Flying high, running low: Friday Channel 19 news round-up

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CranesBig birds to fly by truck
Writing on the New York Times blog yesterday, Matthew L. Wald delivered a little unexpected news about a flock of young whooping cranes currently settled down for the winter about 45 miles southwest of Decatur, Ala.: they would travel the last leg of this year’s winter journey, led in large part by ultralight aircraft used by scientists attempting to help the cranes reestablish population numbers, by…

You guessed it, I’d bet. “The only way to get the cranes moving,” Wald wrote, “will be to put them in crates and drive them by truck to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, Ala., she said, where six or seven whooping cranes, alumni of earlier migrations, are already wintering.”

Read Wald’s full story for more. Or follow the journey’s progress on the Operation Migration blog here.

Dsc 0086Reading up writer Irin Carmon’s “The latest Twitter revolution” story, about last October’s Truck Driver Social Media Convention is live at the political/cultural news and commentary site as of yesterday. Aside from a whiff of stereotyping sitting there in the very first line — “Rich Wilson is telling a roomful of truckers how to sound less like, well, truckers” — the piece gets the whole of the event, organized with a boatload of tireless dedication by Allen and Donna Smith over at, fairly well. If you need some background on driver-led efforts at regulatory policy influence to emerge from the meeting, you can start with this item from Channel 19.

Whether you attended the event or not, I’m interested in what you think about the story from both substance and driver image standpoints. Tell me. Read it here.

As for the section therein about Overdrive‘s early years, there’s a much more detailed account I wrote (“Breaking Free”) for our 50th-anniversary issue last year.

Here we go again
I bet you can guess where this is going: The Discovery Channel is launching yet another reality TV show about drivers, making it the fourth such series from as many cable networks in the past year alone. The show, “World’s Toughest Trucker,” is a competition that sounds similar to the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers’ franchise in that it looks to crown a winner in the end, after competitors face a set of tough runs — with a $150,000 cash prize going to the toughest competitor in this case. Hauls will take place on roads in different locales around the world, though, in a single season, a significant difference.

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The show premieres on Feb. 13 at 10:30 p.m. Here’s what a press release from the cable channel had to say about it:

WORLD’S TOUGHEST TRUCKER contestants hail from around the world, including the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and Sri Lanka. All the drivers come vastly experienced but, like athletes in specific sports, each driver brings a particular skill set to the competition. They also bring their share of personal quirks and trademarks. There’s “Ice Man” Derek Martin, cool under pressure and used to the slick and steep roads of his native Canada; the wild and wily Alabaman/rookie, whose mouth can run faster than his rig; and the explosive Aussie loner Rodney Johnson, who always seems to find teamwork to be the toughest part of the assignment.

WORLD’S TOUGHEST TRUCKER begins Down Under as the truckers encounter river crossings, dust holes and dry creek beds in the parched region of northeastern Australia. In this first challenge, the teams won’t allow anything to get in their way, but will one pair live to regret stopping to help and rescue passengers in an overturned car?

You can find more about it here.