Featuring photos of KTUS opening night, March 31, 1958

Neil E. Berg W0MXX

1997-2011 by Author

It was not the easiest thing to run into Istanbul for liberty anytime one wanted to do so. It was a long ferry ride, and although there were endless things to see and do; one did get a little lonesome for things American. In 1957 the Hilton Hotel did its best to welcome Americans and held a number of great beach parties on the base, but things were still a little foreign to most of us. I remember how it all started I had a small Heathkit short-wave radio in the room I shared with Jack Groelle that we used for listening to American music and base- ball games on Armed Forces Radio Network. No one else had short wave radios, so we usually had a room full of people listening during a game or to find out what the latest songs were from the USA.

We had an idea that if we could borrow a reel to reel tape recorder not currently in use, we could tape the ball games and music and let people play them in the bar- rack's day room at their leisure, letting us have our room back That idea didn't work out all that well because evervone wanted to listen at different times.

Next we had the idea we could "broadcast" the signal from our room via "carrier current", a low power radio signal sent directly into the power lines of the building where it could be picked up by any ordinary radio. Most people had a radio but were getting pretty sick of nothing but Turkish and middle eastern music and jabber.

We built a small transmitter and fed the tape recorder audio into it. It worked perfectly. We now began to lose the use of our room again as it filled up with better receivers and tape recorders "borrowed" from base operations. It did not take long before other barracks and buildings heard what we were doing and wanted the same service. That's when the ideas of running the audio all over the base and feeding small transmitters in each building began to take shape. This was beginning to sound like a real radio station. I had previous experience in running a carrier current radio station at North Dakota State University so we decided to present the idea of nunning a complete Base Radio Station at KARAMURSEL to the powers that be: Base Commander Robert Allen USAF, Captain Griffen Chiles, commander of Detachment 28 and Lieu- tenant Commander J.D. McKinnon USN. Their cooperation was outstanding and we soon had more equipment on loan, volunteers, many of whom had previous radio station experience and time off to design the station.

The first organizational meeting xvas held on 23 October 1957. We presented a complete concept including everv detail we envisioned the radio station should look like. The whole concept was unanimously approved and things got rolling fast. An empty room in Barracks 5 was donated. Interviews were held to fill all positions. There were positions for everything, announcers, music librarian, news director, sports director, reporters and mvself as chief engineer. Eventually 60 people were employed, far more than a regular station of that size would nor- mally employ but great fun for those interested in this kind of"extra curricular" activity. This was also a great way for Navy, Air Force and Army people to cooperate together.

Some of the navy people from Detachment 28 involved were Captain Griffin Chiles. commander of Detachment 28, Lieutenant Commander J.D. McKinnon, CT3 Neil Berg, CT3 D.J. Decker, CT's Tex Kline, Jack Groelle, Bob Zulkie, Bob Horan, Richard Wilt, Fred Karth, and Bob Willet. I am sure there were many more but I have no complete list of them. Many Air Force people were also involved.

In short order five received "official permission" to use the call letters KTUS from Federal Communications Commission, although they had no real authority to license broadcast stations in Turkey. We were, however, able to reserve the call letters for ourselves that way. We attracted the attention of various record companies who supplied us with copies of the latest records. Armed Forces Radio Service sent various officials to visit and support the operation. Reporters also showed up from Navy Times and Air Force Times and articles were in those publications.

We officially went on the air 31 March 1958 with Alr Force Colonel Robert Allen cutting the ribbon (recording tape). Captain Griffin Chiles turning on the main power switch and Commander John D. McKinnon turning on the studio equipment. Many personnel who had participated in this project, both officer and enlisted, were in attendance in the day room across the hall from the studios. listening to the ceremonies, enjoying coffee and cake and talking with officials of the Armed Forces Information Service who were also in attendance.

It wasn't long before the large staff was even able to produce the "KTUS Soundwave," a small newspaper featuring stories about station personnel. new artists, program schedules and special events.

I would like to think our dream of "Keeping in Touch with the United States" continued on beyond my tour and am always interested in hearing from those involved With KTUS or those that came to KARAMURSEL in the years 1957 and beyond. Hope we helped your tour to be better.

Neil Berg

1st Lt. Joseph Price (?)

1st Lt. Joseph Price (?)

Bob Horan (R) and Neil Berg (L) installing cables in walls at KTUS

The walls where wiring was installed

LCDR John MacKinnon & 1st Lt. Joseph D. Price (?)


LCDR McKinnon viewing progress at KTUS

Tex Kline installing cables at KTUS

Jack Groelle - Neil Berg's roommate where the first plans for KTUS were hatched.

David Decker, USN, Det 28 installing cables at KTUS


Neil Berg installing wiring at KTUS Studios

1st Lt. Price and Chuck Moore (first KTUS manager) view progress of construction.

Bob Horan installing cables at KTUS while others "supervise".

Left to Right: Don Brown; ??; Neil Berg; Larry Webb


Officers and wives participating in KTUS opening ceremony

Waiting for opening ceremonies 

Ron Poland, KTUS

Ron Poland, USAF, at the controls.

Ed Grey, USN

Ed Grey, USN, Sports Director and Sports News Editor.

Harrison Hartman

Harrison Hartman, USN,
Sports Announcer.

Phil Brown, USAF

Phil Brown, USAF, introducing Chaplain Kopelke

Tex Kline, USN

Tex Kline, USN, cataloguing records for KTUS.

Jack Gorelle, USN

Jack Gorelle, USN, Chief Technician at the controls.

Don Brown, USAF - see www.ktus.org for more.

Don Brown, USAF, Chief Announcer at KTUS reading the news.

Larry Webb, USAF

Larry Webb, USAF, Program Director
doing his own show, "The Spider's Webb".

Tex Kline, USN

Tex Kline, USN, reading a script.

Capt. Reynolds, USAF

Captain Reynolds, USAF of the
KTUS Board of Directors.

Chuck Moore, USAF

Chuck Moore, USAF, Station Manager of KTUS preparing to introduce the next speaker on opening night.

Phil Brown, Don Brown

Phil Brown, USAF, introducing a speaker at
opening night of KTUS while Don Brown,
USAF, waits in the background.

Col. Robert Allen, USAF

Colonel Robert H. Allen, USAF, (Base Commander and Commander, TUSLOG Det 1) delivering his speech on opening night of radio station KTUS.

Joe Scallon

Joel Scallon, USN
Record Librarian and D.J.

Bob Willett and Fred Karth, both USN

Facing camera Bob Willett, USN, and Fred Karth, USN, enjoying themselves on opening night.

Col. Charles Townsend, USAF

Colonel Charles Townsend, USAF,
(Commander, TUSLOG Det 3)

Capt. Griffin Chiles, USN

Captain Griffin Chiles, USN, (Commander, TUSLOG
Det 28) delivering his speech on opening night of
radio station KTUS

LCDR John McKinnon, USN

Lt Commander John McKinnon, USN, Senior member of the Board of Directors, delivering his speech on opening night

Off and running...first time on the air!

Capt. Griffin Chiles, USN

Capt. Griffin Chiles, USN, Commander Tuslog Det.
28flips the switch activating the new studios.

KTUS Staff Meeting

About half the staff of KTUS engineers discussing
the next improvements to be made at the station.
1. (Backs to camera) Jack Groelle & "Michales"
2. (facing front above them:)MacAlister, USAF
3. (seated with tie) Ron Poland, USAF
4. Left to right from Poland: Neil Berg, DET 28; Bob Horan, DET 28,
Richard Wilt, DET 28.

Jack Gorelle, CT2, USN

Jack H. Groelle, CT2, Chief technician for KTUS

Bulletin Board

Teletype news machine in KTUS control room. Bulletin Board carried the latest news!

Ed Grey and Phil Brown writing up the day's news - first day of KTUS operation.

Ed Grey and Phil Brown writing up the news the first day of operation of KTUS.

Colonel Robert H. Allen; Capt. Townsend

The ribbon cutting (fittingly: magnetic recording tape!) Colonel Robert H. Allen doing the honors with Capt. Townsend looking on; officially opening KTUS.

Colonel Townsend; Bob Horan

Colonel Charles Townsend turning on the KTUS transmitter opening night. Bob Horan looking on.

Lt. Cdr. John D. McKinnon doing his part of the opening celebration. Bob Horan and Neil Berg looking on.

Off and running...first time on the air! LCDR John D. McKinnon doing his part of the opening celebration with Bob Horan and Neil Berg looking on.

Chaplain William F. Kopelkie

Chaplain William F. Kopelkie giving invocation on the air, opening night of KTUS.

Mrs. Townsend, Mrs. Chiles, Colonel Townsend, Airmed Forces Info Rep, Capt. Chiles.

Mrs. Townsend, Mrs. Chiles (note hats!), Col. Townsend, Armed Forces Information Officer, Captain Chiles and Commander Cook listening to opening night proceedings.

Tex Kline - all around radio dude.

Tex Kline was assistant record librarian, news announcer, and weather man for KTUS.

Bob Zulkie engineering a show for KTUS

Bob Zulkie engineering a show for KTUS

Through the studio window

Col. Allen, Capt. Chiles, Col. Townsend, Neil Berg (at microphone), and - barely visible to right, Bob Zulkie and MacAlister just after going "on the air" opening night KTUS

4 Engineers, Capt. Chiles & Lt. Col. McKinnon (Mrs. Townsend in back)

Four of the KTUS engineers along with Capt. Chiles and Lt. Col. McKinnon (Mrs. Townsend in background).

Coffee and Refreshments at opening ceremony

L-R: Capt. Chiles, Mrs. Chiles, Mrs. Townsend, LtCdr McKinnon (Det 28 facilities officer and Sr. member of KTUS Board of Directors).

Mrs. Chiles, Sgt. Smedder

Mrs. Chiles and Sgt. Smedder, Armed Forces Radio Service representative.

Opening night party - opening of KTUS

L-R: Fred Karth, CT1; Robert Willet, CT1; Mrs. Chiles; Colonel Allen at KTUS opening.

Opening Night Ceremony

We don't remember who this is. He was part of the opening ceremony know. Anyone know who this is?

Opening Ceremony participants

Foreground L-R: Commander Cook, USN, Det 28 Executive Officer; Capt. Griffin Chiles, USN, Det 28 Commanding Officer; Unknown; Colonel Townsend, Det 3 Commander, USAF; Mrs. Chiles March 31, 1958

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