Podcasts to wrap your ears around

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New Zealand leads the world in podcast listening and it’s not just an activity for young people – seniors are increasingly tuning in too.

The latest Infinite Dial 2023 New Zealand study, carried out by Edison Research and released by the Radio Broadcasters Association, shows that 46 percent of Kiwis say they have listened to a podcast in the last month. That compares to 43 percent in Australia and 42 percent in the US.

And seniors are growing as a proportion of this. The percentage of Kiwis aged 55+ that listened to a podcast in the last month went up from 25 percent in 2022 to 32 percent last year.

If podcasts are something you haven’t gotten into yet, they are well worth checking out. It’s just like on-demand radio, with the programmes often free, and easy to download. We’ve rounded up some impressive offerings for you to try out if you haven’t already.

This American Life – WBEZ Chicago, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange

If you’re a fan of quality storytelling that tackles big and little issues from novel and fascinating angles then This American Life could be for you. Each week it chooses a theme and puts together stories with different takes on that theme, in different ‘acts’. It attracts 3.5 million listeners a week and has won an array of awards. If you’re new to it, check out their curated list of past podcasts at New to This American Life?

Grey Areas  – Rova with Petra Bagust

You may remember Petra Bagust from our TV screens, including as a previous host of TVNZ’s Breakfast show. Each week she brings a different guest on to discuss a topic associated with “growing up and going grey” in Aotearoa. The focus is on how we can ‘do’ aging well and she aims to get into some of the more “chewy”, less clear-cut issues involved with aging. Guests have included Wendyl Nissan, Karen Walker, and Robyn Malcolm.

You’re Dead to Me – BBC Radio 4

If you’re a history fan, but like a bit of humour with it, this could be the podcast for you. Each week British public historian and broadcaster Greg Jenner delves into topics as diverse as old Norse literature, Catherine the Great and Victorian body building. Supported by a history expert and a comedian, you’re bound to learn something, while getting a good laugh in at the same time.

The Detail – RNZ

You don’t have to go overseas to find well-made audio content. We make some amazing stuff right here in NZ.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) is home to a range of great podcasts including The Detail, which is made by Newsroom for RNZ. It’s released on the RNZ website six days a week and is perfect for those who like to keep up with current affairs, but like a bit more depth. It picks one issue a day that it delves into.

History’s Secret Heroes – BBC

If You’re Dead to Me sounds appealing, then you may well enjoy History’s Secret Heroes from the BBC. Focused on World War Two, it tells extraordinary tales of deception, acts of resistance and courage that you’ve likely not come across before. Told by celebrated actress Helena Bonham Carter, it’s well worth your listening time.

Thrift – RNZ

Struggling with the cost of living? Then this new podcast on the RNZ block could be for you. Thrift is described as “the place to get positive tips to trim costs and to share your own.” It offers lively discussions, and hands-on hints and says it is on a mission to meet people who are saving money and to help build a community that can do the same.

Second Life

With a focus on stories about inspiring women who’ve made major career changes, this podcast aims to inspire those of us tackling new directions later in life. Host Hillary Kerr interviews an array of women, with even celebs like Victoria Beckham and actress Reese Witherspoon on the list.

Personal finance interview with Liz KohNine to Noon, RNZ

Our own Liz Koh is regularly interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme. She has covered everything from building wealth for retirement to managing finances within an age gap couple. You can find the recordings on RNZ and listen as often as you like!

Gone Fishing – Stuff and RNZ

A particularly popular podcast genre at present is true crime – and New Zealand makes some great podcasts in this area.

This includes Gone Fishing, which is centred on Gail Maney, who spent 15 years in jail for ordering the 1989 murder of young Auckland tyre-fitter Deane Fuller-Sandys. However, Maney maintains she never knew Fuller-Sandys. In fact, she thinks he wasn’t even murdered.

Feel Better Live More – Dr Rangan Chatterjee

If you’re after the latest in health tips and tricks, then Feel Better Live More provides plenty to inspire you to look after yourself better and new health ideas to ponder. It’s the number one health podcast in the UK and Europe, with a new edition released each week.  

How do I listen in to podcasts?

You’ll need to be online either on your mobile device or computer. You can then listen in from the podcast’s website, or through a streaming service such as SpotifyApple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

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