Rusty, thanks to an opening at Drake-Chenault in Los Angeles where I learned what Bill Drake, Jim Kefford and Denny Atkins considered the right way to work with radio stations, I had a front row seat to Rusty's start, first as a winning and creative Program Director and then as a consultant. He reinvented the business and took the art of working with country radio to a level no one had ever done before. The proof is in the success and sound of his radio stations, of course, but it's also in the depth of the relationships he forged. His knowledge and spirit were infused in everything he did. I loved him and his family, respected his abilities and as someone who probably competed with him directly in more markets than anyone over a 25 year period, I have to say that there is a big hole in my heart today and in country music radio. He lived his life in so many positive, caring ways that have made him a role model for hundreds and hundreds of people.
That legacy, of course, lives on in all of us. He coped with the loss of two of his children in such a loving, courageous way. He not only taught us how to program, to win in the ratings, to build what became the largest country consulting business in the history of our format, but in the end, he taught us all how to live.
In Heaven today, I am sure that Rusty Walker is regaling the Angels with his endless supply of wonderful tales of radio wars.
Rest in peace, old friend.
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