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Driver Lifestyles

All Night Entertainment!

By Jeff Jensen
Posted Sep 27th 2002 3:56PM
Well, just a little after midnight throughout most of the country that radio will lock on to the sound of, "Goood Morning, North America!" and you know you've found that late night radio companion, The Truckin' Bozo!

Featuring a new and classic country music format with trucker-related news and information, the Bozo has been a friend to the professional driver for many years with an ever expanding syndicated program based out of the Cincinnati area.

In addition to the flagship station 700WLW which has a night-time coverage area of 38 states and Canada, the Bozo can be heard on 11 affiliate stations across the United States.

Since the mid 1980's, Dale Sommers (the Bozo)has been informing and entertaining his late night audience of truckers, expediters, 3rd shift workers and insomniacs with his unique brand of humor and common sense wisdom.

A recent shift in his style of programming has included frequent encouragement to his trucker audience to "Get out and vote!"

Along with frequent weather checks for the entire United States and Canada, the program features the Bozo reading mail from his listeners and taking phone calls from across North America from drivers at home, in the truckstops and the cab of the truck.

Someone must be listening, because the Bozo's program has been the number one rated overnight program in the US for a number of years now.

As interesting as the program itself is Dale Sommers' personal story which can be found in autobiographical form on his web site at http://thetruckinbozo.com.

Dale has had an interesting ride so far, overcoming various health and substance abuse problems in his past to achieve an enviable level of success both personally and professionally.

Basically a very shy and introverted person, Dale found that he had another personality when on the microphone after beginning his career at the age of sixteen playing Big Band music at a small FM station.

"I could be funny, sharp witted, ornery and down right crazy on the microphone," he says in his autobiography. In the next twenty plus years Dale was a much traveled DJ, working in markets in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Washington and California.

During these years, he married and remarried several times, settling down with "the love of my life", Sharon, in 1975. That same year, Dale finally won his battle with a sleeping pill addiction that had shadowed his life from the sixties into the mid-seventies.

Poor health has been an ongoing concern over the years for him including a heart attack, two strokes, and being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1990, which recent tests show is in remission. In spite of this, Dale considers himself to be a "very blessed man."

A man of strong spiritual beliefs, he says, "I thank God every day that I was chosen by him to live and hopefully I can repay some of the kindness that has been showered upon me and that I can, in my own very private way, let you know that Jesus is the only reason I'm still here."

It was in the mid-eighties that Dale and family returned to Cincinnati to assume the duties of the host of an all night truck show for WLW radio. "Most people gave the show a one in a million chance of survival and even the program director said he didn't expect me to stay on longer than six months," Dale remembers.

Within the next few years, his audience had grown by the hundreds of thousands, with a much publicized battle over truckers' issues with the state of Indiana establishing the Truckin Bozo as a strong advocate for the professional driver.

With a profile in People magazine and a listing in Who's Who, Dale's popularity soared to make it the most listened-to program of it's kind.

Two of Dale's sons, Sean and Steve, are also involved in the program, with Steve taking over as producer and alternate host of the show.

The show does not originate from WLW as many listeners think, but rather from a remote studio in the Cincinnati area. By recording local "relates" for the different affiliates, Dale can localize the program, giving the listeners across the country the impression that he's broadcasting from their own market. Dale states, "It's amazing what we can do with technology."

Dale says that his one unfulfilled dream has been, "Being in the DJ Hall of Fame at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. But, I've always catered to pleasing my audience and not the music industry in Music City, so I don't think I'll ever make it. Oh well, one unfulfilled dream out of many ain't too bad."

Dale, on behalf of your legions of late night listeners across North America, we can state that you've already made our Hall of Fame, and thanks!

RELATED INFO
The Truckin Bozo

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