News
Opinion-editorial
2015: Happy 40th anniversary to Land Line

By Jim Johnston, OOIDA President and CEO

If you could go back 40 years this month you would find Vietnam in the headlines, people paying 36 cents for a loaf of bread, Gerald Ford in the Oval Office, and Cher getting ready to divorce Sonny Bono. And you could have found me – the newly elected president of OOIDA – sitting in the Association’s office in the west end of the laundromat in Oak Grove, Mo., waiting for the phone to ring.

We didn’t have a lot of members in 1974. In fact, we only had about 35 dues-paying members. The popular trucking magazines didn’t care what we were doing, and our efforts got no coverage. It wasn’t long before we knew we had to have our own publication.

Fortunately for us, we had a long list of names of truckers – and their addresses – who had paid an initial fee to support the Association. We had about 10,000 truckers on that list and that’s what we used for our first circulation base.

In 1975, Land Line was born. Our first effort was more like a newsletter. The cost of printing during its first year was $2,613. That was three times what my salary was for a whole year. In 1981, we hired Todd Spencer – a trucker and member who had been doing some writing and photography for us – to be our editor.

Today, the Association has an extraordinary media reach via its magazine, news website, social media pages, and our satellite radio show “Land Line Now” on Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel. The radio show, by the way, will celebrate its birthday, too, in 2015 – 10 years on the air.

For 40 years, we’ve been giving a voice to a segment of professional truckers whose views are mostly ignored by other media. Our mission has been to keep over-the-road truckers accurately informed and plugged in to what’s going on. We look a bit different than we did in the old days, but our job is still to keep you connected in every way we can.

Every once in a while I am asked how the magazine got named Land Line. That one is easy. Every trucker who ever said “I’ll catch you on the land line” on CB knows that it’s always been the sure way to reach folks. LL