Driving a Legend into History
Truckers do not always have it easy. Long days driving through the endless stretches of fields and cities can be tiresome. Dale Sommers knew that and began a radio show that was geared to those who help transport the world. A man who gave entertainment, news and music to truckers to help the day go by better. A lifestyle for all those who crossed into his broadcasting territory. All truckers truly loved his work.
Dale Sommers was born on November 26th 1943 in Humboldt, Tennessee. When he turned fifteen he and his family moved to Cincinnati. This is where the legend began. The year after he moved he started his work at WAEF-AM. His work for radio station varied between cities. He bounced around from Cincinnati, as well as in Evansville, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, and Kansas City and their various radio stations. Afterwards he decided to head back to Cincinnati and settle back down at WAEF-AM.
When he returned in 1984 he started broadcasting an overnight show. This show ran for an amazingly long period of twenty years. This overnight show truly touched the heart of all truckers who passed by this area. Trucking is hard work, but it gets worse at night. Having an amazing show like the one Sommers put on for the truckers was a stress reliever.
Eventually Sommers stopped playing music on his nightly show from Cincinnati. Instead he decided to focus all his energy on truck driving news, updates and events. In this time he also had more of a one on one time with his listeners on the air talking about all things trucking.
He was reported to have retired in early 2004 due to various health concerns. After stepping down his son took over the night show. Dale Sommers son had learned well from his father. After the initial changed on the air he had managed to keep the majority of his father’s listener base. When you have an amazingly popular person step down from certain positions, there can be turmoil. Passing on genes and radio hosting spots with skill can only be done by few people and Sommers managed to do it right.
Despite his retirement, Sirius XM satellite radio was successful in getting him to return to the air later that year. Thanks to Sirius radio, afternoon truck drivers were now able to experience the joy of listening to his show. His new show went from four in the afternoon to seven in the evening. His new show ran until June 24th, 2012. Luckily he really loved his job and came back on air on July 16th.
His amazing record does not end there. Sommers is also known for catching two criminals due to his large listener base. This is a true testament to his incredibly large audience.
The first criminal he aided in catching took place in 1986. While he was off the air he was talking to one of his regular listeners and callers, a lady known as the “Mississippi Lady.” When he was speaking to her he heard her say “Hey, you cannot come behind the counter.” This was followed by the phone being hung up. Concerned, he called the police force in Camilla, Georgia. Thanks to his call the police were able to catch the thief.
The second time he aided in catching a criminal was in October 2002. Thanks to snap and proper news casting he was able to get the information about the DC Sniper on the air. From there a Northern Kentucky listener saw the car from the description the Sommers gave and notified the police, leading to an arrest.
On the other hand, like all people, Sommers had his faults. In January of 2008 he started some minor controversy after making some comments about Mexican truckers. He had also expressed his support for the ban of Mexican trucks in the United States. This did not escalate to much as he toned down on the negative comments after some truck drivers called in and blogged about the incident.
However, sad news was released to the public on August 24th 2012 that Dale Sommers has passed away. He was sixty eight years old. It is not yet known if his death was the result of Addison’s disease. This disease causes the adrenal glands to not produce enough steroid hormones. This is truly devastating news to anyone who has ever listened to any of his radio shows. However, he will be remembered through the ages as the legendary “Trucking Bozo”
Sommers was loved by all that knew him. The trucking industry will certainly feel his death. A strong smart man, who gave the news, helped his listeners and entertained everyone. As the sadness seeps through all who listened to him his legend will live on throughout the ages. There are no photos yet available of him, however, there is a video of him working on the air that all those loyal to him can watch in the future to remember him. His memory will always be with us.
Dale Sommers left behind his wife and four children. His children are Steve Sommers who now hosts America’s Trucking Network, media executive Sean Compton, David Sommers, who took over the travel business his mother founded when she retired and a daughter Krissie Dawn Sommers. His wife was Sharon Sommers who he was married to for 35 years.
Saying goodbye to someone so loved is not easy. Nor can they be replaced. While Dale Sommers recordings live on, someone else will be inspired to be just like him. Giving the news and entertaining truckers just like this wonderful radio newscaster once did. As James Matthew Barrie once said “As soon as you can say what you think, and not what some other person has thought for you, you are on your way to being a remarkable man.” This is just what Dale Sommers did and projected to all those around him. He was truly a remarkable man.