Mike Rowe's "The Way I Heard It"

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Genre: Podcast

Format: I listen via Apple Podcasts

I went to high school in a country town. I rode the school bus from freshman to senior year, bumping down what felt like hundreds of gravel roads. The ride home in the afternoon was about an hour -- mine was the last stop. On the bus ride, our driver, Bill, would turn on the radio and eventually, Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" would come on. The premise of the radio show was that Harvey would extract historical tidbits like "one of America's founding fathers who kept his wife locked in the cellar" or "a 1950s presidential candidate who killed a girl" and keep the identity a mystery until the end of each episode. If you want to listen to some episodes, there is an informal archive of The Rest of the Story episodes here.

Mike Rowe started his podcast in 2016 in the spirit of Harvey's radio spot. Rowe's episodes are generally under 12-minutes. He calls it a podcast for "a curious mind with a short attention span." 

In a recent episode, Episode 183, Rowe connects two iconic musicians in a memorable way. One of my favorite episodes was an extended bonus episode (64) where Rowe tells the story of one of Rowe's high school teachers, a guy who changed Rowe's life. 


"For at least ten seconds, he just stood there, breathing deeply, and trying to get himself under control. Then, his face cracked in half. Technically, one might describe the phenomenon as a smile. But, if the intended consequence was mirth, we'll need to settle on another term. The cruel gash that slowly opened between his nose and chin revealed a stunning rictus of rotten enamel."


For those looking to be entertained and learn something without having to invest an hour of drive time, Rowe's podcast delivers. As a writer and a music enthusiast with dry wit, snappy comedic timing, and a beautiful voice, this podcast reaches top stars for quality. 

Short stories are some of the trickiest to write because the writer has to establish the depth of characters and conflict quickly. Rowe achieves this each episode with artistry. Set up as mysteries, the typical episodes reveal the focus characters only at the end. This makes it fun to guess who Rowe might be profiling. With just enough snark, Rowe keeps the podcast relatively informal, so listening feels like listening to a sassy buddy tell a good story. 

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