AFN Heidelberg Station has new commander

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from Herald Tribune, Heidelberg

AFN Heidelberg station has new commander
Story and photod by Gail E. Anderson

Listeners to AFN Heidelberg will realize, just like the Eagles 1976 hit song says; "There’s a new kid in town," and his name is Sgt. 1st Class Darryl Leonard.

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He’s the new station manager for American Forces Network Heidelberg, located on Hammonds Barracks in Seckenheim. He replaces Master Sgt. Richard Greene, who has gone on to be the operations NCO at the Army Broadcasting Service in Alexandria, Va.

Leonard, a 41-year old native of Violet, La., assumed command of the station in mid-July, after a two-and-a-half-year stint with the Army and Air Force Hometown News Service at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Leonard is excited about his new assignment as the detachment commander for AFN Heidelberg and has " plans to make the station more enjoyable, more appealing to a greater number of people and to improve the overall quality of programming," he said.

He plans to do this with a few minor changes to the station’s format, but those changes may be slower in coming than previously announced.

In an article in the Aug. 5 Stars and Stripes, it was announced that Leonard planned to implement changes such as replacing most of the commercially produced daytime broadcasts with local talent, and to add more hip hop and rhythm and blues programming.

"This isn’t exactly what I said," said Leonard.

What I said was that I plan to "add hip hop and rhythm and blues. The word more, in the Stripes article, indicated that we were already playing hip hop and rhythm and blues, and that isn’t the case. How can you add more of something you never had to begin with?

Other changes Leonard would like to see include having a two-person morning show, featuring Spec. Tom Arnholt and Victoria Lutz, adding an afternoon show with Spec. Eric Witmer and changing the station’s call sign from the previous HMS (an acronym for Heidelberg, Mannheim and Stuttgart), to Hot FM.

Stripes quoted Leonard as saying that all these changes will take place next month, and while it’s true that the station is hoping for a Sept. 3 premiere, Leonard said: "All of this has been put on hold, until we get final approval from headquarters." (AFN Europe)

AFN Europe is currently located in Frankfurt, but after 36 years there, the network has broken ground for a new building and started relocating to Coleman Barracks in Mannheim.

The move should be completed by November 2004, according to AFN Europe public affairs officer Roger Williams.

This is Leonard’s third tour in Deutschland.

In 1985, while stationed with the Third Armored Div. public affairs office, he hosted the afternoon radio show on AFN Frankfurt.

After spending two years as the news director for the Army’s television station at Fort Gordon, Ga., in 1993 he returned to Germany as the NCO in charge of AFN Nürnberg.

Leonard worked there until the station’s closure and relocation to Vilseck in 1996.

Leonard’s military career has also included assignments with 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., III Corps public affairs office at Fort Hood, Texas, in Korea with American Forces Korea Network and with the Southern Comd. Network.

While at Southern Comd., Leonard spent seven months at the network’s affiliate station in Honduras, where he was the station manager and morning radio announcer known as "Derby D."

Upon his return to SCN’s headquarters in Panama, he was named as news director and worked there until that station’s closure in 1999.
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