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New Moon rising in retirement

After more than half a century in the radio business, former talk show host Dan Moon is a wide-eyed rookie in the world of law enforcement.

People in the Lowcountry quickly recognize Moon's deep baritone voice even if they don't know his face. But that's changing as the 68-year-old Moon appears with some frequency on local television these days as the public information officer for the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.

Usually, he's standing in front of a crime scene telling reporters what happened. And, he admits, he's like a kid in a candy store.

"I still get to talk on the radio," Moon said during a lunch break this week. "The only difference is, it's the police radio."

Household name

Moon became a household name after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when his talk show on WTMA-AM became a source of vital information in the devastation that followed the storm.

After that, his morning show became a must-listen for politicos and the general public until he left the airwaves in 2007.

"I stayed retired for 18 months," Moon said as he handled a cell phone call from a TV reporter about a theft ring in the tri-county area. "This job just kind of happened because I knew a lot of people.

"To be honest, I've been re-energized. I had a great run in radio but got burned out after 52 years. So to get completely out of it and do something different has been fun. It's exciting. It's right up my alley."

The only problem, Moon said, is he took the job a little too seriously in the beginning.

"They gave me a badge and I believed I was a cop," he said with a laugh. "I was showing up at everything. Eventually, Sheriff Wayne DeWitt said I was using too much gas and I needed to calm down."

Fierce advocate

What Moon lacks in law enforcement experience he makes up for with credibility and availability with the local media.

When police officers fall into cop-speak, Moon's job is to get in front of the cameras and inform the public in plain English. And, reporters know, he's accessible and a straight shooter.

"I know what reporters want and when they need it," he said. "And they know I won't lie to them."

Moon admits, however, there was a learning curve when he moved from one side of the media aisle to the other.

"I've made a few mistakes," he said. "I've said a few things I shouldn't have said and been called down about it. There were a few times when I wanted to quit because it's been a long time since I was fussed at."

And while Moon is officially past retirement age, he's not too old to learn new tricks.

"The more I get to know the officers (152 in Berkeley County), the more they trust me," he said. "So even if I'm not perfect, they know I'm a fierce advocate for them and the Sheriff's Office."

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