Podtrac: The Apology Line Was 2021’s Biggest Debut; iHeart And Wondery Had Most Hits.


The Apology Line had 2021’s biggest debut according to Podtrac’s annual ranking of the top 25 podcasts. The six-episode series from Wondery is hosted by Marissa Bridge, who knew the man known as Mr. Apology. He was the creator of a phone line that for 15 years allowed people to call and get something off their chest, hearing stories ranging from shoplifting to infidelity, drug dealing to murder. Working in The Apology Line’s favor was that it had the entire year to rack up downloads – the series made its debut Jan. 19.


The list is dominated by iHeartRadio and Wondery, each of which had nine of the top 25 new shows this year according to Podtrac. The ranker also includes series from Campside, NBC News, Barstool Sports, NPR, Imperative Entertainment, KastMedia, The Daily Wire, and ABC News/The Walt Disney Co.


Here are Podtrac’s Top 25 new series for 2021:

  1. The Apology Line - Wondery

  2. Suspect - Wondery/Campside

  3. Killer Role - NBC News

  4. Drama Queens - iHeartRadio

  5. The Devil Within - Wondery

  6. Death of a Starlet - Wondery

  7. The Case - Barstool Sports

  8. Spy Affair - Wondery

  9. MANslaughter - Wondery

  10. The Office Deep Dive with Brian Baumgartner - iHeartRadio

  11. Bridgewater - iHeartRadio

  12. The Vaping Fix - Wondery

  13. Camp Hell: Anneewakee - iHeartRadio

  14. On Our Watch - NPR

  15. Killer Psyche - Wondery

  16. Algorithm - iHeartRadio

  17. Fox Hunter - Imperative Entertainment

  18. Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher - iHeartRadio

  19. The Opportunist - KastMedia

  20. Operator - Wondery

  21. Morning Wire - The Daily Wire

  22. Smart Talks with IBM - iHeartRadio

  23. In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson - The Walt Disney Company

  24. Dear Chelsea - iHeartRadio

  25. Haunted Road with Amy Bruni -iHeartRadio


Podtrac’s ranking for top new shows for 2021 is based on average downloads per episode as measured by Podtrac across all podcast listening apps and ranks shows which were published for the first time between Dec. 1, 2020 and Nov. 31, 2021. Episodes marked by a publisher as Bonus or Trailer episodes were excluded from the calculations.

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