June 2002

| July 03, 2002


Two Focus on the Family events and the announcement of the Great American Trucking Family are among the highlights of the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Sept. 6-8.

Focus on the Family will present a seminar, “Strengthening Your Family for the Long Haul,” Saturday afternoon, Sept. 7. The discussion will continue Sunday morning, Sept. 8, with a performance by former trucker Kenny Robbins, the 2000 Country Gospel Artist of the Year and a member of the Country Gospel Hall of Fame.

The discussion will be moderated by psychologist Bill Maier of Focus on the Family, a Christian ministry founded by pediatrician James Dobson that is heard on more than 5,000 radio stations worldwide. Panelists will discuss the challenges of raising a family while on the road, as well as how fleets can attract and retain truckers by addressing their physical, emotional and family needs. The panelists will be:

  • Chuck Sonn, founder of Hope Haulers, whose “Chaplain’s Corner” column appears on eTrucker.com.
  • Scott Weidner of Transport for Christ.
  • Yvette Maher, vice president of women’s ministries for Focus on the Family.
  • Bob Hataway, president of Transalive, a charity that offers transportation to injured or ill truckers.
  • Rick Towe, vice president at Covenant Transport, which provides its drivers with faith-based care and counseling as well as a benevolence fund.

    Also during GATS, Truckers News will present the winner of its Great American Trucking Family contest, for which readers nominated families with many members involved in the industry.

    Other GATS highlights include a free Friday concert by country singer Tracy Byrd, sponsored by Volvo Trucks; the Internet & Technology Pavilion; Overdrive’s indoor Pride & Polish contest; the Commercial Work Truck Pavilion for Class 3-7 trucks; the GATS Fleet Executive Conference; and a Sept. 6 autograph session with country singer Eddy Raven, sponsored by the Midnight Trucking Radio Network, which will also give away $1,000 cash.

    GATS registration is free until Aug. 30. For more information, call (888) 349-4287 or visit www.gatsonline.com.

    - Max Heine


    A trucker’s dream as recently as a year ago, satellite radio is a growing reality.

    The first such network, XM Satellite Radio, claims 76,000 subscribers since its November debut, a faster launch than either CD or DVD players enjoyed, says Dan Murphy, XM vice president of retail marketing.

    Meanwhile, XM’s rival, Sirius Satellite Radio, accelerated its launch schedule. Sirius, which claims 412 subscribers by March 31, is now heard across much of the West, Deep South and Midwest, with plans to be nationwide by July 1.

    “A high percentage of our subscribers are coming out of the trucking community,” Murphy says. “We’re becoming their best friends in the cab.” He cites the “historic” lineup on the Open Road truckers’ channel – veteran announcers Bill Mack, Dave Nemo and Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers, plus Overdrive Trucking News.

    Satellite radio is winning over listeners but not everyone on Wall Street. The Wall Street Journal reported that XM’s auditor, KPMG, expressed “substantial doubt” in the company’s ability to keep going without a big influx of cash. Wall Street analysts believe each satellite network spends $1 million per day and needs a million new subscribers a year to be profitable by 2005, the Journal reported.

    XM doesn’t disclose its spending, but $1 million a day is “inaccurate and too high,” says Murphy, who adds that XM has no trouble raising money from investors as needed – $1.8 billion to date. The analysts cited in the Journal made a big deal out of routine money-raising expectations that have been in all XM’s filings for three and a half years, even though the company met every quarterly goal, Murphy says. “We don’t understand the spotlight being cast on this,” he says.

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