By Gerry J. Gilmore American Forces Press Service

8/27/2004 - Washington (AFPN) — The Defense Department's American Forces Network television system has scheduled broadcasting of new movie and family channels to overseas military audiences beginning on Sept. 3.

“Made possible by new satellite technology, the new channels enhance choices for these service members and their families,” said Lt. Col. Doug Smith, operations officer at American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

“The Family Channel is something we've wanted to do for a very long time,” Smith said. Programming content will be targeted to children ages 2 to 17.

The Movie Channel will offer the best of Hollywood films, with behind-the-scenes specials detailing how some popular movies were made.

AFRTS has provided news, sports, entertainment and DOD programming to members overseas since the 1950s. The new channels fill a couple of niches previously unavailable.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon Channel added around-the-clock broadcasting of military news programs, Pentagon news conferences and congressional hearings featuring senior DOD leaders.

Larry Sichter, AFN's affiliate relations chief at the Defense Media Center. March AFRB, CA, said AFN provides 10 television services and 12 radio services to 180 ships at sea and to service members and families stationed in 177 countries - a combined audience he estimated at 180,000.