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Rusty and Rush

e’s got the best market-share numbers of any radio talk show host in Nevada—and that’s after only a year in front of the mike here.

He has been proclaimed—by Talkers Magazine, the 10-year-old self-proclaimed monthly bible of talk radio—as "one of the 100 most important radio talk show hosts in America." And that’s after only a total of two years working as a host.

But perhaps the credentials most likely to get attention from Nevada Journal readers—and lead them to tune in to Reno’s 50,000-watt KKOH on weekday afternoons—is the bona fides suggested by Rusty Humphries’ history of contributions to the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Remember "Bomb Iraq"—sung to the tune of the Beach Boys’ "Barbara Ann"—at the time of the Gulf War?

Remember the Stupid Mike Tyson voice—"Hello, Mister Limbo"—that in Rush’s early days in national syndication would begin the show?

Remember the "Rush Hawkins Singers" who did the theme song for Rush’s TV show?

All of these were produced by Humphries in his prior incarnation—10 years doing jingles and comedy for radio stations. Rusty boasts he’s written more radio morning show jingles than anyone alive. But, he says, after watching the last five guys he worked for become millionaires, he decided that maybe he ought to try getting in front of the microphone.

NEVADA JOURNAL: When you were on the other side of the mike, you were doing jingles and the like? What exactly did you do?

RUSTY: I wrote and sang jingles. And I also produced comedy for stations around the country. I just sold that company in January. I’m a consultant still. What we did is we made funny songs and funny commercials for radio stations, and they’d play ‘em and take credit for them. And I’d put out a CD every week for radio stations.

NEVADA JOURNAL: What was the name of the company?

RUSTY: The TM Century Comedy Network. I was in a joint venture with a larger company—the world’s largest jingle company. I did that, and at the same time I did some stuff with Rush.

NEVADA JOURNAL: When you were with Rush, what exactly was your job?

RUSTY: I was in New York doing the morning show, at WPLJ Radio. And he was on the AM; he was at WABC. And we just kind of struck up a friendship, and would talk, and I had heard his show a few times before. It had not taken off yet. This was in 1990. He’d just gotten to New York and was doing okay but wasn’t doing great. And one day we were talking and I said, ‘You know, you need to like loosen up a little bit and do some parody songs or something.’

‘Young man, what would I do with a goofy little song?!’

NEVADA JOURNAL: He wasn’t doing parody songs then?

RUSTY: No. ‘You say it’s the Rush Limbaugh Singers. Listen: I’ve got one that’s called ‘Bomb Iraq.’ I just did it; it’s about bombing Saddam Hussein. Play it, say it’s the Rush Limbaugh Singers; see what happens.’

So he plays it, gets an overwhelming response. Everybody wants to hear more stuff.

‘What else can you do?’

‘I do a stupid Mike Tyson voice.’

‘Uh… Lemme hear it!’

[At that Humphries launches into the cadences by now familiar to all long-time Limbaugh listeners.]

‘So, call me up as Mike Tyson!’

‘Okay…’

So we started doing that, and I was doing the intro to his show. I used to introduce him, and Mike Tyson would call up. And then I did a bunch of other bits. He called us the Rush Hawkins Singers, where I wrote a big jingle with a black gospel group and recorded that and that one turned out real nice. He actually ended up using that as his TV show theme song, as well.

NEVADA JOURNAL: How does that song go?

RUSTY: ‘Talent on loan from God… Let’s give it up for Rush… Thank the Lord… Thank the Lord… Rush Limbaugh’s on.. Rush Limbaugh’s on.. Thank the Lord…’

And then it just kind of came to a time where I either wanted to do it and get paid a good amount of money, or do my own thing—go back to what I was doing…. And I went off to do my own thing.

There was no hard feelings, and three years later I did a movie called, ‘Radio in America —The Jockumentary.’ [It was] a documentary of the behind-the-scenes of radio. And he was kind enough, [to be] in it—and did a great job too.

And if he called me today and asked me to do something for him, I would, without hesitation.

–Interview by NJ staff


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