There was a little bit of Adrian Kronauer in the Navy chief petty officer who started the first live armed forces broadcasts in Saudi Arabia Tuesday.
"It's 9:05 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9. Goooood maaaaawrning, Saudi Arabia," bellowed disc jockey Rich Yanku, echoing the famous character played by comedian Robin Williams in the movie about Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam."We really didn't want to do a Goooood maaaawrning, Saudi Arabia, but it probably would be anti-climactic if we didn't," said Navy Lt. Arnie Pon, a Bronx native who heads the unit making the live broadcasts from an air base in Saudi Arabia.
The first song on Desert Shield Network FM 107 brought the troops a little closer to home - The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" about a fight over "boogie sound" in a traditional Middle Eastern city.
Lt. Col. David MacNamee, commanding officer of Armed Forces Radio and Television in Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom's government put some restrictions on broadcast content. Television broadcasts are under negotiation.
He would not detail the restrictions. But he said they were basically common sense guidelines about what might offend listeners in a traditional Moslem society that bars alcohol and the mixing of men and women in public.
Besides Yanku of Albany, N.Y., the disc jockeys include two Air Force staff sergeants - Harry Lockley, 25, of New Castle, Pa., and John Haynes, 27, of Albany, N.Y. The fourth is Army Spec. Brooke Perkins, 35, who was previously based in West Germany.
The general format is mostly rock 'n' roll or country music from their 8,800 compact discs interspersed with news, sports and public service messages. They range from pep talks on Saudi Arabian customs to the dangers of snake bites in the desert.