Hot off the Press!

Recently the PCMC collection assistants have been working to reorganize all of the serial publications in the collection. Shown here are September issues of The Panama Bulldozer (1943), The Panama Canal Review (1954), and The Panama Canal Spillway (1978).

What do you remember about receiving news in the Canal Zone? Which newspapers and magazines had the best or worst reputations? Did your family subscribe to other papers from around the world? Which ones?

KIC Image 0001
KIC Image 0004
KIC Image 0007


  • Mike Senzer

    My family lived in Gamboa from 1954 to 1971 (I left for college in 1969). We subscribed to The Panama American, which was 1 of 2 English language daily newspapers printed in Panama. (The other was The Star and Herald.) As I remember, The Panama American was an evening paper, which was delivered to our house by the traditional paperboy toss.
    The paper covered international and US news (via AP and UPI) as well as local (Panama and Canal Zone) people and events. In addition to the paper we subscribed to Time magazine’s “airmail” edition, printed in the US on extremely thin (light) paper and mailed to the CZ. I don’t remember when, but at some point we started getting the Miami Herald as well.
    The sole broadcaster of news in English was AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service). It was CFN (Caribbean Forces Network), then became SCN (Southern Command Network) as the designation of local US forces shifted. It was AM radio broadcasting at 790 Khz (Pacific side communities) and 1420 Khz (Atlantic side). I’m not sure, but Its hourly news may have been a live feed from US networks. (There were Panamanian radio stations in English, but I don’t recall any that featured news programs.)
    My recollection may be wrong, but I think AFRTS television launched in 1962. I remember an evening news program called Panorama. Of course, both radio and TV on-air “performers” were active-duty military personnel, so the news was controlled. Obviously, controversy and dissenting views were not a feature of either radio or TV news coverage.
    — Mike Senzer

  • Dale Nulik

    This was a great memory, thanks Mike. Do you or others remember how long Samba Pa Ti was the SCN or AFRTS theme song? I left Panama in Aug. 1972, but remember the good times there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *