There are lots of year-end lists of the best podcasts released from the author’s perspective. Podtrac lets the data do the talking in its year-end roundup. It has crunched the per-episode download numbers for shows published for the first time Dec. 1, 2019 and Nov. 31, 2020. Among those it measures, Podtrac says the New York Times-Serial Productions release Nice White Parents was the biggest new show of 2020. The five-part podcast, hosted by journalist Chana Joffe-Walt, looked at the forces that have shaped the institutional structures of public education, concluding well-off white families are to blame for the state of public schools. Nice White Parents was also one of Apple Podcast’s biggest new shows of the year. And it is a nominee for Podcast of the Year at next month’s iHeartPodcast Awards.
Overall, Podtrac said half of the top new podcasts during the past year were produced by Wondery, led by its shows The Dating Game Killer and Dr. Death Season 2. The iHeartPodcast Network was second with seven shows on the top 20, including Missing in Alaska and Monster: DC Sniper.
The Potrac Top 20 Of 2020
Nice White Parents - The New York Times
Down The Hill: The Delphi Murders - WarnerMedia
The Dating Game Killer – Wondery
Missing in Alaska - iHeartRadio
Motive for Murder - NBC News
Dr. Death Season 2: Dr. Fata - Wondery
Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment - Wondery
Monster: DC Sniper - iHeartRadio
The Piketon Massacre - iHeartRadio
Paper Ghosts - iHeartRadio
Blood Ties - Wondery
WeCrashed - Wondery
Joe Exotic: Tiger King – Wondery
Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald - iHeartRadio
Billionaire Boys Club – Wondery
Do No Harm - Wondery
Dying For Sex - Wondery
Bunga Bunga - Wondery
Forgotten: The Women of Juarez - iHeartRadio
The Dream Team Tapes with Jack McCallum – iHeartRadio
Podtrac said to qualify as “new,” a show must have published its first episode between Dec. 1, 2019 and Nov. 31, 2020. The ranking is based on average downloads per episode as measured by Podtrac. It also says that episodes marked by a publisher as “bonus” or “trailer” were excluded from the calculations.