Written through Seth Abramovitch, Gary Baum, Kirsten Chuba, Mia Galuppo, Chris Gardner, James Hibberd, Caitlin Huston, Rebecca Keegan, Mikey O’Connell, Sydney Odman, Lacey Rose, Julian Sancton, Alex Weprin and Abbey White. Further reporting through J. Clara Chan.
It’s the most productive of instances and the worst of instances for podcasting. In 2023, the trade put the brakes on a duration of lavish spending and nine-digit megadeals and — a lot as its streaming opposite numbers did closing 12 months — adopted largesse with austerity. Dealing with demanding situations surrounding the promoting fashion, macroeconomic considerations and a post-pandemic slowdown, one of the vital largest gamers, together with Spotify, Vox Media and NPR, introduced mass layoffs. Many others — like SiriusXM and Amazon — minimize their podcast budgets considerably. And but, not like in different suffering segments of the leisure industry, audiences are proceeding to develop with out a ceiling in sight. In keeping with an research through Edison Analysis, “Podcasting is ‘again,’ achieving the absolute best numbers ever, with 90 million listeners every week.” Every other learn about, through iHeart Media, means that enlargement has chipped away time spent on streaming and social media. And with upward of three million podcasts on be offering, extra persons are paying attention to extra content material than at any time because the heyday of radio. (Whilst a lot of it’s increasingly more launched in video shape, as neatly.) The facility gamers listed below are the ones ideal poised to make the most of this paradoxical second. — EDITED BY JULIAN SANCTON
John Allen (MrBallen Podcast; Ballen Studios)
Allen, the Military SEAL became content material guru ideal referred to as MrBallen, has sufficient occurring that anyone may just do a podcast about his industry ventures. A number of the previous 12 months’s highlights: an unique, three-year content material maintain Amazon Track (house to his MrBallen Podcast: Abnormal, Darkish and Mysterious Tales); growing and launching MrBallen’s Scientific Mysteries this autumn; and deliberate enlargement into TV, movie, books and video games.
Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes (SmartLess; Smartless Media)
Birthed throughout the pandemic, SmartLess, the podcast from the 3 well-known funnymen, has spawned a national reside excursion, a Max docuseries and a full-scale media corporate. The latter temporarily coated up a slate of unique podcasts, together with Dangerous Dates, hosted through Jameela Jamil; Owned with Rex Chapman; and the rewatch pod Simply Jack & Will, with Hayes and his Will & Grace co-star Eric McCormack. (For most of the rewatch, recap and spouse podcasts in this record, hosts are pivoting clear of discussing present and previous paintings, in step with SAG-AFTRA regulations throughout the strike.)
Michael Barbaro, Sabrina Tavernise (The Day by day)
The New York Instances podcast, which options 20-minute interviews with Instances reporters and others in regards to the largest tales of the day — from wildfires to Perfect Court docket choices — and longer Sunday options, frequently tops the podcast charts and conjures up devotion to its even-keeled co-hosts Barbaro and Tavernise.
Chuck Bryant, Josh Clark (Stuff You Will have to Know)
A number of the first giant podcast acquisitions — Stuff Media bought to iHeartMedia in 2018 for a reported $55 million — Clark and Bryant’s humorous, informative display may be a few of the style’s longest-running. (The primary episode dropped in April 2008.) Every of its greater than 2,000 episodes is going deep on a distinct topic — from champagne to the Stonewall Rebellion to chaos principle — nevertheless it’s the hosts, no longer their eclectic pursuits, who’ve retained the unswerving target market of hundreds of thousands.
Emma Chamberlain (Anything else Is going)
Chamberlain — who first accomplished reputation along with her YouTube channel, now at 12 million subscribers — introduced Anything else Is going in 2019, preserving forth on relationships, psychological well being, style and extra from the relaxation of her mattress. In November 2022, she signed an unique, multiyear maintain Spotify, which incorporated a selection into video content material for the podcast and a go back to her vlog-style roots; Spotify mentioned in March that her display has greater than doubled in listenership since shifting over to the audio large in February 2023.
Alex Cooper (Name Her Daddy)
2nd simplest in Spotify listeners to Joe Rogan, Name Her Daddy expenses itself because the “maximum listened to podcast through girls” at the platform — which paid $60 million for the streaming rights in 2021. Born at Barstool Sports activities and hosted through the 28-year-old influencer, the pod — which averages 5 million listeners — has developed right into a sex-positive feminist discussion board the place famous person visitors like Zayn, in his first main interview in years, will drop through for a headline-making dialogue.
Audie Cornish (The Task)
Cornish joined CNN from NPR closing 12 months partially to rejuvenate the venerable information group’s audio journalism industry. Because the host of The Task, she has delivered. The weekly sequence, which sees Cornish interview humans whose lives intersect with the scoop cycle (contemporary visitors have incorporated TikTok creators, astrologers and flight attendants), received the most productive interview podcast class on the 2023 Ambies, amid tricky pageant.
Amanda Doyle, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach (We Can Do Laborious Issues)
Best possible-selling Untamed author-activist Glennon Doyle, along with her legal professional sister Amanda and football Olympian spouse Wambach, draw in a number of million “podsquad” listeners weekly for conversations on subjects like psychological well being, parenting and intercourse. Top-profile 2023 visitors have incorporated Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, and Megan Rapinoe, however the display’s defining moments this 12 months have come from episodes the place Glennon talks about her contemporary analysis of anorexia, in an indication that this pod’s actual energy is in its uncommon point of intimacy.
DJ EFN, N.O.R.E. (Drink Champs)
Co-hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN have discovered their rhythm in a brand new studio house in Miami’s Wynwood arts district after years of shifting round, and that balance couldn’t have come at a greater time. With week-to-week manufacturing now fine-tuned, the duo are primed to take their signature banter and impressed, under the influence of alcohol interviews with hip-hop’s legends and extra to a much wider target market amid the style’s fiftieth anniversary 12 months.
Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor (Pod Save The united states; Crooked Media)
The trio of former senior-level Obama White Area staffers began Crooked Media in 2017, naming their podcasting corporate after certainly one of Donald Trump’s enemy-of-the-people epithets. Their model quickly was — and stays, into the Biden technology — a locus for liberal resistance politics, focused on their chatty Pod Save The united states display and supplemented through reside occasions, video programming and newsletters.
Ashley Vegetation (Crime Junkie; audiochuck)
Prior to now 12 months, the host of the hit true-crime sequence Crime Junkie and founding father of podcast community audiochuck has expanded her award-winning audio empire, making additional inroads to what she calls an “rising trade with no longer numerous regulations and no set trail to good fortune.” Amongst main new tasks is The Deck Investigates, a by-product of her different crime sequence, The Deck.
Gillie Da King, Wallo (Million Dollaz Price of Recreation)
The Barstool Sports activities podcast — a weekly display hosted through Philadelphia rapper and actor Gillie Da King and social media influencer Wallo, who riff on tune and existence recommendation — has constantly seemed on the most sensible of the tune podcast charts, averaging 500,000 perspectives and downloads in step with episode. Fresh visitors have incorporated Michael B. Jordan, Alicia Keys, Kevin Hart, Nick Cannon and Lil Dicky, after the duo signed an extension with Barstool within the fall of 2022 value a rumored $100 million.
Georgia Hardstark, Karen Kilgariff (My Favourite Homicide)
Kilgariff and Hardstark’s display has tackled each notorious and lesser-known crimes throughout greater than 700 episodes since 2016. The hosts’ macabre wit has exploded their target market to greater than 30 million listeners a month, and closing 12 months Amazon shelled out a reported $100 million for a trifling one-week unique window for brand spanking new episodes. Obviously, Kilgariff and Hardstark are killing it.
Ashleigh Kelley, Alaina Urquhart (Morbid)
On Morbid, Urquhart, an post-mortem technician, and Kelley, a hairdresser, way grisly crimes with lighthearted aptitude. The aunt-niece duo, who continuously refer to one another as sisters, introduced their very own podcast community underneath the Wondery umbrella in 2012. Morbid Community now properties 5 podcasts with a identical spooky spin. Morbid proves over and over again the in-demand urge for food for true-crime content material, rating within the most sensible 20 podcasts on Spotify and Apple.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Wiser Than Me)
The Emmy-winning actress had discovered herself questioning, “Why the hell don’t we listen extra from older girls?” So she got down to alternate that, launching her first podcast, Wiser Than Me. Every episode options Louis-Dreyfus in dialog with a well-known lady over 70, candidly discussing the way to navigate things like growing older and the way to lead a complete existence. Her visitor roster at the Lemonada Media-produced pod has incorporated Jane Fonda, Carol Burnett and Isabel Allende.
Rachel Maddow (Déjà Information)
The MSNBC host stepped again from website hosting her display 5 nights per week to concentrate on different ventures, podcasts being a large one. Closing 12 months’s Extremely podcast, at the historical past of far-right extremism in The united states, used to be temporarily snatched up through Steven Spielberg’s Amblin for a imaginable adaptation. Her newest challenge, Rachel Maddow Gifts: Déjà Information, which she hosts along manufacturer Isaac-Davy Aronson, shot to No. 1 at the Apple podcast charts after its free up in June.
Conan O’Brien (Conan O’Brien Wishes a Good friend; Crew Coco)
The previous communicate display host has discovered a 2d, thriving segment to his occupation with Conan O’Brien Wishes a Good friend, his constantly chart-topping interview display that has welcomed visitors together with Harrison Ford, Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish. In Might 2022, O’Brien’s corporate Crew Coco used to be got through SiriusXM in a $150 million deal, which incorporates a five-year skill settlement with the comic and acquisition of Crew Coco’s different presentations, together with Nicole Byer’s Why Received’t You Date Me? and J.B. Smoove’s Might I Elaborate?
Joe Rogan (The Joe Rogan Enjoy)
Fellow podcaster Kara Swisher lately referred to Rogan as “the country’s earworm,” which knowledge turns out to give a boost to. With The Joe Rogan Enjoy reportedly averaging 11 million listeners in step with episode, it’s frequently the No. 1 podcast on U.S. charts. Because the comic and MMA enthusiast inked a $100 million-plus deal at Spotify in 2020, he’s persevered to courtroom headline-making visitors and controversy, as he weighs in on thorny topics like COVID vaccines, President Joe Biden’s well being and the Bud Gentle boycotts.
Ben Shapiro (The Ben Shapiro Podcast)
The conservative podcaster and Day by day Twine entrepreneur is automatically a few of the most sensible 10 podcasts within the U.S. And in contrast to many different statement presentations on that record, Shapiro’s personality-driven program didn’t get pleasure from having a brand-name information group in the back of it. From the tradition wars (a up to date episode used to be titled “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Barbie for 43 mins”), to the 2024 election, Shapiro has a tender target market at the correct (together with 6.1 million YouTube subscribers) that might make Fox Information jealous.
Invoice Simmons (The Invoice Simmons Podcast; The Ringer)
Within the 3 and a part years since Spotify forked over $250 million to obtain The Ringer, its founder and leader character, Invoice Simmons, has persevered so as to add podcasts and don extra hats. In reality, along with his position as managing director of The Ringer — a community with greater than 50 pods in addition to a website online, video, doctors and reside occasions — he additionally serves as head of podcast innovation and monetization at Spotify. Simmons nonetheless hosts a handful of standard podcasts, too, together with his eponymous pod, which lately launched its 1,000th episode.
Kara Swisher (Pivot; On; Succession Podcast)
An omnipresent pundit in aviator sun shades — she is delicate to vibrant mild, if no longer the proverbial highlight — Swisher has observed her profile upward thrust within the podcast technology, because of her must-listen, finger-on-the-pulse takes at the virtual technology. Catch her weighing in on the entirety from Elon Musk to Barbenheimer on Vox Media’s Pivot, co-hosted through NYU’s Scott Galloway; grilling notables on New York mag’s On With Kara Swisher; and accomplishing incisive postmortems on HBO’s Succession Podcast.
ACAST (Ross Adams, Tiffany Ashitey and Shantae Howell)
The Swedish corporate, born in 2014 as a dynamic-ad supply carrier for podcasts, has developed into a big platform and writer in its personal correct, website hosting greater than 100,000 podcasts that draw 1.3 billion listeners 1 / 4, in step with the corporate. Acast — led through CEO Adams; managing director, U.S., Ashitey; and exec manufacturer and artistic director Howell — has prolonged its succeed in amongst U.S. audiences because of contemporary acquisitions of hit podcasts like WTF With Marc Maron and The Younger Turks, in addition to partnerships with Amazon and Upper Flooring.
AUDACY (J.D. Crowley, Jenna Weiss-Berman)
Previously referred to as Radio.com, the audio platform has introduced a number of prestigious podcast studios underneath its wing, together with Pineapple Side road Studios (Lacking Richard Simmons) and Cadence13 (which lately inked a 30-episode maintain Amy Poehler). However in all probability the corporate’s maximum encouraging transfer is its promotion this 12 months of Pineapple Side road co-founder Weiss-Berman to govt vice president podcasts, reporting to Audacy’s podcast leader, Crowley.
AUDIBLE (Rachel Ghiazza, Zola Mashariki)
The Amazon-owned podcast and audiobook powerhouse has persevered its run of high-profile offers, signing new partnerships prior to now 12 months with Brad Pitt’s manufacturing corporate, Plan B Leisure, and Viola Davis’ Ashé Audio Ventures. The corporate additionally introduced a brand new podcast in February with Michelle Obama, the primary in its multiyear maintain the Obamas’ Upper Flooring.
HIGHER GROUND AUDIO (Dan Fierman)
This previous 12 months noticed the audio department of Barack and Michelle Obama’s Upper Flooring cross from startup to true industry, doubling its crew measurement and pivoting from Spotify to new partnerships with Audible and Acast. With a persevered center of attention on crafting distinctive presentations for underserved audiences, the corporate is generating podcasts that fill the “huge quantity of white house” within the medium, says head of audio Fierman, and discovering persevered good fortune within the perception that “just right, sturdy presentations paintings as a result of they’re just right, no longer as a result of they’re on development.”
iHEART (Conal Byrne, Will Pearson)
iHeartMedia’s podcast department, with a skill solid that comes with Charlamagne tha God, Will Ferrell and Shonda Rhimes, attracts just about 32 million listeners a month — pacing neatly forward of its closest publishing rival, Wondery. Led through Byrne and Pearson, the outfit may be bucking the extra fatigued promoting panorama. 2nd-quarter income, reported Aug. 8, had podcasting earnings up 13 p.c to $97 million. That’s more or less 10 p.c of the media model’s general haul.
LIONSGATE SOUND (Gretchen Stockdale, Nicholas Caprio)
Scamanda — a true-crime podcast that exposes a California lady who faked most cancers for nearly a decade and swindled donors out of $105,513 for her “remedy” — was a sensation upon its Might 15 debut, again and again topping the Apple Podcast charts and turning its journalist host, Charlie Webster, into an in a single day big name. The primary bona fide hit from Lionsgate’s new audio department — in particular its Pilgrim Media Staff, headed through Caprio and Stockdale — Scamanda used to be produced with variations in thoughts, so stay your eyes peeled for doctors and dramatizations to come back.
THE NEW YORK TIMES (Sam Dolnick)
Dolnick oversees Instances Virtual merchandise, together with such powerhouse podcasts as The Ezra Klein Display, and helped revolutionize the media podcast sport when he introduced The Day by day in 2017 — inspiring main media shops world wide to in a similar way debut their very own weekday podcasts. Since then, he’s additionally rolled out the FX/Hulu sequence The New York Instances Gifts, to begin with conceived as a by-product of The Day by day.
NPR (Anya Grundmann)
March’s 10 p.c personnel cuts hit NPR’s podcasts laborious, with unique sequence Invisibilia, Louder Than a Revolt, Tough Translation and Everybody and Their Mother getting the ax, however the public media corporate stays an unmatched power in audio leisure in information. With evergreen attracts reminiscent of Code Transfer, It’s Been a Minute and strike-proof dad-joke manufacturing facility Wait Wait … Don’t Inform Me, NPR output dominates podcast charts. And, because the 2024 presidential race ramps up, The NPR Politics Podcast will once more be vacation spot listening for hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
PUSHKIN (Jacob Weisberg)
Even though Weisberg — who co-founded the corporate with best-selling writer Malcolm Gladwell in 2018 — remembers the 12 months long past through as a time when “podcasting got here all the way down to Earth,” Pushkin remains to be taking pictures for the celebs. Along with construction its subscription industry, Pushkin teamed with legend Sir Paul McCartney on McCartney: A Lifestyles in Lyrics (debuting Sept. 20).
SIRIUSXM (Scott Greenstein, Adam Sachs)
Greenstein pioneered virtual radio large SiriusXM’s competitive strikes into podcasting and, in March, introduced aboard Crew Coco president Sachs to guide programming efforts after obtaining Crew Coco itself in 2022. Whilst the corporate has had some contemporary demanding situations (vital layoffs, and shuttering its Stitcher app), Greenstein and Sachs regulate one the biggest podcast publishers within the industry, with titles such because the Gold Minds With Kevin Hart podcast.
SONY (Steve Ackerman, Emily Rasekh)
The pair’s achievements prior to now 12 months incorporated proceeding to develop its subscription channel The Binge; launching Dinner’s on Me, through which host Jesse Tyler Ferguson has damaged bread with visitors like Jim Parsons, Tracee Ellis Ross and Roy Choi; and seeing their eight-episode podcast Chameleon: Wild Boys win podcast of the 12 months on the Ambies.
SPOTIFY (Sahar Elhabashi, Julie McNamara, Maya Prohovnik)
As the highest U.S. podcast platform and writer, in step with Edison Analysis, the audio large — which grew even larger after soaking up Gimlet and Parcast media — used to be hit laborious through industrywide headwinds. In spite of a number of rounds of layoffs this 12 months, Spotify nonetheless boasts one of the vital hottest (and costly) names within the industry, together with Joe Rogan and Alex Cooper, and continues to spend money on marquee skill, reminiscent of Trevor Noah, whose podcast premieres at the Stockholm-based carrier later this 12 months.
Tenderfoot TV (Donald Albright, Payne Lindsey)
Tenderfoot TV’s strategy to daring, intimate storytelling throughout genres and media has been reinforced this 12 months through their doubling down at the subscription carrier Tenderfoot+ — “an evolution no longer simplest in our content material technique but additionally our industry technique,” in step with president and co-founder Albright. In the meantime, fashionable fascination with UFOs and UAPs helped make Tenderfoot’s long-gestating sequence Top Abnormal an not going, completely timed hit.
TREEFORT (Kelly Garner, Lisa Ammerman)
The podcast studio has labored with the largest gamers in podcasting, together with Audible, Spotify, iHeartMedia and Wondery/Amazon. Their sequence vary from nonfiction to audio-drama, together with podcasts with Ethan Hawke and Marcia Homosexual Harden. The corporate led through CEO-founder Garner and co-founder/head of content material Ammerman may be enlisted through most sensible leisure corporations to supply spouse items to sequence and lines like Grimy John: The Betty Broderick Tale Mini-Document.
VOX MEDIA (Nishat Kurwa, Ray Chao)
The corporate’s podcast pros oversee a slate that comes with Kara Swisher’s On, Max Linsky and Evan Ratliff’s Longform podcast, and Vox’s day by day information podcast, Lately, Defined. Chao, Vox’s common supervisor of audio who additionally oversees the virtual video industry, has introduced in call model skill like Swisher and Sam Sanders, whilst vice president and govt manufacturer of audio Kurwa works intently with the corporate’s different manufacturers, like New York mag, to develop their audio efforts.
WONDERY (Jen Sargent, Marshall Lewy)
The podcast studio, which is owned through Amazon and has produced streamer-adapted hits reminiscent of WeCrashed and Dr. Demise, continues to peer its tales soar to the display screen, with the release of the Max sequence of smash-hit podcast SmartLess after its reside excursion. The corporate additionally noticed nice good fortune on the Ambies with 4 wins, probably the most of any studio, together with trophies for podcasts Industry Wars and Scamfluencers.
Ben Davis + Marissa Hurwitz (WME)
Podcast heavyweights Dax Shepard, the fellows over at Crooked Media and Brett Goldstein flip to those reps to lend a hand them navigate the ups and downs of the podcasting house. This 12 months, Hurwitz helped millennial courting guru Tinx clinch her Sirius XM’s Stitcher deal to release It’s Me, Tinx, whilst Davis lately landed web phenom Bobbi Althoff and her The Truly Just right Podcast.
Caroline Edwards + Josh Lindgren (CAA)
Lindgren, who has been head of CAA’s podcast division since March 2021, counts chart-toppers like Stuff You Will have to Know and NPR’s Ari Shapiro as shoppers, and has in the past completed offers for SmartLess, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Jamie Lee Curtis’ Comet Photos. Podcast agent Edwards reps Morgan Givens’ Flyest Fables, Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers’ Pantsuit Politics, in addition to stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Stamos, Alan Cumming, Tig Notaro and Karamo Brown of their podcast ventures.
Oren Rosenbaum (UTA)
As spouse and head of audio at UTA, Rosenbaum leads a crew — together with brokers A.J. Leone and Shelby Schenkman — that reps a number of well known podcast networks and creators, together with Wondery, iHeart Media, Pineapple Side road, Tenderfoot TV, Alex Cooper of Name Her Daddy, Jake Brennan of Disgraceland and Man Raz of How I Constructed This.
This tale first seemed within the Aug. 16 factor of The Hollywood Reporter mag. Click on right here to subscribe.