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January’s Winners: ‘This American Life’ Joins Top 10; ‘This Past Weekend’ Joins Top 20.

Powered by a 24% jump in its unique monthly audience and a 22% increase in downloads last month, the standalone This American Life podcast was one of the big winners in January as podcast listening picked back up. It rode the wave to advance three spots and enter the top ten on Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the biggest shows. Its arrival knocked Exactly Right Media’s My Favorite Murder out of the top ten – to No. 11 last month.

The Hidden Brain podcast was also up three in January to No. 17. But it was Yardvark’s This Past Weekend that was the biggest winner for the month. It jumped seven spots to score its higher spot on the monthly ranker to date, as it rose to No. 19 in January.

Familiar names sit at the top for January. The New York Times-produced The Daily was the most listened-to show for a 52nd consecutive month according to Podtrac. The true crime series Morbid held onto second place as NPR’s morning news podcast Up First overtook Dateline NBC at third. The NBC News podcast slid back to fourth, while the NPR News Now podcast remained at No. 5.

Podtrac says NPR had four shows in the top 20 last month, more than any other publisher. Wondery had two, while no other publisher had more than one entry in the ranker.

Overall, Podtrac says the average unique monthly listeners in the U.S. for the top 20 publishers jumped seven percent between December and January. Total global downloads increased 9% month-to-month and grew 6% year-to-year.

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