Podcasts have taken the world by storm, with listeners enjoying discussions and debates on everything from relationship problems to cold case mysteries online. But as Boomers slowly join the growing trend, many are still unaware of exactly what they are – and which ones are worth listening to.
From The Australian‘s hugely popular Teacher’s Pet, covering the cold case disappearance of Lyn Dawson, to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, sharing the star’s personal selection of interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors and health and wellness experts, there are plenty to choose from.
So, what exactly is a podcast? One Starts at 60 reader admitted: “I could be a fan if I knew what they were and how to work them.” While another added: “I have no idea what a pod cast is!!!”
Put simply, a podcast is a digital audio file anyone can turn on and listen to over the internet, or download to a computer or mobile device. Most are made as a series – almost like an audio TV documentary – and no topic is off the table. No matter what you’re interests are, there’s likely a podcast out there talking about it. Whether it’s current affairs, celebrity interviews, true crime investigations, sex, health, history or comedy – there’s all that available and more.
There are a number of websites where you can listen to podcasts, or you can use an app like the iPhone’s ‘Podcast’ app. Simply searching the name of the podcast will usually bring up a link you can click on so you can stream the podcast or download it to your device.
Here are a few of the top podcasts Aussie Boomers are listening to.
One of the most popular trends to emerge in podcasts is true crime series, with decades-old cold cases reopened among listeners as they delve through old information and clues to create theories on who could be responsible.
A great example is The Australian‘s Teacher’s Pet series which focuses on the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson. The case has become so popular it led police to new information on the case and a forensic search at her former Sydney home.
The mother-of-two was living at the property when she disappeared at the age of 33 from Sydney’s northern beaches on January 9, 1982. Now her family – including her daughter – are calling for answers, as she’s never been seen since.
The Teacher’s Pet has been downloaded more than 17 million times since its debut and has even hit number 1 on the iTunes podcast charts in several countries. It looks firstly at Lyn and Chris’ marriage, before focusing on his subsequent affair with his student lover.
Another popular true crime series is Trace, created by the ABC and focusing on the cold case murder of mother-of-two Maria James, who was stabbed to death in the back of her Melbourne bookshop in 1980. Her killer has never been found.
Like Teacher’s Pet, it runs through the case step by step looking at facts and interviews with family members and people linked to Maria at the time.
It’s not just major media companies creating them and hit weekly crime series Casefile has become a worldwide hit. It first aired in Australia in January 2016 and is hosted by an Australian man who remains anonymous.
It works primarily on famous cold cases and unlike others, the series is scripted and narrative, relying primarily on original police or mass-media documents, eyewitness accounts, and interview or public announcement recordings.
Finally, Serial is possibly one of the most popular true crime series yet. Hosted by investigative journalist Sarah Koenig, it focuses on a different victim or court case in each series. The first one took a closer look at the 1999 murder of student Hae Min Lee while series two took on the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who was held for five years by the Taliban, and then charged with desertion. Finally, season three explores cases within courthouses in the Ohio area.
Discussing everything from intimate health issues to spirituality may have been frowned upon a few decades ago, but it’s quickly becoming the norm online – with people encouraged to air their views and share their thoughts with each other.
Now, lifestyle podcasts are inviting listeners to join wide discussions on a range of issues from home life, cooking and TV, to health, romance and even ageing.
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations airs a series of Oprah Winfrey’s most treasured interviews over the years with celebrities, thought-leaders, best-selling authors and health and wellness experts, discussing love, life and the lessons they’ve learnt.
And Aussie stars are also joining in the action, as the ABC’s Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb have launched Chat 10, Looks 3. The pair invite listeners to join them as they discuss what they’re reading, watching, cooking, listening to “or irrationally exhilarated by”.
Sharing their own very personal experiences, the TV stars and journalists share a candid glimpse at their lives and aren’t afraid to push a controversial opinion on current affairs and lifestyle topics either.
Elsewhere, offering something completely different, The Allusionist podcast is hosted by writer Helen Zaltzman and focuses on exploring the English language and lexicon, with funny and educational commentary. While the subject matter itself doesn’t stand out, Zaltzman has been applauded for her humour throughout – putting a new and interesting spin on something we all take for granted.
However, there’s one podcast that will stand out to millions of over-60s around the world who are caring for a sick or elderly relative – the Senior Caregiver.
Launched by Sunrise Senior Living, the audio file is hosted by Bill Worthington and provides useful tips to help families navigate the challenges of caring for ageing loved ones.
The official website states: “This show is specially created for those seeking advice on how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory loss, and covers a range of other senior-related topics.”
Everyone loves a good debate about the news and current affairs over the dinner table, especially when it comes to a particularly controversial figure in society. And the ABC‘s podcast How Do You Sleep At Night? invites listeners to share their views like never before as ABC’s Triple J reporter Sarah McVeigh introduces a series of criminals to explain their actions.
From murderers, to abortion protestors and game hunters, the audio file allows each to have their say while presenting it with a completely unbiased opinion – leaving it in the hands of the listeners to decide.
In a sharp contrast, there’s a perfect podcast for money fans as Planet Money presents a funny, easy to listen to debate on the world’s economics. The American production, produced by NPR, claims to be “The Economy Explained”.
Moving away from money, history lovers have their own audio experience in Stuff You Missed in History Class, which delves back centuries to look at some of the key moments throughout time, from world wars to political scandals and more.
And for any movie and Hollywood enthusiasts, the You Must Remember This podcast is another trip down memory lane to Hollywood’s first century, looking at the secret and forgotten histories at the time.
The Slate Magazine production is the brainchild of Karina Longworth, who writes and narrates each episode in her home – often inviting celebrity guests on to share their own experiences with her.
Finally, you can’t beat a bit of fun trivia and Good Job, Brain! presents it perfectly – inviting listeners to test their knowledge from home. The free quiz show and offbeat trivia podcast sees the main cast play pub trivia together as a team called Baby Dog Time, named for hostess Karen Chu’s dog.