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Photo: Current, News for People in Public Media
Truck driver Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul.

It shouldn’t be a source of wonder that anyone who drives a lot in the US should listen to National Public Radio, given that the stories are longer than other radio stations’ stories and are repeated less monotonously. So nothing but unconscious bias can account for my surprise about truckers who tune in.

Alan Yu, a producer at WHYY, reported at Current, “In July last year, long-haul truck driver Stephanie Klang got a rare speeding ticket because she was too engrossed listening to public radio.

“ ‘It’s okay, I only get a speeding ticket about once every 10 years,’ she said. ‘… It was worth it for the story.’

“She told the state patrolman that yes, she knows listening to the radio is not a valid excuse, then proceeded to tell him all about the radio show that took her mind off her speed — an episode of BackStory about the history of taxes in the U.S. after the country had just broken away from England.

“Klang has been a truck driver for 37 years, going through all 48 contiguous states, and she listens to public radio all the time. She said she used to have a small booklet listing all the public radio stations in the country, which she got as a gift for pledging support.

“ ‘I used that book until it absolutely fell apart, and I wish I’d ordered two of them now,’ she said. …

“She’s not the only truck driver who listens to NPR — far from it, according to Finn Murphy, who has been a long-haul trucker for more than 30 years.

“ ‘Every single driver I’ve ever talked to listens to NPR,’ said Murphy.

“He recently published The Long Haul, a book about his experiences. ‘If I can, I’ll schedule my driving to catch Fresh Air with Terry Gross,’ Murphy wrote. …

I’ve got a little crush on Terry, actually. It’s probably because I’ve spent more time with her than anyone else in my life.’ …

“Murphy writes that even if truckers ‘may not like the slant, if there is one,’ they still listen to public radio. …

“Fred Manale, a 55-year-old trucker from Louisiana, said he listens to public radio, though he finds it ‘disturbing.’ For example, he said NPR should not be blaming President Trump for having a connection to Russia. …

“Ray Hollister discovered public radio when he was a long-haul truck driver for a year in 2002. Now the general manager of an IT company, Hollister said the network needs to ‘speak more to the flyover states. … Do stories that affect more people than just the coast.’

“ ‘Truck drivers come from across America,’ he said. ‘They’re a pretty decent cross section of America. I knew a ton of white, black, Asian, Hispanic truck drivers, and the only thing we had in common was that we were all truck drivers.’ ”

More here.

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