Stan Campbell, the host of Trucker Radio, a two-hour weekly radio show heard on country music stations across Canada and elsewhere, has written a book on his lengthy search for his birth mother.
The book, The Ugly One In The Middle, chronicles Campbell’s life from the early days of his radio career right through until the search for his birth mother concludes. It’s an entertaining, often hilarious read, that also has some dark moments as Campbell recounts his four failed marriages and struggles with alcohol.
Campbell’s kinship with the trucking industry and professional drivers began in the mid-70s, when he hosted a nighttime radio show on CFGM in Toronto. Many of his listeners and callers were truckers, which prompted Campbell to launch a nightly trucker profile he dubbed the Salute to Truckers.
“Every evening, I would do a five-minute salute to a different trucker and I had an incredible response to it,” Campbell said in an interview with Truck News.
Campbell launched a trucking-themed radio show in 2005 and eventually bought out his partner, taking over the show, which is known today as Trucker Radio. The show airs on country music stations and is a mix of information, music and entertainment geared towards people in the trucking industry.
While producing the weekly show, Campbell has also been busy penning his autobiography, which released just a few weeks ago, has already resonated with adoptees and, interestingly, with women. Tales of his carousing apparently have done little to turn off the fairer sex, which even Campbell finds surprising.
“I do get feedback and almost every day I’m talking to someone who has been adopted or is searching for their birth parents,” Campbell said. “The people I’m getting the most positive feedback from, the demographic is female. I didn’t expect that. I expected men might get a kick out of it, because it’s dark in places and the language is rough in places and my life has been pretty wild and funny at times. I expected to get a lot of feedback mostly from men and I expected women to be mad at me, but it turns out to be the other way around. Many women have told me they cried and felt compassion (for me).”
The book provides an insider’s perspective of the cutthroat radio business, in which Campbell was at times seemingly one small step away from fame and fortune and at others, living out of his car. He also ran a record company and even played a role in discovering the talented Shania Twain – before a personality conflict between the singer and Campbell’s wife forced him to choose one over the other. Campbell opted for the doomed marriage, which soon ended anyways, while Twain went on to gain international fame as a country music superstar.
But while Campbell candidly recounts his many ups and downs in the radio business as well as his numerous failed marriages, it’s the uncertainty about his past that haunts him. His experience in tracing his birth parents will be relatable to other adoptees.
Campbell hopes the book will help others who’ve undergone a similar journey in their lives. He also wrote it because he wanted to create an accurate record of his life – however rocky – for his children, whose relationships with their father he admits have suffered because of his numerous divorces and transgressions.
Asked if writing the book has provided him with closure, Campbell said, “Finding my birth parents, finding out who they were, has brought me a great deal of closure. The act of writing the book was cathartic. I went through a lot of emotions writing the book. I would go through days where I was depressed because I would relive some of the events I went through, especially the marriage break-ups. And I went through periods where I was laughing at my own silliness and stupidity. So you go through a lot of emotions but yes, there’s closure at the end and I feel more comfortable in my own skin now, a lot more so than I did prior to writing the book.”
You can’t help but worry for Campbell as you read the book and learn of what he’s been through. Asked how he’s doing today, he said, “If I was any happier, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I am gloriously happy.”
He’s even considering writing a second book: How To Be Happy In Five Marriages. Stay tuned.
The Ugly One In The Middle can be ordered through traditional book stores such as Chapters, Coles and Indigo, or as an e-book for Kindle and Kobo devices. It’s not yet available on iTunes, but should be soon. You can also visit the Web site at www.TheUglyOneInTheMiddle.com.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies