Rumbling through Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

A decade ago, a devious duo was unleashed upon the unsuspecting south Hampton Roads community. One was a familiar face and voice, who they’d been hearing for the past six years. The other had come halfway across the country from New Orleans, and no one knew quite what to expect from him.

But they found out – and today, Tommy Griffiths and Rick Rumble’s FM99 (98.7) morning show continues to be one of the highest-rated radio programs in the area.

&uot;It’s been great,&uot; said Griffiths as he and Rumble continued their 10th anniversary 10-city tour early Friday morning at the Harbourview Grill and Caf\u00E9. &uot;I’ve been here for 16 years, and this has been the 10 best years of my life. I really love the area, and for whatever reason, the station likes me.&uot;

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So does the public – the restaurant, which normally doesn’t open until 11 a.m., was filled with eager listeners.

&uot;I’ve been here for 16 years, and I’ve listened ever since it was Tommy and the Bull,&uot; said Doug Ritchie of Virginia Beach (Griffiths’ former partner, Henry &uot;The Bull&uot; Del Toro, passed away in June 2002). &uot;They’re the best I’ve heard, and I’ve been a lot of places.&uot;

It was a chance for Betty Hicks of Chesapeake to match a pair of faces to voices.

&uot;I’ve listened to them, and I’ve seen them on TV, and I wanted to see what they look like in person,&uot; she said. &uot;I just love their craziness. I go through the downtown tunnel every day, and it goes quicker if I have my coffee, my cigarette, and Tommy and Rumble.&uot;

The same tunnel was the sight of a Tommy and Rumble-induced mishap for Rade Mikolich.

&uot;I got into an accident a few years ago,&uot; said the Windsor resident. &uot;I was laughing so hard at them that I rear-ended the car in front of me. I hope they do another 10 years.&uot;

Rumble didn’t seem sure – in quite the joking fashion.

&uot;You tell me,&uot; he said when asked how much longer the two would be teaming. &uot;It depends on how the ratings are looking. I don’t even know if I’m getting home today; how am I going to know what’s happening in a few years?&uot;

When asked why he and Griffiths had stayed together for so long, Rumble quipped, &uot;Really embarrassing Christmas party photos.&uot;