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Recorded Sound Section--Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division



Women on the Radio
Beyond the Microphone
Daytime Programming
World War II
NBC Radio Collection
Programs for and by Women
Meet the Press Collection
NPR Collection
WOR Collection
Pacifica Radio Archive
CBS Collection
AFRTS Collection
arrow graphicWomen on AFRS
OWI Collection
VOA Collection
BBC Sound Archive Collection
Music Recordings
Drama and Literature Recordings
The Spoken Word




Women on Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS)

The biggest names in Hollywood and Broadway recorded for AFRS during the war years, including female stars such as Lena Horne (b. 1917), Doris Day (b. 1924), Rita Hayworth (1918-1987), Betty Grable (1916-1973), Linda Darnell (1921-1965), Jo Stafford (b. 1918), Billie Holiday (1915-1959), and Peggy Lee (1920-2002). In the early 1940s, when radio station WCVX sent a questionnaire to civilians and troops asking for, among other things, their five favorite female singers, the following came out on top in the overwhelming response from the troops: Dinah Shore (1917-1994), Kate Smith (1907-1986), Ginny Simms (1915-1994), Frances Langford (1913-1997), and Helen O'Connell (1920-1993), all of whom are heard on AFRTS broadcasts.

The program Jubilee (1943-53), featuring African-American performers, broke the color barrier and created an opportunity for African Americans to appear on the popular AFRS variety show Command Performance (1942-ca. 1951). G.I. Journal (1943-45) and Mail Call (1942-49), popular musical variety programs, showcased many well-known female performers. In addition to entertainment, G.I. Journal broadcast information on the activities of service personnel throughout the world.

Women Disc Jockeys

Two extremely popular women disc jockeys were heard over the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) airwaves during two different wars. During World War II, G.I. Jive featured “G.I. Jill,” the armed services answer to Tokyo Rose—whose broadcasts in the Pacific for the Japanese military were designed to demoralize American troops. Jill was portrayed by Martha Wilkerson (1918-1999), a young mother who had worked with the Office of War Information. Her combination of music and friendly conversation reminded the troops of their girls back home, and she became a particular favorite of Allied troops around the world. Aspiring movie actress Chris Noel (b. 1941) (see Recorded Sound External Sites) hosted the AFRTS radio program A Date with Chris, which ran throughout most of the conflict in Vietnam. Her appealing style and attractiveness made her an instant hit with American troops. She began touring South Vietnam as an AFRTS goodwill ambassador and was so effective in boosting morale that the North Vietnamese offered a $10,000 reward for her assassination.10

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