By Land Line staff
North America’s legendary radio truck show host Dale Sommers, The Truckin’ Bozo, died Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in a hospice facility near his home in Hernando, FL. He was 68.
Sommers was widely known for his long-running talk and call-in show geared toward truckers. From 1984 to 2004, Sommers hosted the all-night show from Cincinnati-based Clear Channel Station WLW-700.
In 2004, he announced retirement but changed his mind and agreed to do an afternoon talk show on XM satellite radio. On the satellite radio show, he discussed the hot button issues affecting the trucking industry as well as politics and current events. XM later merged with Sirius, and the popular show aired from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time on the Sirius XM Road Dog Channel.
Regular fans of “The Bozo” know that Sommers suffered from Addison’s Disease and was an insulin-dependent diabetic. He had been recovering from a critical bout with fragile health conditions and medical complications, for which he was hospitalized earlier this spring. He returned to the air shortly in mid-June, but was soon off the air again due to more health problems.
Sommers was a life member of OOIDA. In August 2010, he was presented with an OOIDA Lifetime Contribution award. The framed plaque commended Sommers for his career during which he “stimulated, amused and motivated thousands of long-haul truckers, making him a valued friend of truckers and someone who made the miles less lonesome.”
He had an institutional knowledge of the road, affection and respect for truckers and was never short of a point of view.
Through the years, the cast of characters on his live radio show were more than just entertainers, hecklers and ranting regulars. They were real truckers with names like Yoda, Hollywood, Maverick, Bullwinkle, Elvis, Goodwrench, Big Ed, Asphalt Soldier, Straycat, Kentucky Red Devil, Zookeeper, White Trash, Crud, Super Trucker, Brooklyn and more.
Some of them became more than just callers; they became trusted personal friends. Rusty “Yoda” Wade kept fans and pals updated on the Bozo website during Dale’s illness. Wade, an OOIDA life member from Brundidge, AL, was at Dale’s bedside during the last days.