May’s Winners & Losers: ‘Today, Explained’ Hits Top 20 After Its Radio Launch.


Vox Media’s Today, Explained picked up a promotional bullhorn in April when its distribution partnership with WNYC Studios brought the daily news podcast to more than 50 public radio stations on a daily basis. The list includes stations such as Philadelphia’s WHYY, Oregon Public Broadcasting, New Hampshire Public Radio, Cincinnati Public Radio, and New Orleans Public Radio. That radio platform is likely one of the reasons the show had the biggest leap on Podtrac’s monthly ranking of the top 20 podcasts during May. It says the Sean Rameswaram and Noel King-hosted Today, Explained jumped seven spots to No. 19 last month among the shows measured by Podtrac.


The top five podcasts remained the same in May. The New York Times-produced The Daily held onto the top spot among the shows measured by Podtrac. It was followed by NPR’s hourly five-minute podcast NPR News Now and the public radio network’s morning news podcast Up First in third. The NBC News podcast Dateline NBC came in at No. 4 and The Daily Wire’s conservative talk The Ben Shapiro Show was at No. 5.


The big winner in April -- Exactly Right Media’s My Favorite Murder – slipped one spot since its debut a month earlier, sliding back to No. 7 as it traded places with Wondery’s SmartLess. Bartstool Sports’ Pardon My Take, which fell out of the top ten in April, made a return in May as it traded spots with Fox News Radio’s on-demand version of its hourly newscast.


Overall, NPR had the most shows in the top 20 with four podcasts making the grade. No other publisher had more than one show in the ranker.


Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall increased one percent month-over-month during May. And they were up 32% compared to the download numbers from a year earlier.

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