Top 10 New Podcasts of 2018
Podtrac's ranking of top new podcasts for 2018 is based on average U.S. downloads per episode across all listening devices and ranks podcasts which were published for the first time in 2018.
#1 Dr. Death - Wondery
We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications, and the system failed to protect them. Which begs the question: who - or what - is that system meant to protect? From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is a story about a charming surgeon, 33 patients and a spineless system. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.
#2 Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football, Inc. - Wondery
Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes. From Wondery, the podcast team that brought you Dr. Death, Spotlight asks: Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control? Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game.
#3 Happy Face - iHeartRadio
For Melissa Moore, 1995 was a nightmare. That’s the year the teenager learned her father, Keith Hunter Jesperson, was a serial killer. It’s also the year Melissa Moore’s doubt spiral began: When you look like your father, and you share his intelligence and charisma, how do you know you’re not a psychopath, too? Happy Face is the story of Keith Hunter Jesperson, his brutal crimes, and the cat and mouse game he played with detectives and the media. But it’s also the story of the horrific legacy he gifted his children. Join Melissa Moore as she investigates her father’s crimes, reckons with the past, and wades through her darkest fears as she hunts for a better future.
#4 Bag Man - MSNBC
Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember? To have one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American history play out before the country while nobody’s paying attention? In her first original podcast, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes back 45 years to dig into a story that got overshadowed in its day. There’s intrigue. Corruption. Envelopes of cash delivered to the White House. It’s a story that’s not well known, but it probably should be. Especially today. Bag Man. A Rachel Maddow podcast from MSNBC.
#5 Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard - Dax Shepard
Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.
#6 WorkLife with Adam Grant - TED
You spend a quarter of your life at work, so shouldn’t you enjoy it? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside some of the world’s most unusual workplaces to discover the keys to better work. Whether you’re learning how to love criticism or trust a co-worker you can’t stand, one thing’s for sure: You’ll never see your job the same way again.
#7 This is Love - PRX
From the makers of the award-winning podcast Criminal, This is Love investigates life’s most persistent mystery. Stories of sacrifice, obsession, and the ways in which we bet everything on each other.
#8 Unobscured - iHeartRadio
History is full of stories we think we know. They are old and dark, but time has robbed us of perspective and clarity. They've become obscured and misunderstood. Which is why this series exists: to dig deep and shed light on some of history’s darkest moments. To help us better understand where we’ve come from. To make it Unobscured. Each season pairs narrative storytelling from Aaron Mahnke, creator of the hit podcast Lore, with prominent historian interviews. Season One: The Salem Witch Trials
#9 Oprah's Master Class - OWN
Hear the greatest life lessons of some of the most respected and renowned actors, musicians, public figures and athletes. Handpicked by Oprah, these luminaries reveal their lives with candor and insight — in their own words. Listen as Jay -Z, Justin Timberlake, Ellen Degeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Reba McEntire, Dwayne Johnson and Jane Fonda, (just to name a few), share what they’ve learned about life and their own insights into their personal stories.
#10 Caliphate - New York Times
In the war on terror, who is it that we’re really fighting? “Caliphate” follows Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times, on her quest to understand ISIS. Producer: Andy Mills; Reporters: Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills; Managing Producer: Larissa Anderson; Editors: Wendy Dorr and Larissa Anderson; Associate Producer: Asthaa Chaturvedi; Technical Director: Brad Fisher; Executive Producer, NYT Audio: Lisa Tobin; Editorial Director, NYT Audio: Samantha Henig; Assistant Managing Editor, NYT: Sam Dolnick; Music: William Brittelle, Andy Mills, Nate Henricks, Cliff Martinez, Brad Fisher, Taku Sugimoto and David Wingo
Ranking includes both Podtrac measured and un-measured shows. Podtrac uses a proprietary algorithm to estimate download data for unmeasured shows.
In addition to year-end rankings, Podtrac 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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