America’s Anchorman for 32 Years … .and My Good Friend for 40 Years

Rush Anchorman
BobLee
March03/ 2021

BobLee logo

Feb 17, 2021

 

America’s Anchorman for 32 Years … … My Good Friend for 40 Years

In 1981, we would meet at an IHOP midway between my apartment and his house in Kansas City.  Over a bottomless coffee pot Rush and I would wonder Why the World did not recognize our quite obvious collective geniuses.

We first met in 1980 when Rush was with the KC Royals. He made a sales call on me at The Crown Center Hotel.  We just hit it off … and became as good a friends as a coupla guys in their early 30s could be.

I was single and Rush soon would be.  With due respect to Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd, we were NOT exactly two wild and crazy guys.

Unless you count sitting in his basement “man cave” watching Professional Wrestling and doing our impressions of Dusty Rhodes, Dory Funk, Ric Flair, et al.  I can say it now … MY impression of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was much better than Rush’s.

NOTE:  A lot of Rush’s “bombast schtick” on EIB came from those pro wrestling shows.

In late 1983 – Rush decided to leave the Royals and his $15,000/year “dream job”… I had to convince his dad “Big Rush” that it was the right thing for him to do.  Now you’re thinking BobLee was responsible for Rush Limbaugh giving “radio” one more shot.   Not exactly

I thought he oughta take a Marketing Director gig with a local potato chip company.  He opted for one last go at radio…

with a small AM station in Mission KS. … That led him to Sacramento … which led to Ed McLaughlin “discovering” him and to WABC in NYC … and THEN … Well, you know about The THEN

He called me in 1988 when he was considering the offer to go to New York.  He was MR RADIO in Sacramento and, of course, in nearby Rio Linda … making a whopping $50K.   He “owned the town”.

Having learned my lesson earlier with the potato chip thing, my advice was

“Ya Gotta Go … There will always be Sacramentos but there’s only one New York.  Kick butt and take names, Big Guy! You Can Do it!” 

I was getting better at the career advice game.

Whoa.  Lets back up a few months in ’83 … Rush married Wife #2 in the VIP Room at Royals Stadium.  There he introduced his buddy BobLee to his “growing up in Cape Girardeau” friend … a dead ringer Cybil Shepherd lookalike …

A year later – 1984Rush Limbaugh was Best Man at the Wedding of BobLee & Blondie.   

37 years and counting. Yeah, I guess you could say Rush and I were pretty good friends.

Way too many stories over the past 40 years to recount.   Blondie and I were living outside Boston in 1988 when RL arrived in NYC.  He invited me down to see the set-up.  For the Big Timers at WABC “some guy named Limbo” was no big deal.

A temp in the WABC mailroom was assigned to assist “the new guy” IF he developed any fans.  That “temp” was HR “Kit” Carson … Rush’s right-hand man for 25+ years until his passing away 6-7 years ago.

Rush had always had “a Snerdley” taking callers.  His Sacramento “Snerdley” had a New York cuzzin “Bo” … his driver’s license says James Golden.

“Bo Snerdley” along with Johnny Donovan, Cookie Gleason, Paul Shanklin … and a mysterious “North Carolina Mistress” would be the core EIB Team for 32 incredible years. Rush on Time

It was 1993 -94.  EIB had over 600 affiliates and an unbelievable daily audience of over 20,000,000.  RL was on the cover of Time and every TV talk show wanted him as a guest.  The News Media fops and fools hated him for his success.

His contracts were always tied to the insane $$$ revenues he generated for his sponsors with those “obscene profit breaks”.  Ergo he was making Rock Star money which really pissed off those fops and fools.

When Rush’s brother David called us this morning a little after 10 AM to tell us that Rush had passed away… and Kathryn would be announcing it on-air at noon … I recalled my comment to Rush almost 30 years ago.

“Rush, you do know … when you hang up The Golden Microphone in 30+ years after sustained success never matched in media history … those jealous assholes are gonna say “we told you he would never last”.”

I told that story at the EIB 20th Anniversary Party at The Breakers in Palm Beach.  Megyn Kelly and Martha MacCallum agreed with me.

BobLee, what about “that mysterious North Carolina mistress” ???   I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before Rush left NYC for The EIB Southern Command Center in Sunny South Florida … he was becoming quite a celebrity around The Big Apple.   He calls me…

You’ll never guess what happened.  I was having dinner at Patsy’s … the waiter comes over that a fan wanted my autograph.  I was glad to oblige and asked him to point out the fan.  It was JOEY HEATHERTON!  OMG.”

Literally two weeks later, another call … “So I went to Radio City Music Hall for Ann-Margret’s Show.  An usher comes up to me at the end of the show … Ann-Margret would like to invite you backstage.  She’s a huge fan… ANN-MARGRET!”

For a Baby Boomer guy it doesn’t get any more OMG than Joey Heatherton and Ann-Margaret!  I tell Rush … Bud, I’ve never envied your big $$$ and your  celebrity … but I am having trouble with Joey Heatherton and Ann-Margret WANTING TO MEET YOU!  He said:  “Yeah, me too.  Can you believe it?

.

OK … “The North Carolina Mistress”.  Raise your hand if you’ve heard the term “Drive-By Media”.   Every hand is up.  Who came up with the term AND Where did it came from.  The “Where” is about 12-15′ from where I’m sitting.   The “Who” is that Cybil Shepherd lookalike – Blondie! BLONDIE

For going on 20 years, Blondie has been responsible for Rush’s Stack of Stuff.   Rush has always been The Incredible Genius that makes Noon-3 / Mon-Fri for 32 years The Most Listened-To Radio Show in History … but even Genius’ need back-up.  Gladys Knight had her Pips … Rush had Blondie.

I have contributed a few zingers over the years, but it was Blondie that did it day after day after day … year after year.

When RL arrived at EIB HQ each morning promptly at 9:00 he knew there would be “a Stack of Stuff” waiting for him.   And there always was … from a humble cottage on a quiet cul-de-sac in NorthWest Raleigh ...

Rush would peruse Blondie’s stack … apply his magic touch … “Bo” would cue up the most familiar bumper music in radio history … and SHOWTIME!

If there was a POTUS press conference or other BREAKING NEWS during the show … Blondie would be feeding Rush the key points.  The trust they developed was so solid he would often simply read her comments off his monitor.

When Al Franken and AirAmerica flamed out years ago … Franken’s excuse was “we can’t afford the 100+ staff that Limbaugh has to put together his material.”  …

I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked that staff of 100+ “what’s for dinner?” … or “is this a one can or two can garbage pick-up week?”

Big Time Radio isn’t quite as glamorous as you might think … BUT

It NEVER got old when El Rushbo used a line verbatim from that humble cottage on that quiet cul-de-sac ….  This past year has been TOUGH!

As Rush’s Incredible Fans know … there have been Many Ups and also a few pretty Rough Downs over 32 years.

To Quote Lonesome Dove’s Gus McRae … “It’s been a Helluva Party”.

Blondie and I have been there through them all …

’cause Thats What Friends Are For.

.

America’s AnchorMan for 32 years

… My dear friend for 40 years.

.

More BobLeeSay – Click Here!

.

4.8 20 votes
Article Rating
BobLee
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

103 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bat Falcon
Bat Falcon
25 days ago

Thank you for sharing your memories of Rush. I just found “The Rush Chronicles” and am looking forward to reading every one of your posts 🙂

Doug
Doug
3 months ago

I’m wondering what the odds are for any of us are for randomly meeting “some guy or gal” making $15K a year and a short while later that person becomes a National phenomenon. There are plenty of 25 minutes of fame people but one’s with a long shelf life? Incalculable IMO. Then what are the even longer odds of actually being a participant in that ride? You don’t need me to tell you how fortunate you and Blondie were and that Rush was just as fortunate to have found and known you two.

Doug
Doug
3 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

And did it with just half of your brains tied behind your backs. Plenty of time left over for gardening and fish in’. 😎

Tony Dow
Tony Dow
3 months ago

Bob Lee, I knew from your writing you were friends but had no idea of how much of one. I was working in Fayetteville and would listen to The Michael Jackson show, I think carried from KABC in LA. On WFNC in Fayetteville. One day Rush comes on, no Michael Jackson, and it was..different. This loud, bombastic voice. Very. He talked about God, pride in the USA, things Reagan did right, etc. I thought at first he was a radio preacher. NO one said those things then, No one. A week or two after hearing him, and being confused, I… Read more »

Paul Eilers
3 months ago
Reply to  BobLee
Sue.I.F
3 months ago

I have found your friendship with Rush to be informative and heartwarming. I had no idea you and your wife were a part of his story. I think a book about it would be a big hit. It would be a personal,up-close recollection sprinkled with love and humor. I’d buy it..autographed,of course.

IkeWhitt
IkeWhitt
3 months ago

I have been delivering “the paper” in northwest Raleigh for the past 37 years and to think that there’s the slightest, minuscule chance I have been driving by the house each day that has such a close connection to the great Rush Limbaugh give me a feeling of pride and a greater sense of self worth. The man was/is a true legend. . One morning in those early years while listening to Larry King. a caller asked him what he thought of Rush’s impact on talk radio in the New York area. All he could say was “Never heard of… Read more »

IkeWhitt
IkeWhitt
3 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Haha…nowhere close. But I did live in Oak Park for 30 years. Practically neighbors.
(I always considered throwing it out the window as great symbolism)

Paul Eilers
3 months ago

When you are slowly and painfully dying from cancer, death is merciful. . God promises to work all things, including death, for good for those who love Him and are called by Him. . In this world we will have tribulation. We only stop having tribulation when God takes us home. . Rest In Peace, Rush Limbaugh. You, sir, are simply the Greatest Of All Time. . P.S. I’ve been listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show since 1990. (At the time, I was in college at East Carolina University.) . When Rush had his television show, my father and I… Read more »

ArtyS
ArtyS
4 months ago

I sent your column to friends and family, and everyone enjoyed it immensely. Rush was so admired and appreciated by so many, and your column, well, it just helps everyone as we have to go forward, using the non-liberal meaning of that word. . As you were close to the “mix” I presume you had to deal with the tense times, like Michael J. Fox and the crazy Sandra Fluke. Fluke especially, what a wild ride that was, and Rush’s subsequent apology, which actually surprised me, but then cutting off Sleepy’s and Pro Flowers and I suppose others rather than… Read more »

RM Down East
RM Down East
4 months ago

Thanks for sharing. Rush was so important to so many who didn’t have his gift of tying together and articulating things we saw, heard and thought. I first started listening in 89/90 (can’t remember) when several of us young “skulls full of mush”would get in the car between classes in law school and ride around and listen, so glad to have someone who said what we felt and thought in such an entertaining way. His mark on conservative thought and showmanship will stand the test of time. Your friendship and Blondie’s dedication and work through the years is an amazing… Read more »

David M Powers
David M Powers
4 months ago

I’ve thought about you and Blondie often on the last couple of days. America lost a great man, but more importantly, you lost a great friend. . I remember driving through Columbia, SC on my way to Texas in 1988, flipping radio stations trying to find something to listen to. I came across this brash, articulate guy who talked the way I thought. While not a constant listener, as work schedules are not always conducive to mid-day listening, I have been an avid fan nonetheless. And when I found out who his secret collaborator was, it made it all the… Read more »

OldAlpphaWolff
4 months ago

I’m now 80 and with the years, I become more emotional. I guess us oldsters all do. I can’t read stuff like your column or even listen to the shows this week (especially Katherine’s announcement) without tearing up..like I’m doing right now.. It is close to losing a family member. You were obviously best buddies, but Rush was best buddies with millions like e me. I think I remarked to you one time about the intimacy of radio both for the listener and the provider. It’s a one on one experience. . I heard Rush’s first show on WPTF in… Read more »

Dittohead for life
Dittohead for life
4 months ago

You and Rush both entertainers having fun; Blondie supervising by providing rationality and grounding for both of you. Makes sense.

TarSpartan
TarSpartan
4 months ago

Oh man, I don’t know what to say that others haven’t already said. Other than we grieve that your friend is no longer with us, but rejoice that we will see him again in the Resurrection.

Oh, and Ann-Margret? I thought I was jealous of EIB-1, but that beats all!

TarSpartan
TarSpartan
4 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

No, but I get that question a lot. My next launch isn’t until at least 2022.

Ric '73
Ric '73
4 months ago

Twenty years ago yesterday, after the Daytona 500, I said that was it, I didn’t have any more heroes. I was wrong, today I don’t have any more heroes.

Randy
Randy
4 months ago

Was at the Rush To Excellence tour in Raleigh. Remember the giant American flag with his silhouette being backlit within the flag that was hung from stage floor to ceiling. Crowd went nuts as he walked from behind flag.
Dit dit dit dittos.

Wild@Heart
4 months ago

I forgot to add. You know how so many people who criticized Rush never really took the time to listen to him. Well I always had him on the radio in my office. Years ago (2005-2009) I had a young intern working for me. Since my office was just one big room she was subjected to my listening choices. One day she mentioned that she had always had the wrong idea about Rush until she started listening in the office (instead of tuning out with earphones). She said “you know a whole lot of what he says really makes a… Read more »

Wild@Heart
4 months ago

Rush was the reason I became a conservative. He was the first to not only explain things so I could understand them, but also have enough courage to stand up for those beliefs in a way that made it easier for me to stand up for them by not being afraid to use humor and dish things out in the same way the left had always dished it out to us. I was always amazed at the people who were offended by his humor but not offended by the same type of humor from the left. . You have been… Read more »

Wesley Evans
Wesley Evans
4 months ago

Boblee,
I am sorry for your loss, I hope you and your family can find peace.
I have grown up listening to his show, my father was a huge fan and mandated we listened everyday. He will be missed.

Wesley Evans

CNR
CNR
4 months ago

Judy alerted me to the news as it broke. Thanks be to God, his pain is no more. . Our family is thinking of you and Blondie since the news has come that Rush’s battle has been won. We can’t imagine Rush being closer to anyone than you, Blondie, and his brother, David. . Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Phyillis Schafly, and Rush Limbaugh. What a triangle of strength in the fight for America. From St. Louis to the Cape. What great Americans are they. . I first heard Rush back in the late eighties when his broadcasts from Sacramento were… Read more »

Edward
Edward
4 months ago

BL, Did Rush ever visit ya’ll in Raleigh ? Sure going to miss him . Edward

58WolfKennel
58WolfKennel
4 months ago

BobLee, You know my politics, even though most of my good friends are quite conservative, including my best friend for 66 years who died last year as a devout Limbaugh fan. Thank you for the deep insight into your and Blondie’s long and intimate relationship with Limbaugh. I was never his fan, but I do appreciate consistency and grit. My wife of 58 years is absolutely non-political, doesn’t understand liberal from conservative. When we first heard Limbaugh in the early ’90’s on WTOP in Washington, DC, Elaine immediately said she didn’t want to listen anymore, but it was “style”, not… Read more »

Bill.J.
4 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Why would 58WolfKennel say something like that ?

Todd Hamilton
Todd Hamilton
4 months ago

Thank you Bob for sharing a great story about your dear friend Rush Limbaugh. I was a listener and fan for many years. I’m also in radio in the sports side of the business but always admired Rush. I wish I could have had a chance to meet him.

Leroy Rogers
Leroy Rogers
4 months ago

I’m a political science major (NCSU ’81) so I think I probably know as much about the subject as the average guy. But Rush taught me something everyday, and he did it as often as not with humor. In fact I’d say that is why he was so hated by the left, he laughed and made fun of them. Humiliation is much more painful than ridicule and our leftist/liberal brethren gave Rush all the ammunition he needed.
RIP Rush… I miss you already.

Bryan Taylor
Bryan Taylor
4 months ago

Thanks for sharing your personal story. I feel oddly melancholy and it was uplifting to hear your anecdotes. My condolences to you and Blondie.

Mokie
Mokie
4 months ago

Heard you on the radio here in ENC and stopped by to check out the tribute. It was awesome. One of the few times my dad got something wrong involved Rush. He thought he was like Morton Downey Jr and would fade away. He told me that in the late Eighties. He became a huge fan along the way and we both commiserated together yesterday. My sense is Rush embraced Christianity, The Lord probably used his brother to make that happen. Thanks again for the great tribute, RIP Rush.

Mark Allison
Mark Allison
4 months ago

In the last ‘80’s started listen Rush riding my sales world. My joy for a Birthday gift from the wifey to the EIB Tour to Raleighwood. A great American friend too. There will be no like to share the details the media hides evils. A great story as your life how crossed the world, still close friends to the end. Thanks BobLee too !

B R
B R
4 months ago

I tuned in Rush a few days ago and the guest host was giving a somber update on Rush again not being on the air. I could tell by his voice things weren’t going well. . First thought I had was about you and Blondie. What t little I know about your friendship with Rush is enough to know it was special and one everybody wishes they had one to match it. . Losing a friend of so many years hurts, even if you know it’s coming soon. That friendship says so much about the three of you. You were… Read more »

Karl Landgren
4 months ago
Reply to  B R

Thank you for this glimpse into El Rushbo’s amazing life, Bob. Thank you, Blondie for your valuable contributions. An avid & grateful fan for 30 years, I’m weeping for the fifth time since first hearing of his passing. Three friends & I were at the legislative bldg in Raleigh. Like the speaker of the House (NC), I hope to meet him.

Ted Forbes
Ted Forbes
4 months ago

Really sorry Bob! Condolences to you and Susan!

Alfred Faulkner
Alfred Faulkner
4 months ago

I’m sure Rush considered himself fortunate to have Such a great friend and fellow wrestling fan. I am confident his message will endure and perpetuate. RIP Rush

Karl Landgren
4 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Exactly. You can count on me to help carry Rush’ torch.

Queen City
Queen City
4 months ago

My Dad told me to find Rush on the radio when I was at ECU in the 90’s. It was easy to find, most likely on one of Henry Hinton’s stations. He was my Ronald Reagan for the last 30 years. He always mentioned his Dad’s influence on his conservative principals. I had a similar experience with my Dad. I never met him but I feel like I lost a friend. Sorry for your loss.

NCSU68GRAD
NCSU68GRAD
4 months ago

Look at it this way, BL… If one of the talking heads from CNN or MSNBC had passed away, WRAL would be clamoring for an exclusive with you and Blondie. Sorry for you guys loss. Helluva story…
.
Condolences to the Limbaugh family and the EIB network. When you gonna get your shot at the Golden Mic?

DB.unc
4 months ago

Such a sad day! Thanks for sharing this personal account from the perspective of you & Susan. I knew some bits and pieces of this story, things I’ve learned over the years. But seeing it in one place and in context was fascinating. I enjoyed reading it. . Rush was such an interesting and brilliant soul. How he could put together 3 hours of radio on 600+ stations and 20+ million viewers is amazing. If Susan returns to work it sounds like she should be paid 100 fold, at least in the eyes of Rush’s competition who thought he had… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
4 months ago

We must continue Rush’s message!!! Stand up everyone and keep our message alive.

Karl Landgren
4 months ago
Reply to  Vanessa

You’re 100+% Right, Vanessa!

Banks Randolph
Banks Randolph
4 months ago

Thanks BobLee for the wonderful story and for providing even more insight into the man that each of us felt that we had a personal relationship with. That was one of Maha Rushie’s great gifts. . I first heard Rush in the first week of August 1988 when his show went national while driving between Columbia and Charleston SC on business. Far from the media’s take that Rush told all of us what to think, for the first time I was hearing someone give voice to my thoughts and opinions at a national level. Losing Rush feels like losing that… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
4 months ago

I love “the rest of the story. ” My heart goes out to you and Blondie. My condolences to the Limbaugh family as well. He was one person I had wanted to meet, on my bucket so to speak. We have listened to him since the beginning of his shows in NY. We will miss him. Hugs for all.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
4 months ago

I can remember hearing him on the radio in Fayetteville NC. I was so tired of the local clown. I remember calling that local guy after his show and telling him if he’s the best we have to listen too, I’m done with listening to talk radio. Not long after that, here came Rush. I’ve been listening ever since. I’ve cried off and on a couple times today. From the opening of his show today till now, it’s been rough. Thanks for sharing your friend and your Blondie all these years.

Former96heel
Former96heel
4 months ago

I was literally a boy when I fell in love with that man preaching truth on the radio. Over the years I could go long stretches without being able to listen in, but when I could listen, his tune stayed true. To have someone validate and explain the beauty of America and our system so well meant our kind was not alone, far from it. Now a grown man, I am firmly entrenched in my beliefs. There’s never going to be another. There’s never been one so great, for so long, at what he did in the media. . Let… Read more »

Tim Callaway
Tim Callaway
4 months ago

wonderful story….my sincere condolences for the loss of your good friend .I’ve listened to Rush (my week day dose of reason) since the Clinton years and this news caused my eyes to spring a leak…..

Karl Landgren
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Callaway

Yeah, this pair of eyes have sweated a lot, too.

Sue Ipock Frye
4 months ago

My heart is broken for his family,friends, and the millions of fans. When my husband and I would be riding in the car while Rush was on the radio, we didn’t talk because we didn’t want to miss anything. No one will ever take his place. He was a true champion of freedom and constitutional integrity.

DM Carpenter
DM Carpenter
4 months ago

BobLee:

I cannot decide between “Wow” or “Gosh”.

Thanks for the rest of the story.

DHintz
DHintz
4 months ago

BobLee: sadness in EIBville today. The voice of reason has left us. Sorry for your deep loss. Thanks for turning me on to El Rushbo those many moons ago. He held the loonie leftists at bay, while touting our conservative values. The Golden mic goes silent, but the ideals live on.
All the best,
DH

Kevin Shinault
Kevin Shinault
4 months ago

Great story. Im a 40 yr old Gym teacher coach. As a tea party county leader, Constitution Day rally, Independence day March and ralky leader. I led a group of tea party leaders in a coalition from 44 NC counties. Rush is my mentor and inspiration. We took over our county republican party in 2013 and its grown strong. Thanks again for sharing I look forward meeting you both one day.

Doug
Doug
4 months ago

Thanks for telling the story of Rush and BobLee & Blondie. I always wanted to ask? A late friend introduced me to RL on a staticy AM station between Waycross and Valdosta back in the early 90’s. Every time he unleashed a zinger the signal would make the crackling lightening striking sound. Never knew what radio folks called that phenomenon but that was my baptism. Sorry for the loss of your friend and an American icon.

erin
erin
4 months ago

Sorry for your loss, it must have been a helluva ride.

Joco Bob
Joco Bob
4 months ago

I remember your telling me the Kansas City story over our first meeting breakfast at a Bojangles in Atlantic Beach with my sheer amazement…then going home to my wife in Emerald Isle and her saying you spent three hours with Bob Lee so you guys must have enjoyed your chat. I said yes but you are not going to believe this story. . Then the next time we visited and you introduced me to the “staff of 100” and I immediately asking how the heck do you put together all that info in a few hours of research. . Anyway… Read more »

Deacon
4 months ago
Reply to  BobLee

Thanks so very much for the background info….as an avid listener, I am sure others did too. I always wondered about the supporting staff.
.
We all mourn the loss of an American Hero but sorry Blondie and you lost a friend.

103
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x