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American Forces Network goes dark during government shutdown

afn1The American Forces Network, which broadcasts nine television and a handful of radio channels to American service members and their families serving overseas, has ceased broadcasting as a result of the U.S. government shutdown.

The government shutdown prompted AFN to temporarily stop broadcasting all but one of its channels. A furlough of AFN’s staff, mostly Department of Defense employees, resulted in the channels going dark.

AFN, a service of the Armed Forces Radio and Televison Service, broadcasts television shows, movies, news and sports programming to thousands of troops and their families overseas. The television network broadcasts nine channels to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan along with military personnel and their families stationed in Korea, Japan and throughout Europe.

Programming on the stations are provided by English-language television networks, mostly US-based. AFN’s main channel is distributed over-the-air in areas where a large concentration of U.S. troops can be found, and is available elsewhere outside of North America on cable and satellite.

The temporary suspension of AFN’s services means troops and their families stationed overseas won’t be able to watch live sporting events or television programs like “The Daily Show” and “Homeland.”

AFN said on its website that its news channel would continue to broadcast during the government shutdown, and some sports . The Pentagon Channel, which is the only AFN channel to be offered in the United States, will continue to operate as normal.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).