Both NPR and iHeartMedia have something to crow about in Podtrac’s monthly ranker. NPR had the biggest unique U.S. monthly audience among publishers measured by Podtrac, while the iHeartPodcast Network had the largest number of downloads and streams during the month. Podtrac says NPR edged out iHeart in terms of reach by just 82,000 listeners during September, while iHeart had nearly 33,000 more downloads than NPR.
The New York Times remained in third place during September, according to Podtrac. But its unique monthly audience declined last month, similar to dips reported for both NPR and iHeart when compared to August.
It was a different story for EPSN, which rode a return to sports action across multiple leagues into the top five. ESPN’s unique audience jumped ten percent last month. That was enough for ESPN to finish at No. 4, up from No. 7 in August. PRX, which also saw its reach take a dip, remained in fifth place followed by Wondery at No. 6.
The rise of ESPN pushed Barstool Sports out of the top five. It fell from No. 4 to No. 7 as its unique audience declined 14% month-to-month as a lineup of shows that are more lifestyle than sports didn’t see the same sort of boost as ESPN.
The remainder of the top ten remained the same as in August, with NBC News, Cumulus Media/Westwood One and WarnerMedia also seeing small dips in their monthly reach.
Podtrac said seven of the 20 saw an increase in their U.S. monthly audience from August to September. And 12 of the top 20 podcast publishers had increases in global download numbers.
Among the top ten publishers, the average U.S. unique monthly audience was up three percent month-over-month. And on a year-to-year basis Podtrac said there was an average nine percent increase from September 2019.
In terms of downloads, the top ten publishers had an average two percent growth rate between August and September, and a 54% increase last month versus a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the biggest individual shows among the publishers it tracks shows the same five podcasts stayed at the top of the list, led by the New York Times morning news podcast The Daily, which remained in the top spot for the 23rd consecutive month. It was followed by NPR’s hourly five-minute podcast NPR News Now and the NPR-produced Up First. The Daily Wire’s The Ben Shapiro Show and Barstool Sports’ Call Her Daddy traded spots as they rounded out the top five.
NPR had the most podcasts among the top 20 during September – with nine making the cut. The biggest movers of the month were Westwood One’s The Dan Bongino Show, which climbed six positions to No. 13. And NPR’s How I Built This, which rose four to No. 19.