Based on his first year of moderating his own hour-long Nashville-based radio talk show, Raymond Brody has a pertinent suggestion for America’s RV industry: Do a better job of addressing maintenance issues.
Brody, of Nashville, Tenn.-based Camper’s Corner RV Supercenter, also thinks dealers ought to be more aggressive about providing driver training to first-time customers.
These are among the suggestions gleaned by Brody, whose program – entitled “Camper’s Corner” – airs Sunday mornings on “The Zone,” a Nashville-based talk radio station located at 104.5 FM (WGFX).
“If I had to sum it up, the biggest thing that’s come out of our show is that people love spending time with their families in their RV and love having the opportunity to do that when they can,” said Brody. “Overall, people just wish they had more time to go.”
While consumers’ RVing experiences are generally positive, Brody frequently finds himself on the line with callers who tell him they wish that RV dealers would provide more training, particularly on how to drive and maneuver their towable or motorized rigs.
Callers also frequently question the driving capabilities of many of the nation’s older RVers and wonder whether age limits should be placed on recreational vehicle drivers.
RV enthusiasts tell Brody about the challenges they encounter on the road, including sites so busy they must be booked months or even a year or more in advance. “The RV industry is cranking out more RVs than ever, but I often hear from callers that have a hard time booking campsites” in popular locations, Brody said.
Consumers also complain that their rigs are getting damaged by tree limbs in poorly maintained public parks, a problem he attributes in part to budgetary issues.
Although he’s aware of other U.S. dealers who previously have taken to the airways for some positive lifestyle programming and open give and take with consumers – one of the best known being Randy Biles of Pike’s Peak Traveland in Colorado – Brody believes his program is the only one of its kind in the eastern part of the country.
The program, which started in February of 2004, has built a following of RV enthusiasts across the country, who tune in via the radio station’s website at www.nashcity.com to listen to Brody and his guest speakers talk about virtually every topic of interest to the RVing consumer.
Brody himself had no prior experience in radio broadcasting. But he decided to give the weekly program a try when he learned of an opportunity to purchase hourlong blocks of radio airtime, which he could then resell to advertisers to cover his costs.  
And so far, he says, the arrangement is not only financially feasible, but it’s generating potential sales leads for his dealership, while increasing consumer knowledge of the RV lifestyle.
The informal nature of the program, in fact, is enticing to consumers and provides them with a chance to ask for help on everything from basic maintenance questions, like how best to maintain a rubber roof, to questions involving the merits of specialty RV insurance and about the latest RV-related products and services, such wireless Internet or Wi-Fi service.
Typically, Brody, a second-generation RV dealer whose father founded Camper’s Corner in Knoxville in 1969, prefers to rely on the expertise of outside experts rather than address all of the questions himself. Consequently, he regularly features a diverse assortment of guest speakers to answer consumer questions, while offering their own viewpoints on the continuing evolution of the RV industry.
Recent speakers included Derald Bontrager, president of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco, Inc., and Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of RV Business magazine.
In the future, Brody hopes to recruit some celebrity RV owning guests for his program, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.