Comedy remains the most popular genre, but True Crime is making strides in closing the gap. Media Monitors’ quarterly Podcast Listener survey finds among the top 200 shows there were three dozen True Crime series. That is up 50% versus the prior quarter. It was the biggest jump yet for the genre according to Media Monitors. Among the True Crime shows in its ranker was Exactly Right Media’s My Favorite Murder at No. 10, and No. 10 Dark History from Audioboom.
Despite the rise of True Crime, Americans are more interested in laughing. Comedy made up 44 of the top 200 podcasts, the same tally as during third quarter. The catch-all Society & Culture ranked second with 41 shows, overtaking News which slid back to fourth place with 25 podcasts making the cut. Sports remained in fifth place with 14 shows.
Media Monitors says the iHeartPodcast Network held onto the No. 1 spot with 18 podcasts among the top 200, up three from the prior quarter. The top iHeart shows were Stuff You Should Know at No. 6 and The Breakfast Club at No. 17. Among the new shows on the list is Chiquis and Chili, which launched in November but nevertheless finished at No. 128 on the quarterly ranking.
After getting knocked back to third place in Q3, NPR moved back up to second place during Q4 when Media Monitors says it had a dozen podcasts. Its top show was the TED Radio Hour at No. 18. Curiously, the NPR series Believed about Olympic gymnast doctor Larry Nassar made the top 200 this quarter despite having published its final episode in 2018.
SiriusXM/Stitcher/Earwolf, which was in third place in the prior quarter, fell back into a three-way tie for sixth place. Spotify moved up into third with nine Spotify Original series making the top 200. That number includes shows which Spotify licenses, such as The Joe Rogan Experience or Call Her Daddy.
Media Monitors says Amazon Music/Wondery ranked fourth, with its top-ranked show SmartLess at No. 12.
Overall, the top four podcasts remained the same during the fourth quarter led by The Joe Rogan Experience, The New York Times produced The Daily, Audiochuck’s Crime Junkie, and This American Life. Exactly Right Media’s My Favorite Murder moved up into fifth place, trading spots with iHeart’s Stuff You Should Know.
The Media Monitors Podcast Listener survey was fielded Dec. 13-31, 2021. Participants aged 18 and older were screened on whether they had listened to a podcast in the last seven days and then asked to list the podcast titles. Participants were encouraged to consult their podcast app of choice during the survey. These unassisted responses were then individually matched back to unique RSS feeds which were polled to collect information about genre and publisher.
Media Monitors notes there were 43 independent shows in its top 200 ranker. Among that group, it says indie podcasts using Patreon to distribute premium versions or give listeners a way to support the show, tallied 13 in the top 200.