When the eager student with zero experience walked into an American military radio station in Taiwan, unbeknownst to him, he was taking his first step in becoming a worldwide syndicated DJ.
Tony Scott was attending Taipei American High School when he strolled into the Armed Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT) radio station in 1975. He somehow talked his way into a volunteer position. Soon he was keying his mic as the host of “Tigerbeat,” an island-wide Saturday morning show. It was the first note in the long symphony of Tony Scott’s radio life.
“AFNT made my career, plain and simple,” said Scott. “It was the best training I could possibly have.”
Scott observed, learned and applied all he saw, getting “an amazing amount of freedom” to select music and host his show. He monitored the off air signal. The teenager was doing the work of three.
“I left AFNT in January of '78 and within just a few months landed a weekend slot at WEEL in Fairfax, Virginia. By October of '78 I was on the air at WPGC in Washington D.C. It was the number one station in the market, a huge gig for a 19-year-old. That simply would not have happened without my experience at AFNT,” said Scott.
Next, as disc jockeys often do, Scott worked his way across the United States, reaching increasingly bigger audiences in Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles. Listeners tuned him in on some of the most popular radio stations in the U.S. such as KIIS-FM, K-Earth 101, KLOS and then a syndicated radio service heard throughout the United States: Westwood One.
The American Forces Network (AFN), previously known as the “Armed Forces Network” at different times in its history, began carrying Westwood One’s Classic Rock Network in the 90s. It was then when Scott’s smooth baritone voice returned to military airwaves.
Today, Scott is the voice of AFN Legacy, the 24/7 classic rock music service on AFN 360 Internet Radio. He’s the one saying, “AFN Legacy, the World’s Classic Rock Station,” and “Are you ready to rock? Is that a serious question?” His signature production, “The Rock Radar,” airs throughout the week, keeping listeners up on the latest rock news.
Scott excels in giving the DoD overseas audience the sounds of stateside radio, because, well, he is a stateside radio host. He currently hosts the afternoon show for a Charlotte, North Carolina, radio station and does other professional voice work from his home studio in California.
“We have a sophisticated audience accustomed to hearing the very best in the business when they're in the United States,” said the AFN Broadcast Center’s George Maurer. “Tony ensures our audience enjoys the same quality of programming when serving overseas.”
Scott’s DJ career went full circle with Taiwan this year. While AFN no longer broadcasts on the island, another English language station now does: International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT). ICRT crackled onto the airwaves when AFNT’s “on air” lights went dark for the last time in 1979.
Scott took to the ICRT airwaves earlier this year when he was in country for the first time in 40 years for the Taipei American High School reunion. While on the island, he swung by the radio station and joined ICRT’s Terry Engel to co-host a two-hour radio show. Then, earlier this month, Scott had a follow-on telephonic interview with the radio station about his experiences with AFNT.
From the 1950s through 1979, many Taiwanese tuned in AFNT to learn English and listen in to American pop, rock and country music. Scott was one of the DJs whose show was valued not only by “official” listeners, but as well as the “unofficial” ones.
“A rock fan is a rock fan,” said Scott. “I honestly don’t think there is much of a difference broadcasting to an American military audience. I’m honored to be with them wherever they are serving their country. “
Tony Scott should know. When it comes to the overseas military audience, you could call him the full-circle DJ.
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