About Rumble Strip

Photo by Terry J. Allen

 

Erica Heilman invites herself into people’s homes to find out what they know, hate, love, what they’re afraid of, and what makes them more like you than you’d realized. These are messy, obsessively crafted stories of the everyday.

Rumble Strip’s Finn and the Bell won a Peabody Award in 2022. The Our Show series was named the #1 podcast of 2020 by The Atlantic. For more information about the show, visit the press page where other writers are more articulate about Erica’s show than she is.

Erica’s independent radio work has aired on NPR, Hearing Voices, SOUNDPRINT, CBC, BBC, KCRW’s UnFictional, KCRW’s Lost Notes, and on major public radio affiliates across the country.

“It’s rough, raw, unpolished, yet crafted and utterly true.”

–New York Times, 2020

 

Please Donate!

I make this show in my closet, mostly on donations. If you can afford to contribute, I’d be grateful. Just click here and you know that every dime goes straight to me and this production and into the gas tank in my car. Thank you!

Want to read more? Check out some of the press the show has gotten on our Shameless Self-Promotion page.

Gallery of Excellent Listeners

 

Wendy Morrill, host of MetaPod, lives in Amsterdam, but is REALLY from New Hampshire.

Forrest Foster who will never see this picture because he doesn’t have internet. Hardwick, VT

Liam in Ireland looking thoughtfully into the middle distance…

GaryDever

An awesome picture of Gary in Minneapolis.

My boy wearing the colors.

Sam Wolff, Durham NC!

Charlie and Mima!!! Burlington, VT.

Willie and Sons! Soon to be Charlotte, Vermont.

Tristan’s awesome van in Tasmania.

Robin and Jesse at
summit of Mt Burns, Fiordland, New Zealand.

A young man in Halifax who also happens to be my nephew, Andrew.


This is Nick Paley. He used to live in Vermont but now he lives in Los Angeles where he does things like make films.


Tristan and Josie in Tasmania!

Dave and Ali, Sargent Mountain in Acadia Nat’l Park, “baby bump” announcement!

Collaborators

Miette

Mother of Whiskey Tit, a publishing company restoring degeneracy to the literary arts.

Larry Massett

The source of all good ideas. And he plays the piano.

Scott Carrier

He's a professional. I'm never really sure where he is.

Kindred Spirits

Hearing Voices

Some of the best stories. Anywhere.

Whisk(e)y Tit

Restoring degradation and degeneracy to the literary arts.

Home of the Brave

My all-time favorite podcast. Forever and ever amen.

Transom

The birthing place of experimental radio.

29 Comments

  1. Ruth
    Ruth November 22, 2013 at 9:55 am | | Reply

    It’s great. I love the interviews. I heard about your deer stories on Front Porch Forum. I saved the site to play it for my son when he came in from hunting. Thank you. I keep going back to listen to more interviews. I love those voices. It’s good the way you let people loose to tell you what they want to tell you.

  2. Charlene
    Charlene May 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm | | Reply

    I love the shows. They give me an entirely new perspective on Vermont and the people who live there.

  3. Cynthia
    Cynthia April 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm | | Reply

    Rumble Strip Vermont sounds like home to me. I like VPR for news but it doesn’t get at the subtler currents running through Vermont culture and living. This show does. I grew up in Vermont and married out of state so now I’m only there in the summers. I listen to Rumble Strip Vermont while I cook and it reminds me of home. Thank you so much. Keep going!

  4. Carol Rousseau
    Carol Rousseau June 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm | | Reply

    So happy to have found this! It took me back to the early 90’s when Greg Sharrow hired me to transcribe his interviews just like these, in people’s homes, listening for must be hundreds of hours to the wonderful people in Vermont. Please give Greg a big hug for me, I thank him for giving me the best job ever that enabled me to stay home with the kids.

  5. Fiona
    Fiona July 29, 2015 at 2:57 pm | | Reply

    I am a literature student based in Dublin, Ireland. I came across your podcast through Scott Carrier’s Home of the Brave. I wanted to write to you to express how much I love it. I appreciate the range of people that you interview and your insightful, thought-provoking questions. I always look forward to listening to Rumble Strip Vermont. So much of life is about stories. I feel that you are exceptionally capable at teasing them out of the people you meet. You have made me realise just how varied and complex the human race is. Thank you and I hope that you continue to have the opportunity to keep up the brilliant work that you are doing!

    –Fiona

  6. Heidi Schmidt
    Heidi Schmidt September 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm | | Reply

    Hi Erica,

    Great article about Fred. When I was out in Vermont last Fall I had the good fortune to meet him. I love the people who live in the Northeast Kingdom. Everybody I’ve met is so creative and so active and really enjoy their lives.

    Thought you might be interested in my blog post about Fred.
    http://littleusatrips.org/2014/09/19/fred-webster-a-man-with-a-vision/

    I’ve posted about quite a few people and places in Vermont.

    Again, great article and I’ll be following you.

    Heidi

  7. Will
    Will October 16, 2015 at 10:09 am | | Reply

    My name is Will, I live in London, England. I love your show. I’ve never been to Vermont but your show has painted it as this beautiful, friendly, homely place. So much so that often when I am listening to your interviews I wish I could visit myself – particularly during the frequent moments when the bustle of London gets too much for me.

    Your shows are a bit of an escape for me. An escape that makes me feel warm, and that there are good people in the world.

    Please keep up the great work you are doing.

    Kind Regards,

  8. Mark
    Mark April 25, 2016 at 10:58 am | | Reply

    I have been in love with Vermont since I came here in 1965. When you love something you have to love the good and the bad. And I love all things Vermont unconditionally.

    In that vein let me thank you so much for Jesse and Muskrat Trapper. I wish Jesse the life she deserves. And may there always be a place in the world for a Muskrat Trapper.

    All the Best,

    Mark

  9. Representative Barbara Rachelson
    Representative Barbara Rachelson January 14, 2017 at 6:25 pm | | Reply

    Just discovered Rumble Strip this past week and am excited to go back on listen to Erica’s other shows. Ironically, this week’s Rumble Strip kept being talked about by my colleagues at the state house throughout the day. How lucky we are to have Erica’s talent right here in Vermont. In looking at the Rumble Strip website, there are so many of the former shows that I am eager to hear. Thanks for helping me to look forward to my commute now!

  10. Thalia
    Thalia January 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm | | Reply

    A friend passed on the URL to the Vaughn Hood piece. I listened twice as it was about as perfect a podcast as I’ve heard in a long time. I was particularly struck by your choice to dispense with the audio “embroidery” and just let the man speak. It was stark, naked, and moving without all the usual little bits of establishing sound and music cues telegraphing what emotions we were supposed to feel. Your self-effacing editing where we didn’t have an interviewer asking questions was also notable. Thank you for presenting his voice alone and trusting us to go with it.

  11. Mary
    Mary March 11, 2017 at 11:14 am | | Reply

    I am just writing to say how much I love this conversation you are engaging in for all of us. I love the pace, the quirky and human characters you bring to us. My particular favorites have been Leland, the Neighborhood and Dunkin’ Donuts. The humanity you bring to difficult issues, ie. seasonal depression, is incredible.

    Just so you know, this is the first fan letter I have ever written to a radio show :).

  12. Ginny Wathen Teegarden
    Ginny Wathen Teegarden April 11, 2017 at 11:46 pm | | Reply

    I feel like I’ve stumbled across a gem of a show. Thank you for your thoughtful program. I look forward to listening to it more than any of my other podcasts.

  13. Tina
    Tina April 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm | | Reply

    I just found out about this show this week. I’ve been binging, but not too quickly. They’re stories you want to spend some time with.

  14. Mark Boyden
    Mark Boyden April 20, 2017 at 6:57 pm | | Reply

    Was just driving home while listening to the episode “Helping your friend to die”. Wow. And I mean Wow. There are times when certain things just drive right into your heart, and this was one of those times. Thank you very much for the not only in depth but truly heartfelt reporting- this was worthy of any national award period.

  15. Sebastian
    Sebastian July 30, 2017 at 8:46 am | | Reply

    Hi Erica,
    My name is Sebastian and i live in Berlin, Germany. I listen to your podcast for half a year now, love it and finally donated a little not just to support but to show you that your work really means a lot to me. I listen to it at work in the supermarket before we open, when i prepare everything. Sometimes on my bike when i deliver food (i shouldn’t, i know).
    I love how sensitive, how real you do your interviews, without going for the quick tear as all the other ones. I mostly listen to American podcast, you guys are just better at entertainment i guess, and a show like yours is of course nowhere to be found. I sometimes dream about doing it as you do, but i know that there is so much work and skill behind the curtain that it would just be naive.
    Well, too many words. Thank you very much. I’ll try to give more in the future.
    Yours,
    Sebastian

  16. Brenna
    Brenna July 30, 2017 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    We, Brenna and Laura, have been enjoying breakfast together once a week for 6 months, and recently, we have been skipping the actual ordering of food and donating to organizations that we love. We LOVE your podcast and just donated to Rumble Strip. Brenna told Laura about the show and now we both listen and compare our thoughts about episodes. Thank you for your courageous and thoughtful interviews! We appreciate your honesty and realness in the show. We look forward to more episodes of Rumble Strip!

    Fondly,

    Brenna and Laura

  17. Kris Hart
    Kris Hart June 17, 2018 at 7:25 am | | Reply

    I have stumbled across this podcast series by accident and i think its truly fantastic. Just listened to the Barry Forbes episode and I now can finally resolve Elma Fudds accent (by no means any offence to Barry is intended).

  18. Annie
    Annie August 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm | | Reply

    This is the BEST podcast! I look forward to your episodes more than any other podcasts I subscribe to. Always thoughtful and meaningful in so many ways. You truly have a gift. I hope you continue this for many years to come.

  19. Dan
    Dan September 21, 2018 at 2:01 pm | | Reply

    Hi Erica – So I’m wearing my brand new t-shirt and walk into the gas station in town. There’s a guy behind me in line looking like he’s had a long day hard at work on the farm or in the woods and just wants to get his beer and go. The guy behind the counter asks “Rumblestrip, it’s a podcast?” and before I can launch into my description of your show, the guy behind me says, “yeah it’s a great show.” That pretty much covered it.

    You reach a wide audience and we love what you’re doing.

    Dan

  20. Gil Orosco
    Gil Orosco February 21, 2020 at 6:41 pm | | Reply

    Just heard your news about your father. I am sending condolences and a warm hug.

  21. Barbara Finch
    Barbara Finch August 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm | | Reply

    Just listened to a Winnie’s interview. She is my neighbor and friend, and just when I think I couldn’t love her more, she goes and does this! You rock, sister.

  22. Julie
    Julie February 9, 2021 at 8:22 am | | Reply

    I love Rumblestrip. I especially learned from your turning 50 episode – so great to hear you and friends and family reflecting on the intricacies of becoming a bit older. My listen reminded me of turning 60 and finding the experience bitter and full of dashed expectations. And that resulted in constructing an adventure around turning 70 that might have gone awry, but, instead, it resulted in some new insights about being me and how to be a better me.

    Thank you, thank you. I think that many of your episodes lead us to be better at who we are and what it is to be in our own skin in Vermont right now.

  23. LISE GAGNON
    LISE GAGNON April 23, 2022 at 11:45 am | | Reply

    I discovered Rumble Strip by listening to the episode about “Town Hall” on 99% Invisible. What an happy discovery! I’ve been listening to an episode a day since then (about a week ago). The episode called “Sing your job” gave me the idea to try it at work with my co-workers and ask them to sing their day, or their week or a difficult incident. We work for public social housing, and we see difficult situations on a daily basic, so I though it would be a good way to lighten up the mood.
    I live in Québec city, pprovince of Québec, so we’re neighbors 🙂
    I can not thank you enough for offering to our ears and hearts such conforting humanity.
    And “Finn and the bell”… Precious!

  24. Jen Spafford Danish
    Jen Spafford Danish July 7, 2022 at 3:23 pm | | Reply

    Erica,

    My long-lost pal from adolescence. I have been listening and loving this amazing program you have let out into the world. It exudes you and your lovely soul so well. I had heard about your Peabody award and Finn and the Bell and I was saving it for a moment when I thought I could listen. I knew it would make the floodgates open. That day was July 4 in the car with my husband and we both wept out loud listening. And then we talked about it and you on a hike in rural Virginia. I told about how we met – Model UN geeks that we were – and how we maintained a connection being in different high schools. How I loved your parents and your sister and the notes we would leave each other in lockers at my high school when you had orchestra practice there. How old-fashioned. You were always so special to me and now to hear you connect with these stories and the people of beloved Vermont. It makes me sad I’m not your neighbor or helping you on this show! I had to pass on a greeting and let you know how impressed and comforted I am by your work. And I’d love to see you in person someday again soon.

    Love Jen

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