia (ein Füllhorn) of music to choose from.

While the procedure varies from station to station, many outlets use a system similar to that of AFN, Frankfurt.

Here the music director makes up a weekly "top 40" play list from which each d. j. can choose his current records. Effort is made to avoid playing any record too often - unlike some commercial stations that play some songs to death.

This, plus each d. j.'s distinct approach to his program, and the selections available in the record library, helps make the AFN sound a constantly fresh one.
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