Calling it "a dream come true," Steve Sommers resumes his overnight conversations with truckers and insomniacs Monday, Jan. 11, two months after WLW-AM canceled his America's Truckin' Network show.
And he may be able to talk about politics, too.
The five-hour Steve Sommers Overnight Drive show debuts at midnight Monday from a new Cincinnati studio provided by sponsor Hot Shot's Secret, a line of high performance and preventative maintenance products including fuel and oil additives, engine oil, lubricants and coolants.
For now, the show will be seen on Hot Shot's Secret's YouTube and Facebook pages, "which means for the first time, longtime fans will not only be able to hear but also see Sommers behind the microphone," says the Tuesday media announcement. Expanded distribution of the program will be announced in the coming weeks, the statement said.
Sommers, 56, was terminated by WLW-AM's iHeartMedia after completing his show Friday morning Nov. 6, ending the station's 36-year tradition of airing an overnight show targeting truckers throughout the Midwest. His father, Dale "Truckin' Bozo" Sommers, started the overnight broadcast in 1984. Steve began working with his dad in 1996, and took over the show in 2004.
"Last year brought major change for everyone, and for some more than others," Sommers said in the media release. "This is a new year with new opportunities and hopefully for all my fans, there will be a brighter future in 2021. For me, having the opportunity to reconnect once again with all my trucker friends coming home from a long night driving or those hard-working people that are up night after night working their jobs – it is a dream come true. To have the freedom to be able to produce and direct the content of my own show, and knowing about all of these great plans we have coming to add to the show… I'm just incredibly humbled and really excited at the opportunity.”
Chris Gabrelcik (with Sommers above) – the founder of Hot Shot's Secret, based in Mt. Gilead, Ohio – was a frequent guest and longtime supporter of show on WLW-AM, which reaches 38 states at night.
"Hot Shot's Secret would not be here today if it was not for the persistence of Steve to give me some airtime on his overnight show many years ago when I was first starting the company," Gabrelcik said in December. "The five hours I spent in his studio that very first visit resulted in an avalanche of orders for our product and we have never looked back ever since … I will never forget those early days when Steve was there for us when we needed it the most."
As with most ATN fans, Gabrelcik "was shocked to hear of his recent dismissal, but found it to be an excellent opportunity to bring Steve into our Hot Shot's Secret family. He connects with truckers and all other callers in a way that people feel they can talk freely. I support that."
Politics apparently won't be off limits on Sommers on his new show, unlike on ATN. In response to unspecified complaints, WLW-AM managers last July banned talk about politics, the Confederate flag and the death of George Floyd on the right-leaning overnight.
Tuesday's announcement said that Sommers will "have a similar trucking-focused format as Steve’s prior radio show, America's Truckin' Network, but will also provide a greater production flexibility with an expanded new audience and freedom to cover topics of interest to his callers."
The show will air midnight-to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.