35. The Truth About Kevin Rutherford


Keven Rutherford was relatively unknown before XM radio. It was back around 1999 or 2000 when I first started hearing about satellite radio technology. Dale Sommers, better known as Trucking Bozo, used to talk about it regularly. Soon we would be able to set a station and hear it everywhere in the USA, day or night. In 2001 it became a reality with the release of XM Radio. Sirius was soon to follow, eventually merging with XM.

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As XM’s trucking channel progressed, they picked up some old names from the AM radio game. These guys had been around the trucking community for years, even decades. Not only did Trucking Bozo end up on the satellite network, Dave Nemo eventually ended up with the morning time slot. If my memory serves me correctly, Dave was on from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. when he went exclusive with XM.

Nemo Listeners Meet Kevin Rutherford

I’m not sure of the year, but it wasn’t too long into Dave Nemo’s morning show career with XM that he started a new segment called The Business of Trucking. The segment was probably the best example of infomercials done right that I’ve ever heard. The co-host was a new sponsor of the Nemo show, Kevin Rutherford. Kevin owned trucks. He knew most of the jobs involved in a trucking business firsthand. He knew taxes. Most of all, he was entertaining. No doubt, that hour every Wednesday morning was XM’s best show on the trucking channel. In fact, it was so popular that Rutherford now has more air time than most on the channel, 13 hours a week.

Rutherford Today

In the interest of total disclosure, I no longer subscribe to SiriusXM. I’m only on the road a couple of nights a week. My employer slip-seats trucks, so I occasionally use a truck with satellite service. Rutherford’s is the only show I find worth listening to. As for the rest of it, I can hear better content for free from podcasts. I don’t have to be in a vehicle to listen and the podcast player is as portable as my smart phone. But, if I’m targeting truckers with my blog and podcast, I need to follow a few mentors. My three are Jack Spirko, Kevin Rutherford, and my partner in another online project totally unrelated to trucking. Of these three mentors, I’ve never met the two names I mentioned.

There’s no doubt that Kevin is smarter than I am. He knows more about trucking, the internet, target marketing, financial planning, you name it. We have the same online tools to help build our audience and see the same numbers. Truckers aren’t an easy bunch to reach. It’s tough. Kevin has two choices when looking at the numbers:

  1. Change the target audience. Find a target audience with a different common interest, willing to spend money more easily.
  2. Work 3 times as hard, and stick with the target audience.

As an example, Kevin has mentioned his love of windsurfing. In fact, he commented about spending money on a pro to teach him how to do it right. Kevin is well aware that more people are online looking for windsurfing products and information than trucking stuff. Windsurfers are more willing to spend money on their hobby than most truckers are willing to spend on trucking-related products and services. Yet he’s forging ahead, bringing more shows, more products, and more services, all trucking related.

The Truth About Kevin, Passion!

Here’s the cold, hard truth about Kevin Rutherford. Kevin’s on fire with passion when it comes to trucking. That passion is his driving force, more so than the money.

I follow my mentors because they’re not just successful at what they do. They are on fire for it. And Rutherford is no different. I follow him on Facebook, read what truckers write about him in forums, listen via call-in when he’s pre-recording, and read what he writes in trucking magazines from time to time. I also read and hear what too many truckers have to say about him. He’s only in it for the money, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about are common complaints. Make no mistake, it’s a business, but it’s also a passion. And, YES! He knows what he’s talking about.

Most of you understand passion. Passion is the reason we work 70 hours a week and fight for more. Passion is the reason we leave home for days, or weeks at a time. It’s the very thing that sets us apart from the rest of the rat race. Passion is the reason I work a regional job, then spend hours writing and podcasting. And passion is why Kevin Rutherford focuses on truckers, not windsurfers, entrepreneurs, or other marketable target audiences. He’s on fire for trucking.

If you’re like me and you don’t have satellite radio, you can find some of Kevin’s content at LetsTruck.com. He’s got a few other hosts doing podcasts. It’s a great way to get your head around the business side of things.

Note: This podcast episode no longer available.