Michael Burns' love of, and fascination with trucks started at a very young age.
Whenever his family would travel from their home in Pacific Grove to Fresno, California where his grandparents lived, he would watch in awe as drivers would crawl up and
over Pacheco Pass with loads of artichokes, brussel sprouts, and lettuce from Salinas, and skillfully wind down the other side to the San Joachin Valley.
His father, a police officer, would tell him of the hair-raising happenings, and sometimes-
heroic deeds those drivers experienced while doing their jobs. They were a breed apart in his eyes,
and Michael never lost his fascination for those trucks, or the men and women who drove the big rigs.
Later, after living in New York (a half-hearted attempt at one of America’s more
prestigious music schools), Philadelphia, and North Carolina, Michael moved to Florida and became an apprentice electrician. His main attraction was that he got to drive
through the swamps in big converted army surplus trucks, but he never got used to viewing the world from 120 feet up a transmission tower hanging by a belt buckle and
decided on a career change. He enrolled in police academy, and graduated as a patrolman in Panama City, then moved to the more modern facilities of the Orlando Police
Department where he served for ten years, eventually heading up the department’s Crime Prevention Unit.
"Crime Prevention was the perfect place for me. I was such a
motor-head that I think I only used one ticket book during my entire ten years. I’d pull over someone driving a Ferrari, start talking cars, make a new friend, and that was
it, no ticket. One time I did feel it necessary to issue a citation. When I turned it in, my sergeant said, ‘Where did you get these tickets from? I haven’t seen one of these in
After his law enforcement career, Michael moved back to North Carolina, then Arizona,
"all my horses melted", then finally to Nashville, TN to pursue a career as a songwriter. "Being a new songwriter in Nashville has many rewards - none of which are
monetary, and then one day I was sitting at Shoney’s and saw this gorgeous black truck with polished aluminum everything, and the most enticing words I had ever read on
the back of the trailer doors, 'Learn To Drive This Truck While Being Paid'. I scribbled down the number, went to school, graduated with great hope and encouragement,
only to get out on the road and realize I didn’t know anything about driving a truck! But, I loved it, stuck with it, studied hard, and drove a lot of miles. After my first million
miles, I became a trainer - until I found one trainee I liked enough to keep. We drove team for a year or so, then a few things started happening on the music scene."
Back in Nashville, Michael pursued his love of writing and recording, getting into the
production side of the process more than he expected to. "Building a recording studio pretty much ended my songwriting career, but I don’t think anyone in Nashville really
noticed." All the while, Michael maintained an ongoing friendship with Dave Nemo. "Dave is such a great person to bounce ideas off. We’re good enough friends that he is
willing to identify a bad idea before it gets time-consuming and expensive."
One night, Dave mentioned that they were looking for a new on-air personality, and Michael
volunteered. "At first Dave just laughed and cued up another song - knowing I had no prior radio experience. But, then, he saw how serious I was about it, took me under
his wing, and put me on the air. It’s a great thrill for me. I used to listen to this show religiously, and now 'HERE I AM', this is truly exciting. My main goal here is to make t
he few hours I'm on the air the best I can for the drivers who tune in. It's a difficult job out there, and a little of their favorite music, a story and a laugh or two can truly
lighten the load. I want to do my part, for all of them."