Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
Now that I have a Sirius XM satellite radio, I no longer have to worry about finding a radio station or wondering how long I’ll be able to hear it as I drive through an area on a long trip. But, I do miss the old days as I tuned my radio to the AM band and searched for talk shows. I was a talk show fan from the beginning of my trucking days, well before the events of 9-11 launched other talk show careers and solidified the format. I was mainly a fan of political talk, but did enjoy other formats like NPR and Bruce Williams which was a financial advice call in show.
The best part about working nights was the AM radio reception. It was so much better at night and especially during the winter due to atmospheric conditions and other smaller stations powering down. I worked nights exclusively for about 5 years as an LTL line haul driver and later a gasoline tanker driver slip seating with the day shift guy. I operated mainly in North Carolina and could easily pick up WABC 770Am and WOR 710Am, both power houses out of New York City. One night while listening to a new station that I found, I remember the announcer saying that the time was “midnight” and I looked at my watch and noticed that it was 1am. Oh, he made a mistake or he must be in the central time zone I thought… and sure enough, after a little more listening, I discovered I was hearing radio from Chicago.
Mostly, I listened to 770 out of NYC which had live programming all night. It was then I was introduced to Steve Malzberg, who had a STRONG New York accent, but talked about conservative principles and common sense. I didn’t know those thoughts could be expressed with an accent like that! Later he partnered up with Richard Bey, a liberal, which made for very entertaining banter. I also remember the Curtis and Kuby Show. Tony Curtis, an outspoken conservative, was the founder of the Guardian Angels, an organization started to keep citizens safe in New York during the days of increased crime rates. He paired up with civil rights attorney and outspoken liberal, Ron Kuby which again, led to very entertaining discussions. I just checked the lineup and they’re still on the radio everyday.
It’s probably just nostalgia, but in the days before internet and satellite, knowing you’re hearing someone broadcast from some of America’s largest cities while driving an old truck down the road under the moonlit sky hundreds and hundreds of miles away seemed magical. I often wondered if the hosts in New York ever imagined that a truck driver traversing the dark highways of North Carolina was listening to everything they said. Many times, I could barely make out what they were saying through all the static, but I’d turn the volume up and listen intently. It’s very strange, but sometimes I’d like to go back to the old static of the AM radio instead of the superior sound of satellite radio. I compare it to reading the book and watching the movie. The book is always better because it involves more of your imagination.