Overdrive magazine has partnered with PRX’s Radiotopia podcast network for an audio series debuting Feb. 20. “Over the Road” is hosted and narrated by Moeller Trucking driver and former longtime owner-operator Paul Marhoefer, regular contributor to the Overdrive Extra blog and a singer-songwriter increasingly well-known in the trucking community. Through eight episodes geared toward both trucking and general public audiences, the podcast gives voice to the trials, tribulations and bedrock realities of the men and women hauling freight on American roads.
“When I hear most trucking programming today,” says Marhoefer, “what I hear is someone selling a version of trucking” that often doesn’t comport with truckers’ reality. “In some cases, the story gets uncomfortable, but our first agenda is to try to give people the unaltered story, to convey these stories that drivers have entrusted us with.”
Julie Shapiro, executive producer for Radiotopia and “Over the Road,” was drawn to the project in talks spanning several years with Overdrive Senior Editor Todd Dills as one with potential to stand out from the network’s other critically acclaimed projects. She’d become well aware of the “value and the impact of letting people tell their own stories,” Shapiro says, “of seeing a culture and a place from the inside of it.”
Partnering with Overdrive proved effective toward that end. Building a bridge between the highway haulers who read the magazine and the millions of listeners in Radiotopia’s network became part of the project’s core mission.
“There’s nothing like ‘Over the Road’ out there,” Shapiro says. “We see how audio can really change people’s hearts and minds about things, give them a sense of empathy and understanding about others who aren’t like them.” That’s the goal for general public listeners, but “we can offer that to those who are connected to trucking, too.”
The hope is “we’re doing both audiences a service by introducing them to each other,” she adds.
Former longtime independent Marhoefer, currently pulling tankers and reefers as a company driver for Indiana-based Moeller Trucking, appreciates Radiotopia’s external perspective. “They took these raw stories, and they added a certain value to them,” he says. “They added context and helped frame an overarching narrative to these stories. It took the involvement of trucking outsiders to make this.”
Find various options to subscribe to the podcast via OvertheRoad.fm.