Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the last five years, with more people listening in the States than anywhere else. So, which are the most popular right now?
Market research company Edison Research charts the rise and fall of the most popular podcasts using listening data, rather than solely relying on downloads.
True crime and news pods have had consistent successes in recent years, according to the market research company’s senior vice president, Tom Webster.
He told Newsweek following the latest quarterly chart release: “What I find most compelling is the strong movement by some of the independent shows on the chart.
“It’s a testament to how remarkable this medium is that both large networks and independent creators continue to be able to amass a sizable audience.”
These are the 20 most listened to podcasts in America right now:
20. The Dan Bongino Show
Right-wing political commentator and author Dan Bongino tackles issues, which according to the podcast description “debunks both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.”
Bongino, is a former Secret Service agent who protected Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who later became a fixture on Sean Hannity’s Fox show but graduated to his own primetime Saturday slot on the network.
His Facebook posts regularly top the social site’s trending charts, but earlier this year invested in Parler, a social alternative popular with conservatives before it went offline.
His podcast has moved up one position since the last chart released three months ago, breaking into the top 20.
19. WTF with Marc Maron Podcast
Stand-up comedian Marc Maron welcomes comedians, actors, directors, writers, musicians and folks from all walks of life to his home for revealing conversations.
The weekly podcast and radio show launched in September 2009. Notable guests include former President Barrack Obama, Iggy Pop or Lorne Michaels among others.
Maron’s podcast has climbed six places since the last chart.
18. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
A true crime anthology podcast hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh “Ash” Kelley, who share their fascination with serial killers and other morbid subjects.
They cover serial killers, unsolved mysteries, spooky history, paranormal happenings, conspiracy theories and “anything that sends chills down your spine and gets your mind working overtime”, the podcast creators say.
A message from the hosts on the pod’s website reads: “Together, we realized our collective knowledge of serial killers and morbid fascinations was something we could share with other kindred weirdos and thus, Morbid: A True Crime Podcast was born”.
The pod has jumped five places, up from No. 23 in the last chart three months ago.
Each episode of Radiolab tackles various philosophical, political and scientific topics, promising to “ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers.”
It founded in 2002 by composer and producer Jad Abumrad and ex- ABC News science reporter Robert Krulwich—who left the show last year.
Founder Abumrad is joined by fellow hosts Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.
16. Dateline NBC
Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.
15. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
An hour-long weekly news radio panel show in which regular panelists such as Brian Babylon, Roy Blount Jr. or Adam Burke among others, as well as occasional one-off guest panelists and contestants are quizzed in humorous ways about that week’s news.
The pod, which is produced by WBEZ and National Public Radio (NPR) in Chicago, Illinois, fell three places, from 12 to 15, since the last chart was released.
14. Up First
A daily news podcast which offers a succinct overview of three of the biggest stories of the day.
The show is hosted by Rachel Martin, Noel King, Steve Inskeep and A Martinez, with reporting and analysis from “NPR News — in 10 minutes.”
13. Fresh Air
One of public radio’s most popular programs, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is hosted by Terry Gross and features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.
Notable guests have included comedian David Sedaris, actress Mindy Kaling, writer Stephen Colbert and rapper Jay Z.
12. Planet Money
Planet Money aims to explain major economic stories.
Created by Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson, it was launched during the financial crisis of 2007–08 in the wake of the federal takeover of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Producers say of the show: “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.” .
11. The Ben Shapiro Show
This podcast and and live radio show hosted by conservative political commentator Shapiro promises to be the “most fast moving daily program in America.”
Earlier this month, during a speech on “how wokeness is destroying America” at Florida State Univeristy, Shapiro declared “if wokeness wins, it destroys the country. If wokeness loses, maybe we find a way back.”
10. Call Her Daddy
An advice and comedy podcast created by Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn.
Call Her Daddy produces provocative conversations that promote sexual liberty and personal empowerment.
It ranked at No. 11 in the last chart, but now sits inside the top-10 podcasts in the U.S.
9. Office Ladies
Hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who co-starred on the sitcom The Office as Pam Beesly and Angela Martin respectively.
The pair break down each of the show’s episodes and give exclusive behind-the-scenes stories “that only two people who were there, can tell you”.
An investigative journalism podcast hosted by journalist, public radio personality, and former producer of the television and radio program This American Life, Sarah Koenig.
Serial blends investigative journalism with non-fiction storytelling and tells one true story over the course of a season.
Serial is up one place on the previous chart, released three months ago.
7. Pod Save America
A liberal political podcast about politics hosted by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor.
It breaks down the week’s news and helps listeners figure out what matters and how they can help.
6. My Favorite Murder
A true crime comedy podcast hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.
Since its inception in early 2016, the show is a top-10 regular on iTunes’ comedy podcast chart and has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, Nylon and Rolling Stone magazine.
5. Stuff You Should Know
The podcast is hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, who educate listeners on an eclectic mix of topics, including champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, and chaos theory.
The show often uses popular culture as a reference, giving the podcast comedic value.
In October 2018, the podcast started releasing additional short episodes titled Short Stuff, where they cover topics that don’t warrant the length of a full episode.
4. This American Life
This American Life (TAL) is a weekly hour-long program and podcast hosted by Ira Glass.
Each week the show puts together different stories on a chosen theme.
It is mainly a journalistic non-fiction program but it has also featured short fiction, memoirs or essays. “Mostly we do journalism,” the producers say, “but an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot. In other words, stories!”
The show is heard by more than 2 million listeners each week on over 500 public radio stations in the U.S.
3. Crime Junkie
Crime Junkie is a weekly true crime podcast hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, who have been friends since they were babies. While growing up, they shared not only a friendship, but a passion for true crime.
Flowers has previously said “each episode takes about 30 hours per week to research, write, edit, and prepare for release”. She does all of the research with the exception of a few episodes that Prawat has taken the lead on.
Crime Junkie covers murder, missing persons, and serial killers. Flowers tells the story, while Prawat adds her perspective.
2. The Daily
A news podcast and radio show by The New York Times, hosted by political journalist Michael Barbaro.
Its episodes discuss the biggest stories of our time and are based on The Times’ reporting of the day with interviews of journalists from the New York Times.
1. The Joe Rogan Experience
Stand-up comedian and TV host Joe Rogan often courts controversy with his blunt and, at times, inflammatory presenting style.
The Joe Rogan Experience launched on December 24, 2009, and by 2015, it was one of the world’s most popular podcasts, regularly receiving millions of views per episode.