The Download on Podcasts: Influencers, hall-of-famers, and ratings winners

The Download on Podcasts is a weekly feature sponsored by PodcastOne.

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When do we know that a media category has attained maturity? Many answers to that, the most viable probably being a thriving and sustainable financial ecosystem. But a more fun answer is when various groups give out awards designed to celebrate excellence and separate cream from crop.

This week brings a list of podcasting’s top influencers (sort of like a Forbes list), an announcement of Podcasting Hall of Fame inductees (sort of like baseball), and the second monthly Podcast Industry Audience Rankings from Podtrac (sort of like Webcast Metrics).


The influencer list comes from Collisions, a program producer and ad network, and a division of radio marketing company CRN International. Called “The Pod 22,” this influencer list includes nearly two-dozen celebrity podcasters, network heads, and thought-leaders.

UPDATE: The Pod 22 list has been removed by Collision, with a letter of apology and explanation. “The list was criticized for having 20 men and two women,” Collision said. Julie Shapiro, Executive Producer of Radiotopia, was among the first to challenge the list for being unbalanced. RAIN’s coverage of The Pod 22 was reported with neither endorsement nor criticism. We are leaving the original coverage below, as a reference point in what Collisions says is an ongoing conversation. Read Collision’s explanatory letter here

Norm Pattiz, founder of PodcastOne (sponsor of this column) is on there, along with competitive colleagues Alex Blumberg (Gimlet Media), Andy Bowers (Panoply), Todd Cochrane (Blubrry), and Eric Nuzum (Audible).

Celebrity hosts who made the list are Marc Maron, Bill Simmons (who is also a network founder), Adam Carolla, Jad Abumrad (Radiolab), Ira Glass (more of a radio pioneer, really, who extended into podcasting along with many public radio shows, and who also spun out Serial), Sarah Koenig (Serial), Leo LaPorte (founder of TWiT, not often considered a podcaster, partly because he calls them Netcasts), and Megan Tan (Millennial).

A few interesting placements: Tom Webster (VP at Edison Research, who put podcast into that company’s famously comprehensive consumer research studies in 2006), Steve Wilson (at Apple, Wilson curates the podcast directory which serves as the industry’s main program directory, for better or worse), Dean Cappello (head of content at New York Public Radio, who spurred the creation of a dedicated podcast creation studio), Adam Symson, head of digital at E.W. Scripps, which acquired content/sales company Midroll Media, then Stitcher), Elias Roman (ex-CEO of Songza, acquired by Google, where Roman is now product manager of Google Play Music, which recently stepped into the podcast biz), Nick Quah (author of the decidedly influential Hot Pod newsletter), Mark DiCristina (marketing manager of MailChimp, famously invested in podcast advertising), Dan Franks (founder of the Podcast Movement annual conference), and Jarl Mohn (CEO of NPR, perhaps the most gleaming title in the realm of podcast influence, and, besides, he should win a “coolest name” award).

The whole list apology is here.

Hall of Fame

A podcasting Hall of Fame has been established by hosting company Podomatic, and the 2016 inductees will be honored at Podcast Movement on July 6 in Chicago.

Like any good “lifetime achievement” award, some of the Hall of Fame honorees go way back, starting with Dawn Miceli, and Drew Domkus, a wife-and-husband team behind the legendary Dawn and Drew Show, a chatcast that started in 2004 and is still in production. Gary Leland also started his The Sports Podcast in 2004. Libsyn VP Rob Walch is in the group, having joined that massive podcast hosting platform in 2007. Mignon Fogarty completes the class of 2016; she is host of Grammar Girl and founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network.

See the 2016 and 2015 inductees here.

podtrac ranker May2016 300wThe Podtrac Ranker

We covered the inaugural Podcast Industry Audience Rankings, released in April by podcast measurement company Podtrac. This ranker functions with a structure similar to Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, insofar as both are monthly productions, and both measure their clients. Each company is a technology and brand leader in its content field — webcasting for Triton and podcasting for Podtrac.

Podtrac’s May ranker was released today, and is nearly identical to the April report. The same podcast shows and networks appear on the top-10 list, in the same order. (UPDATE: Podtrac sent a corrected version of the May rankings. In the updated version, the order of ranked podcasts/networks is changed from April.)

The measurement numbers (size of audience and number of downloads), have shifted around, of course, but April’s leaders are May’s leaders. In that way, too, the Podtrac ranker resembles the Triton — as such, the podcast ranker might show its value over time as trendlines develop. Here at RAIN we have tracked the Trion Digital Webcast Metrics Top 20 Ranker every month since 2009. We are beginning the same diligent recording of the Podcast Industry Audience Rankings.

See the May rankings here.





Brad Hill


  1. Podtrac ranking represents a small percentage of the biggest properties,m. Podtrac list does not represent the majority of the podcasting space it’s there list.

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