Podcasting On The Road
Let’s’ face it, driving trucks can be a mind numbing job. Most truckers are on the road for up to 11 hours a day. I can’t even think of doing something I like for that long let alone dealing with the one lone song of the road. To temper the boredom and keep white line fever at bay, truckers have a bunch of options; talk on the phone, listen to music, listen to books on tape, play very truncated games of fetch in the cab with their dog or drive with a tattered volleyball named Wilson and talk to it about life and other sports balls or … listen to podcasts. Podcasts can be informative, entertaining, political, social or just plain mindless fun. No matter what, truckers are discovering that podcasts are a great way to handle the long hours alone.
If you’re like me, then I am truly sorry but, you notice that when new technology arrives, it seems like everyone knows about it, how to use it, as if they’ve been doing it for years and you feel left behind and lost. Well, I know that podcasts are not “new” technology but, if you’ve only been listening to radio or using an MP3 player, the idea of listening to podcasts may be new so, here’s a starting point for those who may be technically behind, like yours truly. To start, you’re going to want to get a podcast player. Here are 5 good players to get you started. These will get you in and straight to listening right away.
If you have an iPhone, then this is already built in. This is a very basic podcast player. You can stream and download podcasts, skip ahead and rewind in 15 second intervals and set your favorite shows to download automatically as soon as new ones are released. It’s on your phone, easy to use so, get started. FREE.
Google Play Music
If you have an Android, Google’s music streaming app, which comes preinstalled on your phone, supports podcasts. Again, this is a very basic set up. It allows you to subscribe to podcasts, download episodes, skip and rewind during playback. There is also a version of this app that runs in web browser so you can listen from your computer when you’re at your desk to save your phone battery. FREE.
This is mostly a music streaming app, but in 2015 they added support for podcasts. If you’re a regular Spotify user, this gives you a podcast player with a familiar interface. You can flip between podcast episodes and your usual songs and playlists. The downside is that Spotify hand-picks which podcasts are allowed on its platform and, without a premium subscription, you have to listen to ads between episodes. FREE.
This app goes way beyond the basics of the other three. With it you can; quickly see new episodes available for download, keep track of you unlistened episodes, set custom skip/rewind intervals to jump past ads, turn on voice boosting and silence trimming for an improved listening experience, and episode filters can set your episodes to your heart’s desire. It has a colorful design and it’s well worth the $4.00.
This is arguably the gold standard for iOS podcast apps. Clean interface, easy to thumb and swipe around in. Voice boost, silence trimming, supports playlists, notifies you of new episodes of your favorite casts and, you can set limits for how many episodes the app will download for offline listening to save space. All these features are free however, for $10.00 a year you can remove ads, download your own audio files to Overcast servers and change the color of the icon on your home screen, if that kinda thing floats your boat. It’s FREE, premium features will cost you 10 bucks per year.
You’ve Got a Player, Now hear This
There are countless podcasts out there covering various topics, I’ll list some of the best ones here starting with podcasts specifically for the truckers out on the road.
Ask the Trucker. Allen Smith hosts this podcasts and it covers subjects that are important to truckers such as; trucker health, career tips, driving regulations, etc.
Trucking Podcast. A father and son hosted podcast simply talking about subjects truckers might enjoy. Muscle cars, trucks and anything else with a motor.
Truck Driver 101.com. Hoisted by “Big Ken, who has 6 years of trucking under his belt, he focuses on helping drivers who are new to the business. This podcast contains explicit material. Listener beware.
Trucker Dump. Humor and insights about the trucking industry. Topics like; “Stupid rules that truckers tolerate” and “coping with rookie truckers.” On the homepage, there are accompanying blog posts of various lengths so, when you’re on break, you can read along.
The Road Runner Podcast. Hosted and produced by “The Unnamed trucker”, who is really Charles, “Chaz” Murray, he works more “blue” than most. He offers uncensored opinions about topics like why New Jersey sucks and Alaska rules and attending the NRA’s annual meeting in 2015
The Road Home. This is a TruckingTruth’s podcast for those considering a career in trucking or trying to survive the first year on the road.
Red Eye Radio. This is the longest syndicated show for the trucking industry. Hosts Eric Harley and Gary McNamara focus on delivering useful information to long haul truckers. You can hear it live from 1 am to 6 am Monday thru Friday or you can listen to one of the hundreds of podcasts available on demand.
But wait, There’s More
Here are some more really interesting and varied podcasts that, though not specifically for truckers, are great to keep the mind engaged during the long haul.
Alice Isn’t Dead. This is a fictional drama about a truck driver who searches the nation for his missing wife. Conspiracies, twists, turns and …trucking.
Comedy Bang! Bang!
This is the most popular comedy podcast going. Host Scott Aukerman invites celebrity guests on the show who get interupted by improv characters.
Serial. This is a radio drama that follows a true story with a surprise ending.
Pop Culture Happy Hour. Blogger Linda Holmes hosts this lively chat about books, movies, music, TV, et al.
Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me. Weekly radio quiz show that tests the knowledge of current events. Counters the typical, mundane news platforms with humor and a very fun atmosphere.
Good Job, Brain! This is also a weekly quiz show with all kinds of questions. It’s offbeat and unconventional, helping you to keep flexing your powers of random knowledge. Fun and, you may learn something
Outside The Lines Podcast. OTL is a well known ESPN show that also produces this daily podcast. This focuses on the more personal side of sports.
The Bill Simmons Podcast. The most downloaded sports podcast of all time. This features celebrities and athletes discussing sports with columnist Bill Simmons.
The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Colin discusses sports with a more thought-provoking and opinionated view of the stories.
30 for 30 Podcast. Produced by the same folks who do ESPN’s 30 for 30 TV show, this podcast provides unrivalled storytelling, deeply emotional and breathtaking stories from the sports world.
The Splendid Table. Lynne Rossetto Kasper, award winning food writer and cooking teacher, discusses the deeper meaning behind food. She goes into the culture, science and history of food. This is not just an audio cookbook.
Left, Right & Center. A political podcast discussing politics, policy and pop culture. They sit down with all sides of the political spectrum and bring life, personality and cordiality back to discussing politics.
State of the Re:Union. This one focuses on how the different cities and towns in America create community. They study and discuss how the nation’s communities came into being. This can give truckers more meaning behind the destinations they may be traveling to.
There you go, enough to get you started on your new hobby of podcasting. This is such a small list, ask friends, jump in, read about more and then, find your favorites. If you are a podcast regular, why not post some of your favorites here so that everyone can enjoy them on the road.