It’s good to be NPR. Podtrac has released their April rankings for the top ten podcast publishers, and it stacks up about how we would have guessed.

NPR is the runaway winner with a US monthly audience of 7,239,000 listeners and nearly 51 million unique downloads. Considering the CPM rates for podcasts, the 32 active shows NPR produces either are or should be one hell of a revenue driver.

Number two is This American Life / Serial with a US monthly audience of 5,647,000 and 16.395 million monthly downloads in the United States. That’s across only two active shows versus NPR’s 32.

Rounding out the top three is WNYC studios, which hosts 52 active shows with an audience of 5,500,000 and 21 million monthly downloads. Shows include The New Yorker’s Radio Hour, Snap Judgement and 2 Dope Queens.

What About the Single Show Podcasters?

Multiple shows and media titans are encroaching on the medium. CBS cracked the top 5 with an audience of 1.5 million on 9 million downloads. With 474 active shows. Shotgun approach CBS?

What about the one show publisher? There’s hope for all of us wanting to crack the top ten on Podtrac. While The Moth is a collection of storytellers, it keeps things simple on the podcast front. One active show tracked by Podtrac pulls in an audience of just over a million with 2.6 million monthly downloads.

It’s worth a listen, and episodes hit every Tuesday.

Want to be inspired by both numbers and one fantastic podcast? Roman Mars and his 99% Invisible podcast. If you’re a fan of design and architecture, you’ll love the show. He also founded Radiotopia to launch and support other story driven podcasts.

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His show enjoys an audience just north of a million and 2.85 million downloads each month.

How We Listen According to Podtrac

Apple is in complete control of the podcast market. 218 million unique downloads were tracked for Podtrac’s report, and 65% were on the native Apple platform – 54% in the podcast app and 11% on desktop iTunes.

podcasting and how we listen from podtrac

85% of listeners were on mobile devices. Not a surprising figure. In fact, it’s impressive desktop accounts for 15% of listeners. As Spotify and others jump into offering podcasts, it will be an area to watch to see if the desktop grows more. Especially with in-content players from the audio streamer and others – Soundcloud, etc.

Ranking Podcasts

Podtrac’s report focuses on the commercial publishers that use its tracking system. According to the company, it tracks 90% of the top podcasting publishers. Each podcast had to have 30 days of full tracking to be considered for the ranking. The top 100 podcast report should be released in the near-term.

For those of you with a mic and dream, don’t be discouraged by the media powerhouses behind some of the top podcasts.

Look at CBS. 400+ shows for that audience. Serial is part of a two-show behemoth. Roman Mars shows you can take something inherently visual and make it captivating to listeners around the world.

It comes down to passion. Want inspiration? Entrepreneur on Fire. The guy is like The Rock when it comes to podcast motivation. Ok, JLD might have to hit the weight room for the next century to become The Rock, but damn, grab the mic and chase that greatness.

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Head over to Podtrac for the full report – you’ll need to drop them an email for access.

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