Cronauer in 2006
8 September 1938 |
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Adrian Cronauer (born September 8, 1938) is a former United States Air Force sergeant and radio personality whose experiences as an innovative disc jockey in Vietnam inspired the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam (starring Robin Williams as Cronauer).
Background in radio
Cronauer was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began his broadcasting career at the age of 12 as a guest for a Pittsburgh-area children's amateur hour. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he helped found the forerunner of the university's college radio station WPTS.
In the late 1970s, Cronauer had an idea for a television sitcom that would be a blend of M*A*S*H* and WKRP in Cincinnati, two popular TV series of that era. It was not until some years later that he was able to elicit interest in the proposal which became the film Good Morning, Vietnam. The movie was based on his experiences as a Saigon-based deejay during the Vietnam War, where he served from 1965 to 1966. His program was known as the "Dawn Buster." According to Cronauer, other than the film's portrayal of him being a radio host, very little of the film reflects his experiences, except the bombing of a restaurant which Cronauer witnessed from nearby. A subsequent special program on National Public Radio about the role of the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN-military radio and television) earned Cronauer a 1992 Ohio State Award and two 1991 Gold Medals from the New York Radio Festival. Prior to getting stationed in Vietnam he was stationed on Iraklion Air Station Crete, Greece.
Cronauer attended the University of Pittsburgh where he led a group that founded the school's first student radio station, now WPTS-FM.  His subsequent media work included being the classical morning host in Roanoke, Virginia at WVWR, now Virginia Tech's WVTF, during which time he created the proposal that would culminate in Good Morning, Vietnam.
He earned a master's degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in New York City and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Cronauer's law practice concentrated in information and communications law. Cronauer consented to disbarment in the District of Columbia in October, 2014 for reportedly misleading consumers through misrepresentations and deceptive and fraudulent loan modification and foreclosure prevention practices. Later he worked as a special assistant to the Director of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.
Cronauer is a member of Mensa and a "lifelong card-carrying Republican", having taken an "active role" in both Bob Dole's 1996 unsuccessful presidential campaign and George W. Bush's 2004 successful presidential re-election campaign.
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