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Historical Overview of SCN 

Southern Command Network

Drawing of SCN by Mateo Simons

1941 to 1999

 

 

The Metamorphosis of SCN
PCAN
  • April 1941      
    • PCAN & PCAC were first built on initiative by Msgt's Clay Doster and Frank Hawkridge of the Pacific Coast Artillery News as two 50 watt radio broadcast for the 30,000 Artillery Corps Jarman Junglemen "Jungleers"  who were assigned to the Coast Artillery Command spread through the jungles protecting the coasts in the Panama Canal Zone. Then called PCAN & PCAC, broadcasting on a reserved military frequency, Americans assigned to jungle and remote duty locations were able to receive news, information, music and sports. The letter Doster wrote to NBC requesting old recordings for his new radio stations set off a firestorm response from NBC who immediately adopted the two stations as honorary affiliates to the NBC Blue Network. Within 6 months, NBC had also set up short-wave transmitters to send broadcasts and shipped recorded materials to soldiers worldwide. This continued throughout the war and was actually the true story of how AFRS was created. AFRS sent crews and staff to assume "Control" and "manage the new stations and built a new studio in Albrook Field (AFB). AFRS did not provide entertainment or broadcast materials. NBC was doing that at their sponsors expense. Doster and Hawkridge are the true founders of SCN, AFRS and the entire military broadcast network and have not been given the recognition they deserve.
AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) ACA, ACB-20
  •  Nov 1942
    • AFRS arrived to take control & management of the two Artillery Corps stations and set up a radio broadcast studio on Albrook Field (AFB) in the Panama Canal Zone. 
AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) WVUL, WVUB, WVL
  •  December 1948
    • In December 1948, AFRS obtained building 209 on Ft Clayton and moved from their Albrook studios to building 209 on Ft Clayton where it would remain until the very end.
CFN (Caribbean Forces Network)
  • 1954

    • AFRS was renamed to CFN. TV was added to provide Radio & TV entertainment and information for Americans in the military and civilian sectors and their families living in the Panama Canal Zone from coast to coast.

SCN (Southern Command Network)
  • 1963
    • The name was changed for the final time from CFN to SCN

     

  • 1975
    • SCN upgraded to a full color broadcasting station.

     

  • 1979
    • SCN was the lead station in a pilot project for the DoD's Satellite Network (SATNET)
    • SATNET has since become a worldwide network reaching more than 141 countries

     

  • 1987
    • SCN assumed operational control of the AFRTS Activity in Honduras in a small studio with only three personnel and volunteers.

     

  • 1989
    • December 1989 to January 1990
    • SCN was the first ABS network and AFRTS affiliate to receive a Combat Streamer, resulting from its support to the U. S. Southern Command during Operation JUST CAUSE

     

  • 1990
    • Restricted from broadcasting many popular programs due to an agreement in the Panama Treaty, SCN inaugurated a second encrypted wireless cable TV channel. 
    • Much of the programming prior to this date had consisted of much older programs which the Panamanian broadcasting services had not purchased the broadcast right to play on their commercial stations. 
    • The second channel was delivered via an MMDS system. SCN was the only AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) station which provided two full-service, independent television channels for the DoD (Department of Defense) audience.

     

  • 1991
    • JTF-Bravo, Honduras was officially established as an SCN affiliate
    • Previously this broadcasting outlet was listed as a Navy contingency operation.
    • In addition to AFRTS Radio/TV service, JTF-BRAVO has acquired a commercial satellite program service. This commercial service provides more available channels than could be possible by SCN because it is delivered to the audience via cable, and only within the confines of the installation. SCN-Honduras also provides the Armed Forces Digital Audio Service or AFDAS to the installation via the cable system. AFDAS is a satellite service providing a wide variety of musical formats.

     

  • 1999
    • The official closing ceremonies for SCN occurred on July 1st, 1999. 
    • To ensure information, news and entertainment continued to reach DoD personnel residing off the installation, SCN continued to broadcast an over-the-air channel from a mobile van atop Ancon hill until the last of the American forces departed on December 31st, 1999
    • Ending 59 years of historical service to the Americans living, working and serving in the Panama Canal Zone.

 

 

 

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