Back in the day, WLW-am in Cincinnati was one of the legendary radio stations listened to by truckers driving overnight. WLW is located in Cincinnati, and was actually built with a transmitter capable of 500,000 Watts in the event of a national emergency. It can be heard over most of the Eastern United States after the sun sets.
WLW was created by Powel Crosley, Jr. Fans of antique radios will recognize his company as an early manufacturer of radio receivers. After being sold to Avco and several other ownership changes, it wound up owned by Jacor, which was an early casualty of radio consolidation, being acquired by Clear Channel.
WLW-AM had more autonomy than other AM stations Clear Channel operated, because it still had a huge market share long after AM radio was losing out to FM.
Despite Jacor buying Rush Limbaugh’s syndicator, the program director refused to carry the show. He believed strongly that radio should be local, and that syndication was destroying AM radio.
I don’t think that Steve was given the real reason why he was terminated. Technology has outrun terrestrial radio, especially AM. When SiriusXM took to the air, truckers could listen to their trucking Channel 24 hours a day, and it didn’t matter where they were or whether the sun was up.
In May, just before Steve got the first warnings, Liberty Media, the owner of Sirius XM, announced it intended to take over iheartmedia. That put Steve in direct competition with the trucking channel on Sirius XM.
Satellite radio has an entirely different business model than terrestrial radio. For the most part, they don’t care about “ratings” because satellite radio is not based on selling advertising. They care about subscriptions and churn rates.
Steve’s main competition is Red-eye Radio, hosted by the two Hosts of the former midnight trucking Radio Network, operated by Westwood One and combined in 2012.
The two hosts of that show, Gary McNamara & Eric Harley, are extremely political and conservative. Maybe 5% of the show has something to do with trucking news.
The truck stop fueling business has highly consolidated into about three or four players, who advertise on their show. TA/Petro, Pilot/Flying J, and Love’s dominate the truck stop business. Less competition means less need for advertising.