Thursday, September 21, 2023

Do the Hustle

Radio Station Uses Comedy to Lure Hip Hop Heads


Back in June Vanguard Media flipped KRKE-FM, a radio station that's been around since 1994, to a new format. The station has gone from playing "classic hits" as Sunny 101.3 to spinning "pure hip hop" as 101.3 The Hustle. It's not just the music that's changed. To match the rebrand, station managers have hired a new generation of entertainers to fill the day as DJs. The "Midday Mayhem" show, for example, is hosted by local comedians/performers Buck D (Robert Gipson), Sunny D (Dawn Schary) and Rusty Rutherford.

We spoke to Rutherford, a longtime local comedian who's done everything from improv shows to comedy bingo to professional wrestling, about the new gig.

The Paper.: Tell us about the new format at The Hustle. Old School? New School? What's the dealio?

Rutherford: The Hustle plays hip hop from the '90s to now. Me and the rest of the Midday Mayhem crew are always pushing for more old school joints, but we gotta have some new stuff too to keep the youngsters interested.  

What does the Midday Mayhem show look and sound like on a regular basis? Why should people tune in?

Midday Mayhem is hosted by three comedians who also happen to be big hip hop heads: Buck D, Sunny D and myself. We kick off every show with our "Lady Lunchable" segment, where we highlight a female emcee. The three of us have wild and funny stories we get into on air, and since we’re not a corporate station we’re able to get away with talking about a lot more than some of the other stations can, from scandalous sex stories to race issues and everything in between. We also have segments like “Aks a Black Guy, Ask a White Girl,” "Hip Hop Jeopardy" and "Hip Hop Hilarity," where we find funny rap lyrics and put them under the magnifying glass.    

A lot of your stage comedy has revolved around the character of white boy/Northeast Heights rapper Rusta Rhymes. Is this new gig kind of a dream come true? You gonna spit some words on air?

My alter-ego Rusta Rhymes definitely makes appearances on the show. Buck D gives the white-skinned North East Heightz rapper a lot of grief, so me and Sunny D like to bust out Rusta Rhymes freestyles anytime Buck isn’t in the studio with us. It’s a fun contrast going back and forth between wannabe gangsta Rusta Rhymes and normal dude who apparently has a funny voice Rusty Rutherford.  

You've been a comedian, an actor, a wrestler, now a DJ: What's next, man?

I love performing and I plan to continue with it with any opportunities I have, but over the pandemic I’ve got to spend a lot more time behind the camera working on photography and videography. I’m wrapping up a three-month intensive Digital Media Bootcamp through CNM’s Deep Dive program, so be on the lookout for more photography and media production coming from me.

Midday Mayhem airs weekdays on 101.3 The Hustle from noon to 3pm. Follow Rusty Rutherford at


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