“Dying for Sex” wins Ambies Podcast of the Year; 23 category awards bestowed; we count “top” networks

Dying for Sex won the Podcast of the Year award at the inaugural Ambies Awards, produced by The Podcast Academy. The Wondery-produced show posted its final episode 14 months ago, perhaps demonstrating how evergreen podcasts retain their currency. Dying for Sex is a show about a woman, Molly, who when diagnosed with breast cancer leaves her unhappy marriage and embarks on a series of sexual adventures to help her feel alive. The interview format is conducted by Molly’s best friend Nikki Boyer, who accepted the award.

The ceremony was live-streamed Sunday evening. The Ambies were sponsored by Amazon Music with additional support from IMDb (Gold sponsor), PRX (Silver sponsor), Tenderfoot TV (Silver sponsor) and Wondery (Silver sponsor).

The first annual ceremony was streamed live from Los Angeles, CA and hosted by standup comic, actor and writer Cameron Esposito. The evening featured awards in 23 categories and honored WTF with Marc Maron with the Governors Award which recognizes a podcast or individual for the compelling impact they’ve had on the industry; and Teenager Therapy received the Audio Impact Award which recognizes an individual or podcast that has made a significant, positive impact on its listeners.

We wondered to what extent indie podcasts and small networks might be represented in the winners list (see below). If The Podcast Academy represents podcast creators at all  levels, we might expect upstart networks or unaffiliated wins. We compared the 23 winning networks (some networks won multiple awards) to the most recent Podtrac and Triton Digital ranking of top podcast publishers. In the table below, we marked (X) next to publishers which appear in either list. There are 13 of them, and 10 publishers which don’t appear in the rankers.

(In the graph above, we assign Wind of Change to Audacy, which owns Pineapple Street Studios — but that is an arguable decision considering the co-networks Crooked Media and Spotify, also listed. We also assign Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend to Stitcher, a top publisher and parent to Earwolf and Team Coco.)

Here is the entire winner list:

Podcast of The Year      

Dying for Sex    


Best Business Podcast

The Heist           

Center for Public Integrity

Best Comedy Podcast

Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend   

Team Coco & Earwolf

Best Documentary Podcast

I’m Not A Monster         

BBC Sounds / Panorama / FRONTLINE PBS

Best Entertainment Podcast

Even the Rich    


Best Fiction Podcast

Blood Ties (Season 2)


Best History Podcast

Driving the Green Book 

Macmillan Podcasts

Best Interview Podcast

Death, Sex & Money      

WNYC Studios

Best Knowledge, Science or Tech Podcast

Short Wave       


Best News Podcast

Today, Explained            

Vox Media Podcast Network

Best Original Score and Music Supervision

Jacked: Rise of New Jack Sound – Marcelino Villalpando 

Wondery & Universal Music Group

Best Performer in Audio Fiction

The Left Right Game – Tessa Thompson 


Best Personal Growth / Spirituality Podcast

On Being with Krista Tippett       

On Being Studios

Best Podcast Host

Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media, Spotify

Best Politics or Opinion Podcast

Gaining Ground: The New Georgia          

Tenderfoot TV and Crooked Media

Best Production and Sound Design

The Left Right Game – Ryan Walsh, Matt Yocum, Will Files, Ryan Sullivan


Best Reporting

Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media, Spotify

Best Scriptwriting, Fiction

Dirty Diana – Shana Feste, Jen Besser    


Best Scriptwriting, Nonfiction

Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media, Spotify

Best Society and Culture Podcast

Code Switch      


Best Sports Podcast


Tenderfoot TV and Whistleblower Media

Best True Crime Podcast

Dr. Death Season 2: Dr. Fata      


Best Wellness or Relationships Podcast

Therapy for Black Girls  



Brad Hill