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Reba McEntire shares holiday spirit on Air Force radio special

Reba McEntyre Red White and Air Force Blue Christmas

Country music icon Reba McEntire and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Cowley prepare to record this year’s “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” radio special at Spotland Productions in Nashville. The program, now in its 16th year, will be made available to radio stations in the United States and the Armed Forces Network for airing during the upcoming holiday season. Air Force Recruiting Service produces the annual program.

Reba McEntyre Red White and Air Force Blue Christmas

This year’s “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” features country music icon Reba McEntire. The radio special, now in its 16th year, will air during the upcoming holiday season on stations throughout the United States and the American Forces Network. Air Force Recruiting Service produces the show

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --

Country music icon Reba McEntire shares the holiday spirit on this year’s “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” radio special. The show features tracks from her new album “My Kind of Christmas,” which includes collaborations with Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Darius Rucker, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Lauren Daigle. Reba also shares a song she wrote with her mom from her first-ever gospel album “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope” that was released earlier this year.

Show host Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Cowley said he felt right at home interviewing the country entertainer. “It really did feel like we’d been friends forever. Reba is just a genuinely nice and humble person. She’s easy to talk to,” he said.

Produced by Air Force Recruiting Service and recorded at Spotland Productions in Nashville, a “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” will be made available to more than 2,500 radio stations and American Forces Network during the upcoming holiday season. And for the first time in its history, the show will be available in both 60- and 30-minute formats.

What should listeners expect from this year’s show? “They will laugh,” Cowley said. “Reba has funny stories to share. I also asked her some really ‘controversial’ questions that I know listeners are eager to hear the answers to. Here’s a hint — we find out whether or not she thinks a hotdog is a sandwich.”

Now in its 16th year, a “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” is part of the Air Force’s public service announcement program designed to generate public awareness and create a positive image of the Air Force. It’s also a way for Air Force Recruiting Service to say “thank you” and to give back to radio stations for their support.

Reba recalled some advice legendary entertainer Bob Hope once gave her. “When you quit giving back, you need to quit,” she said. “That’s the best part of this business. You entertain but you’re giving.”

Along with the holiday show, Reba recorded four 30-second PSAs on staying in school, never giving up on your dreams, living a drug-free life and thanking U.S. service members for their sacrifice. “Stations can chose to run the show, which includes the PSAs, or just run the PSAs on their own,” Cowley said. “When we distribute the show, they’ll have all of those options to download.”

Recruiters are encouraged to call or visit their local radio stations and ask them to play a “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas.” “It serves two purposes. It gets the recruiters in front of the station folks who can help with airing their local PSAs and it promotes the holiday program at the same time, said Jim Askins, AFRS national advertising branch chief. “Stations can be true partners in helping recruiters create positive Air Force awareness within their communities.

“We also feel the audience will love hearing Reba’s interview and listening to her music as much as we did having her as our guest. The show has built-in breaks that allow stations to sell advertising so there is no loss of revenue for them. It’s a win-win situation.”

In return, Reba thanked service members and their families for the sacrifices they’ve made. “I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “And for everybody who doesn’t get to be with their family this year I’ll be praying for you. I hope that the communication lines are open and that you at least talk to your family.”