The Labor Day holiday nicked podcast download numbers last week. Podtrac says among the publishers it measures, total downloads slipped one percent compared to the prior week. They were also down by seven percent compared to the same period a year ago. The return of the NFL season however was a boost to the Sports genre. It had the best week-to-week download numbers, up nine percent last week among Podtrac measured shows. Among the other categories showing growth were Arts (+5%), Society & Culture (+2%) and Business (+2%), while those posting declines were True Crime (-11%), Comedy (-4%), News (-4%), Education (-3%), and History (-1%). Science was flat week-to-week.

Podtrac earlier reported that iHeartRadio was the top-ranked publisher in August among those it measures as its reach grew 7% and streams and downloads were up 10% -- despite the fact that a bug in Apple Podcasts has continued to depress download numbers. Apple has since pushed out a fix but the impact remains as iOS device owners slowly download the iOS 14.7 update. 

But iHeart was not alone in seeing gains. Podtrac says all of the top 20 publishers were up in August compared to July. NPR held onto second place, followed by Wondery, the New York Times, and the Walt Disney Company.

Overall, Podtrac says the average publisher’s unique monthly audience was up 15% in August compared to a 2% decline a month earlier.