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Code Switch, the NPR podcast that focuses on the intersection of race, identity and culture, has been selected by Apple Podcast as its “show of the year” in the U.S. It marks the first time that Apple Podcasts has recognized a single podcast with that recognition. “In a year dominated by conversations about race, this show provided powerful insights,” said Apple in the announcement. The iHeartPodcast Network’s Stuff You Should Know was the biggest show of the year in the U.S. for Apple Podcasts. And Parcast’s Unlocking Us with Brené Brown was the biggest new show for 2020.

Code Switch launched in 2016 but in 2020 as racial justice issues filled headlines and the streets of America, the podcast hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby raced to the top of the Apple Podcast charts with episodes such as the recent A Decade of Watching Black People Die.

"This honor was one bright spot in a pretty horrific year and I have to admit I'm pinching myself because it still doesn't feel real. It's definitely a testament to following your heart and your passions," said Meraji. "The topic of race and identity is something I've been deeply curious about my entire life because I am both Puerto Rican and Iranian and have struggled to find my place in this country's complex racial puzzle. It's amazing that I get to explore all the questions I have about the role race plays in our lives with an audience that is eager to learn right along with me."

Demby said the most instructive thing to him about the Apple honor is that it means more people are paying attention to identity and power issues that he believes are fundamental to how everyone lives.

Here are Apple Podcast’s rankings of the biggest shows of the year –

Apple Podcasts: Biggest Shows of 2020 (U.S.)

  1. Stuff You Should Know by iHeartRadio
  2. This American Life
  3. The Daily by New York Times
  4. Crime Junkie by Audiochuck
  5. My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark by Exactly Right
  6. The Ben Shapiro Show by The Daily Wire
  7. Up First by NPR
  8. Call Her Daddy by Barstool Sports
  9. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
  10. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown by Parcast

Apple Podcasts: Biggest New Shows of 2020 (U.S.)

  1. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown by Parcast
  2. Nice White Parents by Serial and New York Times
  3. CounterClock by Audiochuck
  4. Red Ball by Audiochuck
  5. SmartLess with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes
  6. Blood Ties by Wondery
  7. Supernatural with Ashley Flowers
  8. Down The Hill: The Delphi Murders by WarnerMedia
  9. Park Predators by Audiochuck
  10. Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction with Dr. Sanjay Gupta by CNN

Apple Podcasts: Staff Favorites This Year (U.S.)

  1. California Love by LAist and KPCC
  2. Canary by The Washington Post
  3. Dying for Sex by Wondery
  4. FANTI by Maximum Fun
  5. Floodlines by The Atlantic
  6. Ghost Tape by QCode
  7. How to Citizen with Baratunde Thurston by iHeartRadio
  8. In The Bubble with Andy Slavitt by Lemonada Media
  9. Louder Than a Riot by NPR
  10. Nice White Parents by New York Times
  11. Rabbit Hole by New York Times
  12. You’re Wrong About with Michael Hobbes & Sarah Marshall