While Cronauer broadcasted legitimately, a Pirate DJ named Dave Rabbit did not. Up until recently, though, not much was known about Dave Rabbit, his motives, or whatever happened to him.
But, recently, the decades-old mystery was answered when Rabbit himself stepped forward and sent his story to me. Since publication, Rabbit has received quite a bit of attention. I asked Dave if he would answer a few questions via email about what's happened since he "came out".
Corey: After so many years of not revealing your identity, why did you finally decide to "fess up" to being Dave Rabbit, the pirate radio DJ from 'Nam?
Dave: "Well, first off, I didn't know until February 9th, 2006 that there was anything to "fess up" about. Other than what that guy (who had a copy of one of the programs) told in back in 1982 about Radio First Termer being popular in Germany, I didn't have a clue at how WIDESPREAD the program had become.
Once I accidently came across the two soundbites....and found all of the websites, including "About Radio"..... a whole world opened up before me that was like running in a parallel universe. I'm going about my life....but there is this whole another life of me going on without my knowledge.
I decided to "Come Out Of The Rabbit Hole", after weighing the possible consequences based on my notoriety and especially after reading an article somewhere where some person CLAIMED that he was best friends with Dave Rabbit...and that Dave Rabbit was now a minister somewhere and was ashamed of all the things he did and just wanted to forget his past. Excuse me for grabbing a phrase out of my Radio First Termer Past.... but that was B U L L S * * T ! My priest thinks I suck at being a Catholic (and he is right) but I sure as hell NEVER regreted ANYTHING that I DID or SAID during our 21 night run. THAT ONE ARTICLE was the straw, if you will, and the final thing that pissed me off enough to come out and SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT!
Corey: Your show "Radio First Termer" - why did you do it and what do you think it did for listeners?
Dave: Once I got involved with Radio Phan Rang at Phan Rang Air Base, It became like an addiction for me. Even though I was only doing some gimmick stuff that the Major would allow me to do now and then, it was something that was a sheer adrenalin rush. Like Radio First Termer in Saigon, Radio Phan Rang was LIVE. It was also neat to listen to what the Phan Rang troops were saying the following day, etc. Of course, Percy Faith, The 5th Dimension and groups like that, didn't exactly knock the troops socks off. One day I did my first gag schtick "Charlie's Request Line".
I would go into the next office, call my roommate on a private line in the "studio"... where it would be "wired" for sound and talk like a VC (actually I sounded more chinese). I would request songs (which would NEVER be played on Radio Phan Rang... the Major was too conservative) by the Beatles, Kinks, Rolling Stones. etc. Of course my roommate would always tell "charlie" no...then spin Dionne Warwick or something like that.... but it was a funny bit. The next day I heard the troops talking about the gag and how funny it was. They compared it to the famous "Chicken Man" AFVN series which was stupid, but funny as hell... even for AFVN. So, that compliment hit me like a ton of bricks... and I wanted MORE! Unfortunately for me, it was the only thing I was allowed to do... now and then, besides a donut dolly report or two.
A long intro... but my experience at Phan Rang.... it put my blood on boil... and I had to have more. I envisioned a show that was Rock and Roll and Gags for the entire 3 hours. I did it for THE TROOPS. Not the ones on Air Bases, even though their lives were at risk too. I did it for the guys, like a good friend of mine who was in the Army from High School, who was killed in Nam. Before his death, we would write each other frequently. He would send me pictures and descriptions of what he was experiencing. I did it for HIM and for THOSE GUYS who put their lives on the line every second of every day. Who didn't have movie theaters, popcorn, cafeterias, whore houses and everything else that the Air Force guys enjoyed. I did it for the ARMY and the MARINES.
What it did...... hmmmmm. Without sounding a bit conceited, I would hope that during that 21 day run, that it brought a smile, a laugh, a "right on" or whatever else could be muttered as an approval of what I was doing.
That guy in 1982......when he told me what impact the show had on everyone in Germany.... well, let's just say I was rocked and humbled. It was the first bit of evidence that maybe, just maybe I made a difference in someone's life back in 1971.