152: Road Dog Radio: KC Phillip’s Journey in the Trucking World

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with KC Phillips, the Host of Road Dog Trucking Radio on Sirius XM. During the episode, KC shares his story of how he got into the radio industry and becoming the host of the Road Dog radio show. Jeremy and KC talk about some of the origins of satellite radio, the importance of the people in trucking, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • KC’s background (1:09)
  • Getting a start in radio at Sirius XM (7:13)
  • Becoming the host of Road Dog (11:26)
  • KC’s hobbies when he’s not on the radio (15:07)
  • What does the future look like for KC? (18:26)
  • Trucking’s influence on Sirius XM radio (20:43)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruce oakley.com.


KC Phillips  00:12

I got into advertising sales in the trucking industry. And so the second day I was down in Nashville, I was working in town, and I was working with one of my managers and they took me into the Volvo dealership in town and sat down across the desk from a guy named Joe Nacarato. And Joe told me at that very meeting, you don’t know anything about trucking, but the only thing you need to remember is the people in trucking. That was the first thing he said to me in 2004. And it’s stuck ever since then. It has always resonated with me because he was right on the money. Man. Trucking is just about people. And it’s about serving people.

Jeremy Kellett  00:50

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley trucking headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner operators and their families by giving them up to date information concerning Oakley trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an insight to outside truck drivers might be interested in joining the Oakley family. We’re here at Mid America truck show, Louisville, Kentucky, and I got me a special guest and I’m gonna tell you how to pull some strings to get this little sit down done. But it took a little persuasion but I finally got Mr. Casey Phillips here with us. He is the SiriusXM host on what times 11 to 211

KC Phillips  01:38

to two Eastern Yeah, eight to 11. Pacific, eight to 11

Jeremy Kellett  01:43

Pacific. And I actually, you know, my whole goal was to try to sit down with Casey because I know a lot of people know him just from Sirius XM. And hear him during the day every weekday, talking about trucking and how dedicated you are to trucking and truck drivers. But you know, there’s more to Gacy than Sirius XM on the weekdays. And I just want people to realize that, you know, we became friends over the last few years and I spent a little time together and our wives hit it off. And, you know, I think you’re a great story. And I wanted to give our listeners that Oakley trucking a little bit. A little bit more about who Casey Phillips is and what he does. So get us cranked off here always do most of my podcast episodes is give us a little self introduction, Casey,

KC Phillips  02:33

Paul, number one, I would just want to say I’m honored. I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t like cameras, you know, the saying about guys and radio is they gotta face for radio right? And many times it’s the voice for newspapers that’s the one you don’t ever hear. I got a voice for the newspaper but I am honored that you asked and so thank you. My name is Casey Phillips I host ro DOT live it can be heard Monday through Friday 11 to two Eastern Time on Sirius XM 146 Road Dog Trucking Radio. I’m a Hoosier who grew up in Southern Indiana about 15 minutes from where we sit right now. So I grew up in the metropolitan Louisville metropolitan area, and I had a great childhood hometown for you folks used to bring us to the Louisville Redbirds games, this location at the Kentucky fair and exposition center. And so, back in the 80s when they were raising and beating all of the attendance records, I was a little 10 year old kid running around with my buddies and my parents would bring us to the stadium which they’ve torn down now. Right this location. So the Louisville truck show for me is really a homecoming. And it’s now that I live in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a wonderful way to come visit family, I get to see my brother and I get to see my cousins. And so it’s always nice, but grew up right here, moved to Tennessee in 2004. And that started my career in trucking. In 2004. I moved down to Nashville to take a job with an outfit called fast line now fast line is an advertising company that sells used truck equipment. They’re headquartered up in the Grange, Kentucky, so just right up the interstate. And they hired me to be the Indiana rep. And the day that I accepted the job. They had a rep down in Tennessee leave his job he put in his two week notice. And they said we really need somebody down in Nashville, would you be willing to relocate? So I had not even talked to Susan about it. And I said, Yeah, so you’re already married at this time. I am married at this time. Yeah. I said, yeah, we’ll do it. So the current company I was with was going to transfer me to Cincinnati. So I was already getting into that mode where I might have to, I might have to leave Louisville. And so I said, Yeah, let’s do it. You know, just leap of faith, leap of faith. And so I talked to my wife about it and said, Honey, we’re moving, but we’re not moving to Cincinnati, we’re gonna move to Nashville. So I got into advertising sales in the trucking industry. And so the second day I was down in Nashville, I was working in town, and I was working with one of my managers and they took me into the Volvo dealership in town, and I sat down across the desk from a guy named Joe Naka, Rado. And Joe told me at that very meeting, can’t forget that name, I can’t die. You can’t smell it. You can’t forget it. But he told me in that first meeting, that you don’t know anything about trucking, but the only thing you need to remember is the people in trucking, that was the first thing he said to me in 2004. And it’s stuck ever since then, it has always resonated with me because he was right on the money. Man. Trucking is just about people. And it’s about serving people. And so I always kept that in the back of my mind. Fast forward about two years, Joe, Docker auto became my boss, he hired me to sell trucks and I went to work for Volvo Trucks, selling at the dealer level, got to know the equipment, and really loved that brand. It’s, I think, a cutting edge brand, really focusing on the creature comforts in the cab of the truck, which I think are very important. And they were very aerodynamic. So you had fuel economy going. So it seemed like a really easy sell. It’s a good product to be part of. And so I did that for about five years. Then 2008 hit, and the great recession took over. And being a capital equipment salesman, in 2008 was a very tough life because everything dried up. I had sold about 80 power units in 2007. And I sold two power units in 2008. So the writing was on the wall, I went to my management and I was like, Listen, I need something to change. I said because I’m out of savings. I’ve been paying my mortgage on a credit card. You know, I was in it. And I did not know what to do and they said to sell more trucks. I was like, Okay, well, there you go. I gotta go sell more trucks. So I, I already had been talking with a guy who was one of my customers who was a growing fleet. And he needed somebody to come in and help him with his operations. So he extended a job offer to me. And so I jumped from truck sales into an operations position with a small truckload fleet out of Smyrna. We did a lot of Nissan inbound parts. I got a location in Canton, Mississippi as well. So I went on board with him, I helped him write some policies, driver policies. We worked in the maintenance department, I worked in operations, I sold brokerage, I managed drivers, I got a really fast immersion over two years of running a trucking company. And most importantly, I got to manage truckers and get to know how to talk with folks, and what some of the important things were that they thought about. I sat in on safety meetings, we put programs together. It was a really wonderful job. So the whole time that this is happening, I’m getting more and more immersed in what Trucking is. And you’re keeping in mind what Joe told you. I keep it in mind what Joe told me. But in the background, what I didn’t know was that I went to church with a guy named Dave. So one day I’m walking into church, and I have my Volvo shirt on. And you just heard this story. And I pass this little guy who is walking out an older fella. He’s like, Hey, do you work for Volvo? I said, Yeah, I worked for Nokia out of all the downtime. He’s like, Well, I’m Dave Nemo. And I was like, Who? I was. He’s like, Yeah, man, Dave Nemo and trucking. Radio. I said, trucking radio. What trucking radio is like, oh, man, it’s on Sirius XM. It’s the best thing. He said, man, it’s really good to get to know you. So Dave, Nemo, and I started a relationship in the hallway in church, and I had no idea that trucking radio was even a thing. That yeah, it was news to me. So I worked for the trucking outfit. And about six months later, I got a call. And it’s Dave Nemo. And he said, Hey, Sirius XM has asked me to develop a weekend show. And I was wondering if you’d want to come in the studio and talk on the radio about what you know about trucking. I was like, Okay, well, I know a little about trucking, but I guess I guess I could at what time I need to be there. He said five o’clock. I’m like, oh, in the morning. Yeah. I don’t know if I can get there because he’s like, Well, just come on, you know, we’ll sit down and, you know, talk about what’s going on. So I went in on that Saturday morning. And Michael Burns was there. You know, Michael, he’s Dave’s managing partner. And Dave said, Alright, here’s what we’re gonna do. This is Z Taylor. He said z this is casey Phillips. He’s like, this is the Taylor and Phillip show. And I was like, Wait, What? What? He’s like, Yeah. And he swung the mic in front of my mouth. The music started. And we were doing a radio show and Michael Byrne said, Hey, we got a guy we want to introduce you to, it’s Casey Phillips. Casey said hello. And all of a sudden, I am talking on the radio as a radio show host with no zero experience, no experience, no real understanding of what was getting ready to happen. So that started the Taylor and Phillips show, which we ran for about two years, it got easier, you know? So what do you come out of there thinking that first day Dave is crazy, and I’m gonna get you set me up, man. But you know what? It’s like, I don’t want a Labrador in the water. You know, you just gotta teach them to swim. So why

Jeremy Kellett  10:45

don’t you think he picked you? Why do you think that happened? Well,

KC Phillips  10:49

The story goes that they were looking for somebody to do the weekend show. And he didn’t really have anybody. He had talked to a couple of different people. But his wife, Cheryl, who’s a dear friend had kept bugging him in his ear. You need to talk to Casey, you need to talk to Casey. Yeah, he’s gregarious, he talks with people. And I do love meeting people to talk because I’ve been in sales for so long. And it’s just, it’s really interesting to get to know people and to hear their story, just like what we’re doing. See, I’m typically not on this side, right? I’m sitting where you’re sitting. And you know that because I interview you all the time. So he gave me the opportunity because his wife told him to

Jeremy Kellett  11:25

toilet bowls. beds, exactly. In the no youth church. No. Yeah. You know them the church. Yeah, she had little input in it though, Cheryl.

KC Phillips  11:33

And you know, she gives me a rash. Every time I see her. I said, Cheryl, thank you so much for giving me this app. She’s like, stop, stop thanking me. So it’s so important, because she really did. She gave me my career. And just because she wouldn’t let Dave not ask me to do it. It’s crazy. So it’s the right place at the right time. Yep, the right experience and the right life skills. I hate to say it, but I just like to talk to people. You know, my mom was a gabber. And plus I really love trucks and I love trucking. I love the people.

Jeremy Kellett  12:04

When you’re authentic to the minute, that’s what to me. People connect with, you know, being authentic about what you’re doing and being excited about what you’re doing. You know, what Dave told us a while ago, Spot a Fake a mile away truck driver can spot a fake a mile away. You got to be in at all. And

KC Phillips  12:23

Dave said to me when that first show was over, he said, Never forget that you work in service to a service industry. And if you keep that in mind for the rest of your career, everything’s gonna be fine. Just be yourself. So, you know, that has turned out to be really true. Yeah. So after working with Z Taylor on the Taylor and Philip show for about two years. Unfortunately, Dale Summers, the truck and Bozo got sick. And seriously once again had another problem because who can fill that? That’s a yacht? Nobody. He died on August 24 of 2014. I remember the day because it was during the Great American Trucking show. And they announced it in Dallas over and you should have seen the whole show just hushed. Everything stopped. Because of who? Dale summers. Well, yeah. And so Sirius XM called and they said, Hey, we want you to cover that spot. We need you to cover it for about six months. I was working the weekend show and they wanted me to come in. I had never done a solo show. And they were plugging me in to fill in for Dale summers. Just pressure. It was tough man. But the one thing I’ll say is that the trucking community is gracious. And they took me under their wing. They were able to help me through the first few trucking shows by just making a part of their community out of the parking lot. And it got right back to what NACA Rado said it’s just about the people.

Jeremy Kellett  13:50

That’s what it is about. And that’s why you make such a good connection with the people and that’s what we do here at Oakley podcast to blog to bring people that make connections with the people and then it’s good. Aero truck sales has been in business for over 60 years and a longtime partner of Oakley trucking and the Oakley podcast. Dre visor and Keith Wilson do a great job at putting you in the right truck to fit your needs and our needs here at Oakley. They carry all makes and models to choose from with on site financing through transport funding. So whether you’re a seasoned owner operator or a first time buyer, be sure to contact Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales at 573-216-6047 and tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

KC Phillips  14:40

The family has two daughters who are very proud of them. My oldest daughter is 24 and her name is Emma. And then Abigail is my 22 year old and Emma actually works and lives in Louisville.

Jeremy Kellett  14:51

Oh so yeah,

KC Phillips  14:51

She got a crazy job. She teaches sex ed to kids in high school because the health department’s for the public schools and parochial schools don’t want to take that work on. So they hire a third party to come in and teach their kids about healthy relationships. Yeah. So she stands up in front of crowds and gives speeches. It’s a public address type of job. So it’s really good for her. Yeah. She loves it. Successful that and my youngest daughter is getting ready to graduate. She’s actually got a radio show. She works on 95.1 FM out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Oh, yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  15:25

He told me that. That’s right. Isn’t that crazy?

KC Phillips  15:27

So she’s got a four hour show. Her name’s Abby. And she’s on goober. 95 Great. So she’s an intern though really. But they gave her an on air job. And so she doesn’t want to. I don’t think she’s gonna stay. wife, Susan. Why for Susan? Yeah, she’s a school teacher. And loves dealing one on one with kids. She tutors children and tries to help them along their way. And so yeah, just living in Nashville, you know, trying to make ends meet. I actually work two jobs. I know you know this, but I run a construction job on the side. Just handyman work. So I’ll hand out business cards if y’all need one. Just

Jeremy Kellett  16:07

something a lot of people don’t know about you. I don’t know if you say much about that on the show or not. I’ve mentioned it in the past and doing that handyman work. It’s

KC Phillips  16:14

yeah. Plumbing, carpentry, light electrical painting, drywall repairs, some flooring.

Jeremy Kellett  16:20

What about when you’re not doing your two jobs? What are y’all doing?

KC Phillips  16:23

Is there anything else?

Jeremy Kellett  16:25

That you and Susan, y’all go you get to do anything with the girls. Y’all get together? Yeah, annually or something or what?

KC Phillips  16:31

Well, they’re really close. So we come up here a lot and see Emma, and then Abby being at school a lot of times. We’ll pick her up on the way now. Abby is probably gonna move back to home for a little bit after college. She wants to live in Nashville. She wants to get into country music somehow, someway. And that’s the place to be right. Yep. So yeah, just find that really interesting place because we’ve been an empty nest and I know you know what, that’s been an empty nest for about three or four years now. We love it because we’re able to reconnect as a couple. And now one of the kids wants to move back. It’s like, Honey, you need to find something to do you know, I mean, do you want to move to Louisville? Because we’ll see you and will come to see you.

Jeremy Kellett  17:09

Yeah, yeah, I always tell it with you know, she’ll do something with our boys and they’ll say well just come home back home if you want to, you know, and if you need to come back home for a little while. I can’t. I’m like, Oh, no. Yeah, living here is not an option where you can come back and have your own place. But you know, we have already redone your room. Your rooms are there. There’s no more. You know, my room anymore. Yeah, we’ve redone it into the office.

KC Phillips  17:35

Didn’t you put it in a sauna?

Jeremy Kellett  17:39

Yeah, we fixed that up there.

KC Phillips  17:42

You tell Clay if he wants to drive to Nashville, you can just drop his truck off and then I’ll give him a way back to Little Rock. Okay,

Jeremy Kellett  17:48

That’s a bad truck. It is. He’s Oh, he’s all about some of them trucks. Well, yeah, you got your CDL or had your CDL at one time. Did you get that going? When you were working at the trucking company or the Ellen drill? Yeah, so

KC Phillips  18:01

Volvo had a program where you had to have a CDL because we’re delivering trucks. Anytime you had to deliver a new truck you had to be able to drive it so I got a Class A with a 57 exemption which means that I could drive a Class A with air brakes in with not in combination. I could only Bobtail so they had a special license just for guys like me. Let’s go so whenever I did get into trucking operations, I did some hazzan around the yard with new trailers and I was made fun of many times by lots of the old hands that saw me trying to back trailers in but I didn’t know it. I’d never been trained. I thought okay, it can’t be that hard. Well, a blindside back when you’re pulling between two trailers. That’s not easy.

Jeremy Kellett  18:45

No, I’d have to stop getting out. Walk around and come back. I mean, it’s it Well,

KC Phillips  18:49

the thing is there would be like a congregation of people start looking laughing and you can see I’m trying to back up and they’re sitting there and Lambda face is even getting redder because finally I just say okay when y’all do it I’m not Yeah, I got more and more things to do.

Jeremy Kellett  19:04

Yeah, give me some help. I give up Yeah, yeah. lease on with Oakley trucking Americans drop off call our owner operators are the top paid in the country and we will prove it to you. We offer steady year round freight as well as a yearly annual bonus and increase each year your lease to us. Oakley has multiple divisions and dumps Hopper bottoms and pneumatics so we are sure to have something that works for your schedule, and hometown. Check us out on YouTube as well as our weekly podcast or give us a call today and see why Oakley trucking was everything you have been looking for. What’s the future look like for Casey Phillips?

KC Phillips  19:41

I think it’s radio. I think it’s right. Yeah. I don’t know. If they’ll keep me. I’ll keep you. I do value my job. I love events like this where you get to get out and get your hands dirty. And now it’s going to rain tomorrow. So typically on Friday Tonight, I’ll go out to the Papa John’s parking lot and hang out and have a couple of adult beverages and you know, really commune. I don’t think it’s gonna happen just because of the rain, it’s gonna happen. But as far as long term future, what I would love to do is I’d love to just keep doing what I’m doing, develop good relationships with our sponsors, we’re very grateful for your sponsorship. And just keep bringing good content to the show. Sirius XM has a desire to always be striving for relevance, great content, entertainment, and they want to serve everybody. And the trucking community was so instrumental in even bringing satellite radio, onto the market and into existence that it’s very important.

Jeremy Kellett  20:44

You know, that had to be risky for somebody to say, sure, but

KC Phillips  20:48

What does it mean through trucking? Yeah, what does it mean whenever a driver can pick up in LA and drive to New York and keep the same signal? Yeah, it’s a grind. It was groundbreaking at the time. And so they’re the real Trucking is a reason that it really worked.

Jeremy Kellett  21:02

Yeah. Because who’s your better audience than that guy? And I might not love that. Is it still fresh on my mind that you can actually set a station and never have to change it? You know, seek button seek button as you go into another down. You put it on that one station? And man you can listen to it all day long. I mean, I’m addicted. I listen to

KC Phillips  21:24

Yeah, r&b. You’re telling me like hip hop. Right? Right.

Jeremy Kellett  21:27

Right. Right for something. Yeah, I listen to a lot of it. Cuz you know

KC Phillips  21:32

What is the best driving station for me? Is channel 98. Comedy USA. Oh, yeah, it’s clean. And it’s just a compilation of comic after comic. And we will just roll it so it keeps you alert. Because, you know, they got a good drumbeat coming in. They’re always changing to new comics. It’s really good. And then sports. You got MLB Okay, here I am now the billboard for Sirius XM. But they have a lot to offer listeners. Yes.

Jeremy Kellett  22:01

Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s good. I’m addicted to appreciate it because they’ve helped us get the word about Oakley out when you guys have been great at helping us do that. So it’s been, it’s been good. And we

KC Phillips  22:12

talked about it earlier what the message is there, Oakley has a message. So we can only aspire to give the same message. That’s right. But to close, it’s just about people.

Jeremy Kellett  22:25

And it’s more importantly, with us, it’s about truck drivers and them being successful. And we always try to give our owner operators, our listeners good content to make them more successful every day. Anything that they can do that we say here that helps them whether it’s mentally, physically, financially, something they can, you know, go okay, I’m getting it now. I’m gonna be successful. And oh, please help make me successful. And that’s what we want to do to mean it’s got to work together. Casey

KC Phillips  22:58

got exactly right. Well, I’m looking forward to our continued relationship. We will appreciate you hanging out with me. Yes, stuff.

Jeremy Kellett  23:04

We’ll talk again soon. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to write or review the show in the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience. So if you’ve got a question, comment or just want to say hello, head over to our website, the Oakley podcast.com and click the leave a comment button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.