Freedom (radio) Isn’t Free

From Scout:

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Stars and Stripes reports on “Freedom Radio” run by the Armed Forces Network. It is only one of 2 non Arabic listening options for the troops in Iraq with the other being the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Freedom Radio’s most popular program is its mid day country music block.

The midday country music station’s popularity underscores some aspects of U.S. military culture, where many troops hail from the southern and western states.

“It reminds them of home,” said Master Sgt. Andy Starr, the station manager and a reservist and an engineer for Bell Helicopter back home in Fort Worth, Texas.

“And there’s a lot more patriotic music coming out of the country music world, so that’s part of it.”

Some songs with profanity or war-related subject matter are plucked from the playlist, such as Outkast’s Bombs Over Baghdad. (emphasis mine)

“These guys are seeing this stuff every day — bombs going off. They come in from patrol and try to relax in their hooch, the last thing they want to be reminded of is what they are going to see at work tomorrow,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gail Anderson, a reservist who has worked in commercial radio across the country.

“We’re not trying to censor anything; we’re just trying to improve their quality of life,” she said.

I guess they won’t hear the latest from the Dixie Chicks or Neil Young on the radio at least.