Introducing Japan’s Most Popular Radio Program:
All Night Nippon
John H. Bryant with Taka Okuda and Hiroo Nakagawa
The program that is almost certainly Japan’s most popular radio program, All Night Nippon (ANN), is a long-running and almost inescapable phenomenon in Japan but is virtually unknown outside the country. Although commercial AM radio in many developed countries is the scene of far less diversity today than ever before, few other syndicated or networked programs so dominate a national dial. Indeed, of the 47 commercial broadcasting networks in Japan, 40 of them – 85% - simulcast a portion or all of All Night Nippon! North of Tokyo, all commercial radio stations carry at least portions of All Night Nippon as do all south and west of Osaka except for a single station in far-off Naha, Okinawa. Indeed, it is far easier to remember which Japanese stations do NOT carry ANN than to recall which do. Refer to the Appendix at the conclusion of this article for a complete listing of Japanese commercial broadcasters that do NOT carry All Night Nippon programming.
All Night Nippon (ANN) is a late-night programming service produced and distributed for simultaneous broadcast by Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc., in Tokyo. They make use of the studios of their own “key” or “flagship” station, JOLF, 1242 kHz. Tokyo, for these productions and JOLF leads the simulcast network. ANN became the first radio “talk show” in Japan, when JOLF broadcast the first show on the evening of October 1st, 1967. Many competitor talk-radio format programs have come and gone over last 38 years, but ANN remains the dominant (and now almost only) talk format program on late night AM radio in Japan.
The programming loosely referred to as All Night Nippon is actually composed of a constellation of five simulcast programs all produced by JOLF and Nippon Broadcasting System. The original and still most popular of the five programs is known officially as “All Night Nippon.” It is broadcast from 1:00 AM until 3:00 AM local Japanese time Monday night through Friday night. (The Japanese way of expressing this program schedule that actually starts early Tuesday morning is 25:00 to 27:00 Mon~Fri.)
ANN is a very poplar talk and music program devoted to teenage and young adult listeners. It offers popular music from progressive rock to ballads and unclassifiable things, all aimed at the teenagers and presented with entertaining and stimulating discussions of current “hot topics in Japan.” ANN is hosted by and includes a wide range of guests from the ranks of professors, journalists, comedians, musician/singers and writers. The ANN talk show hosts pride themselves on taking an active role in helping to solve the issues the that teenagers and young adults face. A series of “Telephone Consultations,” for instance, has earned a national reputation for assistance to Japanese teenagers as they confront problems with suicide, drug abuse, domestic violence, etc.
A second, quite similar talk-format program, "All Night Nippon: Evergreen," was added recently. It focuses on middle-aged Japanese who now face an entirely different group of social issues. One presumes that when those early teenage ANN listeners from the late 1960s reach 60 years of age themselves, ANN may well found “ANN: Golden” for the elderly. All Night Nippon: Evergreen is Broadcast from 3:00 to 5:00 AM, Monday through Thursday nights (27:00 to 29:00 JLT, Mon~Thur.)
The 27:00 to 29:00 time slot on Friday and Saturday is occupied by “All Night Nippon – R.” The “R” in the title connotes “Records” which adequately describes the program content: popular music.
Two other JOLF/Nippon Broadcast produced simulcast programs are interwoven with the three main-line ANN broadcasts. The first, “^ ” is simulcast from 22:00 to 24:00 JLT, Mon~Fri and is a music and (some) talk program hosted by the wildly popular Punk Rocker and radio personality known as “Demon Kogure.” The program title: “Radi Vegas” translates roughly to Radio Las Vegas; again the program title accurately characterizes the teen-oriented content.
The final element of the All Night Nippon constellation of programs is the “^ ” hosted by the hugely popular “heart throb” movie actor and singer/song writer, Fukuyama Masaharu. This program is only simulcast Saturday nights from approximately 23:30 to 25:00 JLT.
Where Demon Kogure is a very heavy metal, “edgy” rocker with heavy make-up and spiked hair rising almost a third of a meter from his scalp, Fukuyama Masaharu is much more of a crooner/romantic ballad singer in the mold of a well-dressed Elvis Presley who he resembles.
Other items of interest to overseas listeners to All Night Nippon’s constellation of simulcast programs include:
The authors hope that this short article will be of assistance to the many MW DXers throughout the world who are occasionally able to receive MW transmissions from Japan.
Japanese Commercial MW Stations that Do Not Carry Any All Night Nippon Programming
Tokyo Area: JOKR Tokyo Broadcasting System 954 kHz.
JOQR Nippon Cultural Broadcasting 1134 kHz.
JORF RF Radio Nippon Co. (Yokahama) 1422 kHz.
Gifu JOZF Gifu Broadcasting System 1431 kHz.
Osaka Area JONR Asahi Broadcasting Corporation 1008 khz.
JOOR Mainichi Broadcasting System 1179 kHz.
Okinawa JORR Ryukyu Broadcasting Corporation 738 kHz.