The real battle is for second place in Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the most popular shows among publishers it tracks. While the New York Times- produced The Daily remained No.1 for the ninth consecutive month, based on U.S. unique monthly audience, the back and forth between the iHeartPodcast Network show Stuff You Should Know and This American Life continues. Podtrac reports This American Life regained the No. 2 slot in July after being passed by Stuff You Should Know in June. NPR’s Up First and The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro Show remained in fourth and fifth place in July, just as they were in May and June.
Here’s the list of the top shows in July among publishers measured by Podtrac:
In a noteworthy appearance on the monthly ranker, the biweekly true-crime podcast Sword and Scale made the top 20 for the first time. It is a vote of confidence for Mike Boudet, who relinquished hosting duties after controversial comments he made about International Women’s Day cost the podcast advertisers and the loss of its hosting company. The independent production company Incongruity said it was “inundated” with tweets, emails, and voicemails from fans asking for Boudet's return and that’s what happened July 4.
Sword and Scale, which debuted in 2013, uses an immersive storytelling style that puts the listener in the middle of a real-life true crime tragedy using 911 calls, police interrogations, and courtroom audio.
Podtrac’s numbers reflect an update made in April to the measurement algorithm that calculates unique downloads. It was brought about by Podtrac’s embrace of standards develop by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab. The IAB’s Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines 2.0 change what counts as a download. For example, in the past, if someone were to listen to a podcast, press stop, then play again, that would count as two downloads. Now, it counts as one. Plus, someone needs to listen for a full 60 seconds before it counts as a download. Podtrac has said that most podcasters didn’t see a “substantial” change in their unique monthly audience numbers, however download numbers mostly declined because of the new guidelines.