Nationally Syndicated Radio Show Originating
It's called Truck Test Digest and the show is airing both on the Coast and nationally on the Radio America syndication service. Radio America is the same network that disseminates radio shows from Car and Driver and Road and Track.
The show is the only one of its kind focusing on trucks, which represent about 53 percent of all vehicles sold. That market is expected to grow as compact and smaller SUVs gain popularity.
The program is the work of automotive journalists Bruce W Smith, who lives in Long Beach, and Keith Burton, the owner and editor of GulfCoastNews.com from Biloxi. The show is an hour-long program that features the latest information on trucks and SUVs, along with news and information on aftermarket parts and accessories. On the Mississippi Coast, Truck Test Digest can be heard on Saturdays at 10 a.m. on WTNI AM 1640.
"It is terrific that we can do this show from the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Burton. "Usually shows like this air from large states such as California or New York. But there is a lot going on regarding the auto and truck industry in the Deep South."
Truck Test Digest actually began over a year ago before hurricane Katrina in a program called Talkin' Trucks. The show was aired early in 2005 on WTNI with the intent of trying to get the show nationally syndicated.
"The hurricane slowed us down a bit on our efforts," said Smith. "But we felt there was a niche for a nationally syndicated talk show focusing only on pickups and SUVs," Smith said.
Major auto and truck manufacturers see the Deep South as a kind of auto manufacturing Mecca. Auto manufacturers have built large plants in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and in Mississippi. Nissan builds the Titan pickup, the Armada SUV, the Infinity QX45 SUV and Altima in the Canton, Mississippi plant just north of Jackson. Texas will soon be producing Toyota's new full-size Tundra pickup from a brand new state-of-the art plant south of San Antonio.
"We are already dialed in to what every manufacturer is doing across the county and we are fortunate to be in the heart of that effort in the South," said Smith
The show features reviews of pickup trucks, SUVs and the new crossover vehicles. Both Smith and Burton travel around the country to special media events provided by the auto and truck manufacturers to see the vehicles prior to their release to dealers. They also conduct full reviews of the vehicles sent by manufacturers to the Coast for lengthier hands-on testing.
Radio America is initially syndicating the show to 31 radio stations around the country with more stations to be added later. The current stations receiving the show are listed below.
Truck Test Digest also is operating a website at www.trucktestdigest.com where more comprehensive information on the show, and content is provided. Part of content also appears as part of the GCN AutoMedia section of GulfCoastNews.com. This is done to provide the most readers to the material and provides additional exposure to both websites.
Bruce W. Smith is a longtime journalist with work in over 18 national magazines including Off-Road Adventures, Heartland USA,,Texas Sportsman Journal, Bass & Walleye and Trailer Boats. Burton's articles on vehicles have appeared in Go Boating Magazine, Trailer Boats, Motorhome and in the former Auto World Weekly, and on GulfCoastNews.com.