There's a whole world of entertainment and information available among thousands of podcasts that are released every week.
Subjects cover anything you can think of; from news to discussions about the latest movies, music, TV shows and everything in-between.
A quick trawl through iHeartRadio.com throws up podcasts about crime, food, entertainment, hobbies, health, the paranormal, sport and news.
The great thing about podcasts is that because they are downloadable (like music) to your favourite player, you can Play them On Demand.
Episodes are free and ideal for breaking the boredom while at the gym, on the bus, jogging around the block or sitting in one of Auckland's long car parks. Learn a new language, keep up to date with new technology, fashion, books, music, listen to interviews ... you name it.
There aren't too many studies available on the popularity of podcasts — it's early days for the medium really — but Edison Research out of the United States has been tracking the trend since 2006, and this year it turned its attention to Australia.
In the first quarter of 2017, the firm conducted a telephone survey of 1007 people aged 12 and older to gauge their podcast listening habits. According to Edison, of all podcast listeners in Australia, 31 per cent are aged 55 and over, and it's likely no different in New Zealand.
The survey found that 72 per cent of people are aware of the term podcasting and of those, 29 per cent listen to them, with two thirds listening to one every month. Of all those 56 per cent are men.
Most podcasters are free to say what they like (few have advertisers to worry about), which might explain why Edison's listenership figures show the popularity of podcasts among baby boomers.
There is also a bundle of podcasts specifically aimed at boomers.
Among them is BoomerVille by Jim Enright (planetboomerville.com), which covers subjects such as health, relationships, romance, grey divorce, retirement, finances, and business ventures.
And a just-launched podcast from BoomsDayPrepping.com out of Australia is also hoping to tap into some of the world's 900 million baby boomers it says are facing a life change.
Founders of the podcast are Wayne Bucklar, who describes himself as a technologist and media person, and Dr Drew Dwyer. Their latest episode deals with empty nesting and finding space for yourself. They describe their show as independent, savvy, and focused on health, wellness, and longevity.
Bucklar says he started the podcast because he had turned 60 and started receiving market material about grey power, cruises and retirement villages — nothing he was even the slightest bit interested in.
"I don't feel old or retired and the things that interest me as a 60-year-old are not the things that are generally in the genteel retirement media," he says.
"I wanted a media service [podcast] that dealt with the gritty topics, not the topics my mother would want [she is now 89] and like a lot of boomers, I am dealing with her late-stage life and care at the same time as I am becoming third age."
Bucklar and Dwyer hope their podcast will create a discussion between them and their audience.
Bucklar says they are fearless in talking about the issues that are important to boomers. And Dwyer is particularly passionate about being prepared for ageing because of his work as a gerontologist and the ageing people he cares for who regret not being prepared.
"We want to motivate and help boomers to be well prepared for the next stage of their lives," says Bucklar. "Becoming disconnected from your community is a definite trigger for poor health, both mental and physical. Social media is an easy and low-cost way to maintain connection."
It is early days for podcasting; after all, the term wasn't coined until 2004 when journalist Ben Hammersley of The Guardian first used the phrase. Before then, these recordings were called audioblogs.
But no matter what you call them, there's an audience for every podcast, podcasters get to build relationships with their listeners and when it comes to the 'share of ear' — the amount of time people spend listening to audio — the growing army of podcasters are inadvertently giving traditional broadcast radio a run for its money. Time now for you to start searching the podcast library of your choice.
How to make a podcast
Making and sharing podcasts about your hobby and passions can be great fun, as you get to share your thoughts with listeners around the world.
The process of creating a podcast is much like writing and publishing an essay — it can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. The trick is to keep it simple and let the podcast grow organically.
To make a podcast you need a computer, microphone and basic audio-editing software. Most PCs come with free software but if you need an app for that go to audacityteam.org
You need to decide what you want to podcast about, prepare your notes of key points (not a script), and start recording. Use whatever gear you have to get started.
Having made your recording (try to make it chatty while keeping focused) and edited it to perfection, you can export it as an MP3, ideally with the specification of 96Khz mono (ideal for speech based podcasts).
With your recording finished, you need to host or store it somewhere so it can be shared with the world via podcast libraries such as iHeartRadio, iTunes, TuneIn and Spreaker. Firms offering this service include Podbean, Blubrry, and Libsyn.
With your podcast hosted you will get what's called an RSS feed which you submit to the podcast libraries of your choice.
If you aren't bothered about being on the big libraries you can simply upload your shows to SoundCloud for free.
If you are serious, you might want to create a show logo for branding purposes, and give your podcast a dedicated website, there are plenty of free options around — just Google 'free website'.
The key to a successful podcast include setting a routine, such as releasing a new podcast at the same time every week.
Once you start making podcasts you'll find your own rhythm and hopefully you'll break through the pain barrier; most podcasts don't survive seven weeks before the podcaster pulls the plug.
●Steve Hart is the author of Podcasting Made Easy, a guide to making podcasts, available on Amazon; http://a.co/2ajMshm
Happier in Hollywood
Two LA screenwriters — Liz Craft and Sarah Fain — host this engaging weekly podcast about how to be happier, healthier, more creative and productive in a fundamentally insane world.
On iHeart Radio
True-life crime podcasts are popping up everywhere and this is one of the best locally, delving into the disappearance of Amber-Lee Cruickshank.
On iHeart Radio
Rolling Stone Music Now
Hosted by Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt, this is a great weekly podcast for rock and pop lovers — covering everyone from Miley Cyrus to Bob Seger.
The Moment by Brian Koppelman
Koppelman's (right) the co-creator and show runner of the excellent Billions the third season of which launches next month. Koppelman interviews musicians, chefs, actors, writers, fellow creatives and songwriters about their artistic process and journey — songwriter Craig Finn was a recent guest.
— Greg Fleming