During his 42-year radio career, Rusty either programmed, advised, created, consulted, oversaw, served as a strategic partner, or performed as an on-air personality for hundreds of radio stations and was one of the top radio programming consultants in the music industry.
His career started in 1970 in Corinth, Mississippi when he landed an after-school job as a radio deejay. In those days, before he took on the ‘Rusty Walker’ moniker, he was Sam ‘Goodtimes’ Darwin at early stops that included WOWL and WQLT in Florence, Alabama.
Rusty’s first big break came in 1976 when he accepted a call to do mornings at Tampa Bay’s WQYK. A couple years later, when the Tampa station acquired new owners, he moved to Jacksonville as PD for sister station WQIK.
In 1983, he founded Rusty Walker Programming Consultants and, for his efforts, was honored as one of three of country radio’s Greatest Programmers of the Twentieth Century. Billboard Magazine named him Country Music Consultant of the Year seven years in a row. Additionally, he served as a Director-At-Large for the Country Music Association and was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in February 2012.
On May 21, 2012, James Samuel Darwin, Jr., better known as Rusty Walker, passed away at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo due to complications from a heart attack. He was 59.
1976 - 1977 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)