WLW-AM Cancels 'America's Truckin' Network'

Nov 8, 2020

After 36 years, it's the end of the road for WLW-AM's overnight trucking show.

America's Truckin' Network, heard midnight-to-5 a.m. by truckers and night owls across 38 states, was canceled after the station Friday morning let go of Steve Sommers, who had hosted the show since 2004.  He succeeded his father, Dale "The Truckin' Bozo" Sommers, who started the show in 1984 when Randy Michaels was programming WLW-AM.

The show "has been discontinued," interim overnight host Dan Carroll announced shortly after taking the airwaves early Sunday morning. However, the ATN is still listed on the 700wlw program schedule, and Steve Sommers' photo was on the station's ATN web page.

Carroll, a veteran TV newscaster who has subbed on WLW-AM since losing his job at WCPO-TV in February,  told listeners that he had been asked to host the time period for the next week. He said the decision to cancel Sommers show was not made in Cincinnati.

"It is my understanding the decision to discontinue the show was made at the corporate level" of iHeartMedia, he said about 12:20 a.m. Sunday. iHeartMedia is based in San Antonio, Texas.

D.J. Hodge, WLW-AM general manager and market manager, did not respond to requests for comment.

Sommers posted on Facebook Friday morning that he had been "DISMISSED from I-Heart Radio… I'm sorry my friends…. 2020 is a bitch!!!  I will not have a chance to say GOOD-BYE!!! Thanks for 25 years of friendship!!"

Dave Martin, who usually host the weekend ATN show as Ridin' The Wave With Dave, said he was "taken off the air" at WLW-AM due to "corporate cost cuts," in a Facebook post late Friday along with a photo of a Trump "Make America Great Again" rally.

Martin posted on Facebook Saturday that he will be back with "live online video and audio soon with new episodes of Riding The Wave with Dave." He also thanked listeners for their support and feedback, and urged them to contact iHeartMedia corporate headquarters in San Antonio "to let them know how you feel about losing the best weekend show in the USA."

Sommers started working with his dad in 1996 as a producer, and took over the show in 2004. He had previously worked here at WUBE-FM,WBVE-FM (the old "country Beaver") and Christian WAKW-FM, and at stations in Chattanooga and Decatur, Tenn.  

Sommers' made headlines in July when his WLW-AM bosses eliminated all talk about politics, the Confederate flag and the death of George Floyd from his right-leaning show after unspecified complaints.

Carroll was WLW-AM's overnight news anchor on Dale Sommers' show in the early 1990s before joining the WXIX-news start up in 1993.  He told listeners Sunday that he was "not forgetting about the American truckers. I have great respect for the American truckers… It's just not going to be trucking all the time."

Carroll encouraged listeners to help shape the replacement for America's Truckin' Network.

"I want your thoughts on what the overnight show should be, or what it could be. I hope you give me a chance," he said.

"Things change, and we move on."

But one thing did not change: Carroll's first show continued Sommers' strident support for President Trump. He echoed Trump's allegations of voter fraud on his first overnight show.

At 3:28 a.m., Carroll made it clear he did not agree with reports that Biden had clinched the presidency, couching a comment in terms of "if and when Biden ends up winning." Two minutes later, the 3:30 a.m. newscaster told listeners that Biden was president-elect, and quoted Biden's address to the nation Saturday evening.