For those Americans who are deployed or working out of foreign duty stations, the Armed Forces Network television can get pretty … let’s be nice and say, “dry.”
“I’m coming from AFN in Japan and once I left I realised how ineffective that message was,” says Sgt. Andrew Milner, a public affairs Marine. “I only watched (the show) because I worked on it and I had to watch it. Everyone I knew didn’t watch.”
As media changes though, the Marine Corps has been forced to change or lose their audience. Everyone who’s seen it remembers how the overbearing and uber-boring officer in “Good Morning Vietnam” almost lost an audience captivated by the humour and character of Air Force Airman and radio broadcaster Adrian Cronauer (played by Robin Williams).
Not quite trying to emulate Cronauer, Sgt. Todd Hunter still demonstrates more animation than is commonly preferred in the Marines.
“Our biggest warning was about bearing, because we’re Marines, but I think we toe the line pretty well,” said Hunter.
Watch the first episode of “The Whiskey Locker:”
“It’s a Daily Show meets Tosh.0 meets military public affairs,” says Hunter. “Look at the way our target audience is 18 to 24 year olds, junior enlisted and the millennial generation.”
Hunter said they were losing their audience, and so, failing in their mission to “inform and educate.”
Though they don’t plan on scrapping the original format of disseminating news and information, they hope the show will capture a new, younger, broader ear — taking cues from the success of the popularity of the Marine-inspired The Duffel Blog and Terminal Lance.
Those platforms go farther than anything Corps-sanctioned can — in fact, Hunter says the just the name caught the eye of more than one senior Marine, due in no small part to a growing alcohol problem in Marine ranks.
Nonetheless, the gents expect to stay in business, and say they’ll avoid mistakes of previous iterations, like the Air Force show “Crewed,” which was delayed for review after only one episode.
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