Texas-headquartered trucking-radio legend Bill Mack‘s prominence in the trucking community for decades from the 1970s on can perhaps not be overstated. Yet reader Maria Arnold, commenting under Overdrive Editorial Director Max Heine’s recent remembrance of the broadcaster at Overdrive‘s Facebook page, lamented the increasingly short memories of many in our go-go-go culture. “Only the old-school know who he is,” Arnold said.
As if in pre-emptive answer, so posted William C. Karcher: “Never heard of him.”
But the memories were much more prevalent, and underscore what Mack, who passed at 91 years old this past week, meant for many truckers.
“Listened to him for a lot of years,” noted Warren Garman.
“The Midnight Cowboy rides to heaven,” wrote Dan Copenhaver. “Rest well, sir. You are an honorable man. Sadly missed.”
Charles Cameron, commenting under Heine’s story here on Overdrive, shared his experience of Mack’s unique ability to put the mind at ease in the face of what might otherwise be this or that anxiety-inducing scenario on the road. “I was listening to this man when I made my very first all-night run,” Cameron wrote. “I was 19 and going to California with chemicals from Texas and, I ain’t gonna lie, I was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof but by two in the morning with Mack talking to me through the speakers I felt like an old pro.”
“Loved his show,” said Floyd Beck of Mack’s long-running overnight on-air presence.
Greg Ramey: “Many times he kept me company while I was rolling.”
Owner-operator and longtime Fort Worth, Texas, resident Bill Ater recalled that with an “AM radio back in the day, late at night I could pick him up all the way up near the Canadian border in Montana. Coming to you from high atop broadcast hill.”
Tom Hector:: “Another great loss. RIP, my friend. Spent many miles listening to him.”
John P. Stephens foregrounded another of the benefits of Mack’s engaging approach. “I looked forward to listening to him every night,” Stephens said. “It does get lonely at night. He probably held safe many from falling asleep and getting in a wreck.”
Ralph Hudson, a 43-year trucker who never had the opportunity to meet Mack in person, surmises the D.J. might well have been “my best friend.”
Finally, added Cameron, “Rest in peace, Mr. Mack.”