NPR is the most popular US podcast producer

NPR sign

Updated on December 10, 2021

Podcasts have become a prominent form of audio listening, and serve as an alternative to traditional radio. That said, traditional radio broadcasters aren’t ignoring the medium. Podcast analytics firm Podtrac reports that the top two podcast producers (by US monthly audience) are NPR and iHeartRadio.

Below’s an infographic outlining the top 10 US podcast producers. While the specific numbers date from January, the top 10’s stayed the same as of August.

Infographic by Statista.

Public radio is a prominent podcast source

The most popular podcast producer’s National Public Radio (NPR), the US’ main noncommercial radio network. It helps NPR has heavily delved into podcasting (a few missteps aside). They also offer a variety of popular shows, including “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “Ask Me Another.” NPR also promotes some niche podcasts, such as “Code Switch” (about racial issues in American society).

Other public broadcasters represented include:

  • PRX: Public Radio Exchange, which offers a variety of programs, including “Welcome to Night Vale.”
  • This American Life/Serial: The former’s a popular public radio show. Although it’s carried via PRX, it’s listed separately by Podtrac.
  • WNYC Studios: WNYC is a flagship public radio station licensed to New York City (as its call letters indicate). Programs offered by WNYC include “On the Media,” a weekly look at aspects of journalism and media.

Sports are also popular

Sports are a popular subject for podcasts, ranging from the Big Four (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) to more niche sports aspects.

  • Barstool Sports derives a third of its revenue from podcasting. From what I’ve read, Barstool’s also noted for a brash, boorish style. The company’s owner is definitely not labor-friendly—he’s come under fire (including by the New York State Department of Labor) for tweeting anti-union remarks.
  • ESPN also has a podcast presence.

And the rest

As for the others:

  • Wondery produces several podcasts, including “Business Wars,” a podcast looking at the history of various business traditions. One episode covered how early TV cartoon characters came to endorse cereal (the Trix rabbit, Rocky and Bullwinkle for General Mills, etc.).
  • The New York Times offers some podcasts.
  • Daily Wire produces conservative podcasts, including those of Ben Shapiro (a former Breitbart editor).
  • iHeartRadio. The #2 podcast producer, and NPR’s polar opposite as a dominant commercial radio station owner. As I wrote before, they really want in on the podcasting game, which includes relying on their numerous stations.

“NPR headquarters” by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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