Podtrac currently publishes two Podcast Industry Rankings each month: the Top 20 Podcasts and the Top 10 Podcast Publishers. 

Our Rankings use proprietary and consistent measurement methodology to allow apples-to-apples comparison of podcast audience sizes.

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Top podcasts

Podcast Industry Ranking
Top 20 Podcasts
US Audience: October 2017
Rank Podcast Publisher
1 This American Life This American Life/Serial
2 The Daily The New York Times
3 Up First NPR
4 RadioLab WNYC Studios
5 Stuff You Should Know HowStuffWorks
6 TED Radio Hour NPR
7 Planet Money NPR
8 Fresh Air NPR
9 Trending Songs: Pop iHeartMedia
10 Freakonomics WNYC Studios
11 Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! NPR
12 The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe MRW Productions
13 Hidden Brain NPR
14 Radiolab Presents: More Perfect WNYC Studios
15 Pardon My Take Barstool Sports
16 Dirty John Wondery
17 The Joe Rogan Experience* Joe Rogan
18 NPR Politics Podcast NPR
19 How I Built This NPR
20 Pod Save America* Crooked Media

Ranking is based on Podtrac measurement data for Unique Monthly Audience for shows that measure with Podtrac. Shows on the Ranking which do not measure with Podtrac are denoted with an asterisk (*). Ranking of these shows is determined by a proprietary Podtrac algorithm which uses publicly available data.

Podtrac measurement is free to use by any podcast. Vist Podtrac.com for more information.

top publishers

Podcast Industry Ranking Highlights
Top 10 Podcast Publishers
US Audience: November 2017
Rank Podcast Publisher US Unique Monthly Audience Global Unique Streams & Downloads Active Shows
1 NPR 17,009,000 111,394,000 41
2 iHeartMedia 15,826,000 47,084,000 603
3 WNYC Studios 8,285,000 43,703,000 45
4 PRX 6,389,000 44,512,000 34
5 ESPN 5,747,000 38,652,000 81
6 This American Life/Serial 5,339,000 19,594,000 3
7 HowStuffWorks 5,158,000 51,028,000 19
8 New York Times 4,286,000 24,615,000 8
9 Wondery 4,051,000 22,375,000 58
10 Barstool Sports 3,004,000 20,817,000 23

Total mobile and desktop US podcast audience.

Unique Monthly Audience:
Total of unique audience members who stream or download publisher's podcast content across all shows they produce.
Unique Streams & Downloads:
Total unique streams and downloads of podcast content for the month across all shows produced by publisher.
Active Shows:
Count of shows produced by publisher and measured by Podtrac which contribute to the totals in the Ranking.
Podcast Publisher:
An entity or individual which owns, creates and publishes podcasts.

Note: Ranking data only includes publishers that participate in Podtrac measurement for the full month for which the ranking is being released.



Podtrac’s Rankings are based on U.S. Unique Monthly Audience (UMA).  UMA is a count of individual audience members for a given month.  

For the Top Publishers Ranking, UMA is the number of audience members  who listen to any shows published by a given publisher in a month. Individuals may listen to multiple shows or multiple episodes of shows from a publisher in a month, but they are only counted once in the UMA metric.

For the Top Podcasts Ranking, UMA is the number of audience members who listened to the show in the given month. Individuals may listen to multiple episodes of a podcast in a month but are only counted once in the UMA metric.

Which PUblishers and podcasts are INCLUDED IN THE RANKINGs?

The Podcast Industry Audience Ranking of the Top 10 Publishers includes producers and publishers who create, own and distribute podcasts.  Groups that do not produce content, such as ad and content networks, are not included in our ranking.  In order for a publisher to be considered for inclusion in the ranking, they must use the Podtrac measurement system for their shows, and Podtrac must have at least 30 days of data for the publisher. 

The Podcast Industry Audience Ranking of the Top 20 Podcasts is a comprehensive ranking of top podcasts.   It includes both shows which measure with Podtrac and those which do not.  Shows which do not measure with Podtrac are denoted with an asterisk (*) on the report.   Ranking of these shows is determined by a proprietary Podtrac algorithm which uses publicly available data.

How Does Podtrac Define "Podcast?"

Podtrac adheres to the Wikipedia technical definition endorsed by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB):

“A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio files which a user can download and listen to. It is often available for subscription, so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player.”

Podtrac makes no judgements based on non-technical factors such as type of content or episode length.


Use of the Podtrac measurement system and inclusion in the Industry Audience Ranking reports is free to all publishers. Use of Podtrac measurement ensures consideration for the Top Publisher Ranking and assures the most accurate representation of a show’s ranking for the Top Podcasts Ranking.


Podtrac's ranking of top podcasts is based on the unique U.S. monthly audience  of each show. This ranking by audience size is useful to advertisers and those in the podcast industry who want to know which shows achieved the largest US audience during the previous month. iTunes ranks podcasts based on inputs such as the volume of recent subscriptions.  The iTunes rankings are useful to podcast listeners who want to discover new and trending podcasts.


Our first publisher ranking is of the Top 10 Publishers and our first podcast ranking is of the Top 20 Podcasts. We’ll be expanding those rankings in the coming months. To be considered for the Top Publishers Ranking and to be assured of the most accurate representation of your show on the Top Podcasts Ranking,  register with Podtrac and start using the free Podtrac Measurement Service. 


The unique monthly audience count per show is now available on the Podtrac Publisher Dashboard for all registered publishers with at least one podcast with more than 1,000 unique global audience members.  By registering for the free Podtrac Measurement System, you'll have access to your show's unique monthly audience as soon as your show reaches this audience size.

I thought Serial or other podcasts would be ranked higher in the top podcast ranking

Some podcasts like Serial publish on a seasonal schedule which results in their unique monthly audience being larger during the "season" (months when they post new episodes).  Each Top Podcast Ranking is based on the audience counts achieved during the most recent month only.  

Can I get a report of the Unique Monthly Audience numbers for the Podcasts on the ranking?

Podtrac does not publish the unique monthly audience or download numbers for individual shows. If you are an advertiser interested in any of the shows on the Ranking, contact the show publisher and ask for their unique monthly audience metric, or visit AuthenticShows.com to request a media plan for your brand.

What other ranking reports are coming up?

We currently publish a Top 10 Publishers Ranking and a Top 20 Podcasts Ranking. Each ranking is updated monthly. We will be expanding both of these rankings to include more publishers and shows in the coming months.

How can I keep up to date on the current Rankings?

Be sure to subscribe to the Podtrac Blog to keep up to date on the Podcast Industry Audience rankings as they are published  each month.