05 Sep Podcasts for Seniors
According to Variety,”2017 was the biggest year yet for podcasts, which have exploded in popularity recently. . . 42 million people . . . have listened to a podcast in the past week.”
That’s a lot of podcast listeners! But who are these people? Teenagers? Grandparents?
Here’s a helpful infographic from Edison Research broken down by age:
As you can see, the largest group of monthly podcast consumers is adults aged 18-34 who make up 44%. The next largest group is adults aged 35-54 who account for 33%. Seniors come in third at 16%. That’s a pretty big piece of the pie but we’d like to see that number grow even larger! Why? Podcasts may have special benefits for seniors:
According to Kimberly Fowler, A Place for Mom, “Emma Rodero, a communications professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, found that, like reading, listening to audio allows people to create their own versions of characters and scenes in the story. But listening, unlike looking at a written page, is more active, since the brain has to process the information at the pace it is played. Listening to podcasts is particularly useful for seniors because it activates different areas of the brain in ways that are conducive to better brain health.”
A recent study concluded that nearly half of non-listeners don’t listen to podcasts because they don’t know how or where to look for them. It stands to reason that as seniors become more comfortable with technology, they’ll listen to more podcasts.
That’s where we come in. Livetech is committed to empowering seniors with fun, hands-on technology workshops. Our Intro and Beyond the Basics classes help older adults get comfortable with smartphones and tablets (which are the most common devices used to access podcasts).
With over 500,000 active podcasts currently available on Apple, there is truly something for everyone! But the sheer volume of podcasts can be a bit overwhelming.
So here’s a list of some of our personal favorites which we think seniors might enjoy:
- This American Life Ira Glass hosts one of the most popular podcasts of all time. From their website: “Mostly we do journalism, but an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot. In other words, stories! Our favorite sorts of stories have compelling people at the center of them, funny moments, big feelings, surprising plot twists, and interesting ideas. Like little movies for radio.”
- Radiolab Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, RadioLab is one of those shows that will make you feel smart and arm you with fascinating dinner party conversation. According to their website, Radiolab is “a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”
- All of the Above This entertaining podcast is hosted by one of our favorite seniors, 95 year old Norman Lear. From Apple: “an enlightening ride of conversation, from comedy to family, current events, music, politics, social issues and more. . . the show will always feature the unique perspectives of celebrities, politicians and everyday folk. . . World War II veteran, writer, producer, director, and creator of such legendary sitcoms as All In The Family . . . One Day at a Time . . . and many others that defined and revolutionized American television, Lear brings his progressive and boundary-moving voice to the microphone with this rare and intimate weekly conversation.”
- Freakonomics Radio From Sticher:” Inspired by the books of the same name, Freakonomics Radio is hosted by Stephen Dubner, with co-author Steve Levitt. An award-winning podcast exploring “the hidden side of everything”. From the economy, headline news to pop culture. Available weekly on demand from WNYC Public Radio.”
- Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations If you’re fan of Oprah (and who isn’t?), this is the podcast for you. From Apple: “Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.”
- The Daily A popular news podcast. From their website: “This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.”
- Dirty John This true crime story will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first episode to the totally surprising and deeply satisfying conclusion. From their website: “Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.”
- Fresh Air Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.
- Planet Money You’ll want to check out this podcast if you’re interested in the economy (and maybe even if you aren’t). It’s not nearly as boring as it sounds! From Apple: “The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening.”
- TED Radio Hour If you love TED Talks, you’ll love TED Radio Hour. From the website: “From NPR, the Ted Radio Hour brings you fascinating and insightful speakers on a broad range of topics from global issues such as fighting hunger to individual journeys into the source of happiness. Based on the phenomenal TED Talks series, the show is hosted by Guy Raz and available on demand in weekly episodes.”
Plus, you can visit Sticher for an up-to-date list of the 100 most popular podcasts.