Television network nightly newscasts and cable news channels have seen a spike in ratings since the COVID-19 pandemic grabbed the headlines. That same bump is being experienced by the top news podcasts, according to data released by Podtrac. It shows the top five podcasts in the News show category had an average of 5.9 million listeners during March. And when comparing the top five shows across all 19 categories, News came first as it topped the Society & Culture, Comedy, Arts and Business categories, Podtrac said.
The size of the News genre’s lead is reflected in the top three shows, which not only led the category but also the list of most listened-to podcasts overall. The New York Times-produced The Daily led with a 7% month-to-month increase in its audience. It was followed by NPR’s hourly five-minute podcast NPR News Now, which posted a 24% gain from a month earlier.
The NPR-produced Up First was third, with a 2% month-to-month increase. The rest of the top five News genre shows were The Daily Wire’s The Ben Shapiro Show and CNN Audio’s Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction.
Podtrac reports that other show categories also ticked higher last month, likely due to the coronavirus and stay-at-home mandates. Kids & Family was the category with the most shows showing positive audience growth in March over February, with 14 of 30 shows posting gains. And Podtrac says the Religion & Spirituality and Television show categories tied for the most shows losing audiences in March, with 26 out of 30 podcasts seeing declines compared to February.
Not surprisingly, the two biggest podcasters continued to have the most shows turning up in the ranker. Podtrac says iHeartRadio had the most shows (78) across the most categories (16). And NPR had the most No. 1 shows across the list of show categories during March, with eight first-place finishes.