Legendary Trucking Radio Personality Dave Nemo to Retire from Full-Time Duties Next Year
March 26, 2024

OCEAN SPRINGS, (Miss.) – March 25, 2024 – After over 50 years of keeping truck drivers entertained with music, jokes, and news, radio personality Dave Nemo is retiring from his full-time duties as host of The Dave Nemo Show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Channel 146. While he will continue to lend his name, expertise, and distinctive voice to the broadcast, Nemo is stepping back to play percussion, travel, and in his own words, “Do what I wanna to do when I wanna to do it.”

Dave Nemo On Stage at MATS
Dave Nemo

The radio legend will spend this coming year not only continuing to host his show, but also increasing his travel schedule to thank his many friends throughout the industry. Calling these appearances “The Last Ride of The Road Gang,” RadioNemo of North America will be celebrating the career of their namesake co-founder with parties, live broadcasts, and special events. The connected events will be sponsored through generous partnerships with United Axle, Drivers Legal Plan, and JobsinTrucks

“The Last Ride of The Road Gang” got underway at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville when Nemo made the official announcement from the SiriusXM broadcast booth on March 23rd.

But Nemo has made it clear that this is not goodbye but merely “another new direction in what has been a long journey.”

For the better part of five decades, Nemo focused on the informational needs of his truck driver listeners. Regardless of the topic of conversation or the subject of the interview, his broadcasts placed the men and women who delivered goods and services throughout the country squarely at the center of the show. Beginning principally as a disc jockey and humorist on WWL’s legendary up-all-night “The Road Gang” broadcast, Nemo proved resilient through multiple changes in his formats, locations, and audiences. He transitioned from his early days of spinning records and generating laughs into a trusted, non-partisan voice for the industry. 

Nemo’s radio roots extend all the way back to the end of the sixties. While still in his senior year at Loyola University of New Orleans in 1969, Nemo became the weekend host at WWL 870 AM. He continued in that position until October of 1970 when he joined the Army. The following year, he continued to hone his skills by reading copy and playing music for AFKN in Seoul, South Korea, while stationed at the Yongsan Army/Air Force base. 

Returning from the Army in 1972, Dave was rehired at WWL, where he met broadcaster Charlie Douglas. Douglas had launched “The Road Gang” the previous year with the desire to use late-night programming as a way to reach and entertain truck drivers across America. With the addition of Nemo, the already celebrated show took off as Nemo brought his deep reverence of the subgenre of trucking music to couple with both his and Douglas’ love of country and rock-n-roll.  

However, it was with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 that “The Road Gang” gained its true cultural importance. Along with keeping drivers awake with comic bits and music, the show became an informational hub of trucking-focused news relaying diesel prices, safe areas for parking, and on more than one occasion, individual messages sent directly to drivers about loads, family emergencies, and even childbirth.

By the end of the seventies, the show’s influence could be felt throughout popular culture with movies like “Smokey and The Bandit,” television shows like “BJ and The Bear,” and popular songs like CJ McCall’s “Convoy.” 

1984 was the first big shift in “The Road Gang” programming. Just as the trucking industry began deregulating, Douglas left the show he had helped create to join The Grand Ole Opry at WSM Radio in Nashville. Despite doubts in some corners about the show’s continued viability, Nemo assumed leadership of the program. Under his guidance, “The Road Gang” expanded its reach to five more stations, including broadcasts in Salt Lake City and Buffalo. This time was also the beginning of his ongoing approach of extensive travel to conferences, truck stops, and trucking shows to connect to the listeners in person.

By the time the nineties rolled around, trucking was in the midst of a great upheaval. Regulation changes, mergers and acquisitions, and the implementation of the commercial driver’s license destabilized the industry and fostered an atmosphere of creative destruction.  

Just like the drivers he served, Nemo was also subject to the vagaries of that shifting market. 

From 1991 to 2000, “The Road Gang” moved its services and programming into 11 different radio companies as right-wing talk shows and large radio conglomerates threatened the independent identity the show had forged. The biggest of these changes came in 1995 as business mogul Kerby Confer moved WWL to Nashville, rebranding it as WLAC. “The Road Gang” focused on both truck drivers and country music, and Confer believed the show would thrive in an atmosphere where many listeners and much of the music played called home. 

“The Road Gang” was firmly ensconced in Nashville by 1998 when Nemo had a fortuitous encounter. It would change the trajectory of his fortunes and, ultimately, his position in the industry. Introduced to Dave by RoadKing Magazine editor Bill Hudgins, songwriters and entrepreneurs Michael and MaryKay Burns were interviewed by Nemo about their song “Christmas Comes on 18 Wheels,” and the three immediately hit it off. The Burnses secured Nemo’s musical content and guests for the show while deepening their friendship over this time.

Their arrival coincided with “The Road Gang” again in transitional status. 

Soon after the meeting between Nemo and the Burnses, Clear Channel Communication acquired Nemo’s home company of AM/FM Inc, and with the popular Truckin Bozo already attached to Clear Channel, the broadcaster soon found himself with a large audience but nowhere to call home.  

Immediately Michael Burns leapt to work. In 1999, The Burnses initiated the formation of Dave Nemo Entertainment (DNE) and worked with Nemo to place the company on sound footing financially and programming-wise. Along with Dave’s wife Cheryl, the three would forge a partnership around a love of music, trucking, and radio that lasts to this very day.

As the company entered the 2000s, the show underwent rapid change driven by the same technological advances that trucking experienced. That change would define Nemo’s program in its current form. Firm in his belief that “the future was yesterday,” Nemo, along with Michael Burns, saw the fledgling form of satellite radio as an opportunity to reach an audience that would never lose its signal and stay with him from coast to coast. Allowing their affiliate contracts to expire, DNE made the permanent move to XM Radio after long deliberation and Nemo’s insight that the company had “one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock.” 

They stepped onto the boat and into the future.

Along with his partnership with the Burnses, Nemo considers his decision to move to satellite radio to be one of the most important of his life. 

In 2008, XM merged with Sirius to become SiriusXM and switched Nemo’s programming from a music format to an informational one. In that moment, “The Dave Nemo Show” was born and has continued to this day. Over those 16 years, the man who provided laughter and song has transformed into a trusted source of information for truckers looking for a voice beholden to no one but their needs. What began in New Orleans has returned to the Gulf Coast, as Nemo moved his studio back to The Crescent City, and the Burnses relocated DNE headquarters to Ocean Springs, Miss., where it has since become RadioNemo of North America.

Moving forward, “The Dave Nemo Show” will continue with Nemo lending support to his trusted colleagues Jimmy Mac, Lindsay Lawler, and Tim Ridley, as well as the many contributors who make the program the most comprehensive in trucking. The show can continue to be heard weekdays on SiriusXM Road Dog Trucking (channel 146) from 7 to 11 AM ET.

LISTEN TO DAVE’S ANNOUNCEMENT: PodWheels Powered By RadioNemo would like to invite you to listen to Dave Nemo as he announced his retirement plans and what he is looking forward to doing through the Last Ride of The Road Gang. Dave’s announcement was the final segment on the March 23rd edition of the Dave Nemo Weekends Show, which can be heard every Saturday and Sunday morning on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking Radio. You can hear Dave’s announcement as it was broadcast by scrolling down to the bottom of this page and accessing the podcast player featuring the PodWheels Destinations series.

Dave Nemo, Jimmy Mac, and Lindsay Lawler at MATS
Jimmy Mac, Lindsay Lawler, and Dave Nemo

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