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

We've also made available a year-end ranking for 2018: the Top 10 New Podcasts of 2018.

iab compliant seal.png

Our Rankings use proprietary and consistent measurement methodology to allow apples-to-apples comparison of podcast audience sizes. Podtrac measurement has been given an official “seal of approval” by the IAB Tech Lab as compliant with the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines Version 2.0.  Read About the Podcast Industry Audience Rankings to learn more about how the rankings are compiled.

 To get the updated Rankings delivered to your in-box each month, Sign Up for the Podtrac blog.

top publishers


Podcast Industry Ranking Highlights
Top 10 Podcast Publishers
US Audience: September 2019
Rank Podcast Publisher US Unique Monthly Audience Global Downloads & Streams Active Shows
1 NPR 23,622,000 151,375,000 67
2 iHeartRadio 22,275,000 147,123,000 268
3 PRX 10,753,000 75,402,000 83
4 New York Times 10,046,000 65,150,000 10
5 Wondery 9,086,000 47,664,000 83
6 Barstool Sports 8,229,000 36,684,000 34
7 ESPN 7,461,000 51,391,000 69
8 WNYC Studios 5,921,000 28,822,000 53
9 This American Life/Serial 5,658,000 19,979,000 2
10 Kast Media 5,142,000 25,759,000 54

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.

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

Designates Podtrac Verified publishers. These publishers have undergone an extensive reivew of their implementations of the Podtrac Measurement System signifying their commitment to transparency in podcast measurement. Learn more at Podtrac.com

Note: As of April 2019, Global Downloads and Streams reflect updates to Podtrac’s measurement algorithm and are not directly comparable to months prior to April 2019. Unique Monthly Audience numbers were not impacted by this update.

Top podcasts

Podcast Industry Ranking
Top 20 Podcasts
US Audience: September 2019
Rank Podcast Publisher
1 The Daily The New York Times
2 This American Life This American Life/Serial
3 Stuff You Should Know iHeartRadio
4 Up First NPR
5 The Ben Shapiro Show Daily Wire
6 Pardon My Take Barstool Sports
7 Call Her Daddy Barstool Sports
8 Planet Money NPR
9 TED Radio Hour NPR
10 Hidden Brain NPR
11 RadioLab WNYC Studios
12 Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! NPR
13 Fresh Air NPR
14 Freakonomics Freakonomics
15 TED Talks Daily PRX
16 The Ron Burgundy Podcast iHeartRadio
17 How I Built This NPR
18 NPR Politics Podcast NPR
19 Fantasy Focus Football ESPN
20 Sword and Scale Kast Media

Ranking is based on Podtrac measurement data for Unique US Monthly Audience. Ranking includes shows that participate in Podtrac measurement for the full month for which the ranking is being released.

Designates Podtrac Verified show. Publishers of these shows have undergone an extensive review of their implementation of the Podrac Measurement System demonstrating their commitment to transparency in podcast measurement. Learn more at Podtrac.com

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



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

For the monthly Top Publishers Ranking, UMA is the number of audience members  who listen to any shows published by a given publisher in that 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 monthly 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.

Our year-end rankings are based on average unique U.S. downloads per episode.

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 ranking of all top podcasts which measure with Podtrac.   

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.