January 10, 2024

The 12 best podcasts of 2023...so far

To help you find your new favorite podcast, we compiled a list of what we think are the best shows this year. We’re sure you’ll find something worth listening to here.
January 10, 2024

The 12 best podcasts of 2023...so far

To help you find your new favorite podcast, we compiled a list of what we think are the best shows this year. We’re sure you’ll find something worth listening to here.
January 10, 2024
Lauren Passell
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Dozens of podcasts launch every single day. In June 2022, Spotify announced that there were over 4 million podcasts on its platform, though Amplifi Media and Podnews determined that only 155,000 were active. (Read 15 podcast stats for 2023.) 

Many of these shows never see the light of day on podcast listening apps or in the media, so it can be difficult to suss out which are worth your time. Even if you’re subscribed to podcast newsletters, checking rankings every day, and scouring social media for recommendations, finding the perfect portal to dive into can seem overwhelming. 

Episodes of The Joe Rogan experience perpetually top the charts, burying other worthwhile shows full of curiosity, insight, and captivating narratives. 

To help you find your new favorite podcast, we compiled a list of what we think are the best shows this year. The genres range from true crime to storytelling to documentary to whatever it’s called when you interview a maligned Star Wars character. We’re sure you’ll find something worth listening to here.

The best podcasts of 2023… so far

Here are our favorite podcasts of 2023…so far. Listen closely, study the craft, and enjoy the amazing worlds they lure you into. 

The Coldest Case in Laramie

The Coldest Case in Laramie cover art
Source: Apple Podcasts

From the people who brought us Serial (Serial Productions and The New York Times,) comes The Coldest Case in Laramie, a story about an unsolved murder that took place 40 years ago in Laramie, Wyoming. It’s hosted by Kim Barker, a journalist who was in high school when the murder occurred. This isn’t so much a whodunnit — there are lots of conflicting versions and unresolved conclusions — but more of a story about the inherent nature of true crime and journalism, how stories are reported, and how we decide to tell them. There is a lengthy segment of interrogation that will freeze you in your seat. When I finished it, I went back to episode one again and relistened, because the twist made me reevaluate everything I just heard. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Grown, from The Moth

Cover art for Grown: a podcast from The Moth
Source: Apple Podcasts

The Moth has been gathering some of the world’s best storytellers for years; its weekly show allows them to expertly tell their stories of heartbreak, triumph, embarrassment, devastation, and more. And now they’ve launched Grown, which focuses on these stories rooted in the awkward, nebulous, liminal, and just plain weird time between those painful teenage years and full-on adulthood, proving that nobody ever feels grown. Hosts Aleeza and Fonzo, alumni of The Moth Education Program that offers young people storytelling residencies, workshops, and performances, pass the mic to guest storytellers and group their tales into themes that will make you feel less alone in your experiences from your 20s, and more like a human with universal experiences we can all relate to. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Hard Fork

Cover art for Hard Fork
Source: Apple Podcasts

The New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose, formerly of Rabbit Hole, and The Verge’s Casey Newton host Hard Fork, a show that thinks critically about technology’s role in the future. It’s accessible, but consistently delivers deep dives, sharp analysis, and in-depth reporting on everything from AI’s existential risks and driverless cars to why Elon Musk is trending on his own new platform X and the latest in tech devices like Apple Vision Pro. Hard Fork is your go-to tech podcast, and Kevin and Casey have their finger on the pulse of the tech world, offering insider information and their ideas and opinions that they are always open to amend. Their banter keeps things feeling casual and light, even when they’re diving into pressing issues that seep into politics, culture, and the economy. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Louder Than a Riot (Season 2)

Louder Than A Riot podcast cover image
Source: Apple Podcasts

Since its birth 50 years ago, hip-hop has been a platform that tons of artists have used to express frustration with oppression and feeling unheard. But for Black women, queer people, and others on the margins, it’s been pushing back with equal oppression from the inside. The second season of Louder Than A Riot, hosted by NPR Music's Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael, examines how hip-hop marginalizes the people who built it, and how misogynoir — the specific racist misogyny against Black women — is baked into the culture. Beautiful storytelling touches upon harassment, queerphobia, and assault, and interviews with Rico Nasty, Saucy Santana, and Megan Thee Stallion give a pulse to this series that will inform and inspire you. It’s a mic drop. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks

Cover art for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks
Source: Apple Podcasts

Jar Jar Binks from 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, may have been named "the most annoying movie character of all time" by Complex, but behind the character was a real person: Ahmed Best, a Bronx-born actor who got his start in the theatrical production of STOMP. On The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks, Dylan Marron, who shared his stories of being the “internet’s main character” on his podcast Conversations with People Who Hate Me, is the host of this show, examining how the words we use online can have real impact on the humans behind the screen. The loathing Ahmed received for playing Jar Jar pulled him into one of the first-ever online hate campaigns, leading to decades of trauma and mental health struggles culminating in a suicide attempt. But there is optimism here, and Dylan makes Redemption feel friendly and necessary to non-Star Wars-heads, anyone who lashed out against Jar-Jar and Ahmed, and everyone in between. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

You Didn’t See Nothin

Cover art for You Didn’t See Nothin
Source: Apple Podcasts

Yohance Lacour brings us to a 1997 hate crime that took place on the South Side of Chicago and changed his life forever in the compelling You Didn’t See Nothin. The show starts with the day of the attack when Yohance was in his early 20s, writing plays, selling weed, and living with his dad when the terrible media coverage of the attack drove him to take things in his own hands, working with a local neighborhood newspaper to investigate the crime. After a 10-year stint in prison, Yohance is back in Chicago, bringing a new perspective with archival audio and new interviews with those involved. Yohance tells this story in an animated, poetic way that makes you feel like you’re inside a pop-up book. The story is a mix of true-crime investigation, personal memoir, and some of the best narration I’ve ever heard, and it’s winning in every single one of those categories. Yohance steps into this show boldly — within seconds, you want to hear what he has to say, and he has quite the story to tell.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Skyline Drive

Cover art for Skyline Drive
Source: Apple Podcasts

There are tons of astrology podcasts, but none are as beautifully made, and presented with such open-minded journalism and narration, as Skyline Drive. You think you’re getting an investigation into the role astrology has played in history (like the fact that Reagan consulted an astrologer regarding key White House decisions) and Mangesh’s life as a second-generation immigrant. But then, almost accidentally, host Mangesh Hattikudur falls into his own story when an astrologer predicts a tragedy that takes over the series, turning it into a personal memoir about family, loss, and the stars above. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Search Engine

Cover art for Search Engine
Source: Apple Podcasts

Those of you who are still following PJ Vogt after his departure from the popular podcast Reply All, and listened to his cryptocurrency podcast Crypto Island, may have noticed a new show pop up on the Crypto Island Feed. Search Engine reveals answers to things you can’t just look up on the internet. PJ wonders how sad monkeys are at the zoo, whether or not we should be drinking airplane coffee, and he even plunges us into the darkness that is Elon Musk’s mind. Search Engine is inquisitive and expertly produced. That famous PJ chuckle is back with a great concept and a philosophical extension of Reply All, the work that made us fall in love with him in the first place. Search Engine spent weeks on the top of the charts, so it seems that listeners are eager to welcome PJ back to the space, despite his ignominious departure from Reply All. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Free From Desire

Cover art for Free from Desire
Source: Apple Podcasts

Asexuality content is sparse and often incorrect. That’s something that weighed heavily on Aline Laurent-Mayard, who spent their teenage years feeling alienated from peers because of their own lack of interest in sex. Free From Desire, which recently won Tribeca's Narrative Nonfiction Audio Storytelling Award, is an elegant reflection on Aline’s understanding of their asexuality and becoming a single parent. In a storytelling style that feels like a private whisper, Aline opens up about growing up in Paris, The City of Love, in the 90s, feeling free from desire. They talk to experts, sociologists, and friends about our culture’s obsession with coupling in the most traditional sense. Free From Desire gets asexuality right in a way that’s driven by personal experience, making it triumphant, graceful, and intimate. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Foretold

Cover art for Foretold
Source: Apple Podcasts

At 17, Paulina Stevens’ cards had been dealt for her. Growing up in an insular Romani American family, she had left school, married, started growing her family, and joined her in-laws in the family fortune-telling business. Foretold is what happens when Paulina risks everything to step away and chart her own path. Reported by Faith Pinho, who was approached by Paulina years ago as a rookie reporter, Foretold corrects Romani stereotypes with empathy while honestly reporting on the cultural problems that drove Paulina away. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat, rooting Paulina on and wondering how she’ll break free without losing her children. Enter through the neon “Psychic Readings” sign and emerge forever changed.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Let’s Make a Rom-Com

Cover art for Let’s Make a Rom-Com
Source: Apple Podcasts

On the first iteration of this series, Let’s Make A Sci-Fi (one of The New Yorker’s “Best Podcasts of 2022”), comedians Maddy Kelly, Ryan Beil and Mark Chavez let us be a fly on the wall as they wrote a science fiction movie script, sharing their outlining process, letting us in on their brainstorms, and bringing on guests like Rainn Wilson and Neil deGrasse Tyson to weigh in on their story. For Let’s Make a Rom-Com, they’re back in their writers’ room for a new pop culture creation, this time putting their heads together for a funny and heart-felt movie script. With the help of some friends (Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You’s Kirsten Smith, Mama Mia II’s Ol Parker, 2 Dope Queens’ Phoebe Robinson), as well as agents and actors, they take you step-by-step through their rom-com making process. The last episode is a laugh-out-loud read-through of their final script, which feels totally worthy of the big screen.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

WILD

Cover art for WILD
Source: Apple Podcasts

Hosted by Erick Galindo, season one of WILD was a time capsule of the kinds of moments captured during a global pandemic that left a lot of us growing up again while stuck at home for more than a year. Season two brought on Megan Tan for a fictional love story inspired by the wildest thing Erick once did for love. This show starts out in Los Angeles and has a strong sense of place as it takes you on a road trip with a woman who stole Erick’s heart. He’s narrating the story to Megan the whole time, and it feels like you’re at a diner, hearing the story shared over brunch with friends. You’ll have to listen to find out if cupid’s arrow hits — the answer will have your mind blurring the lines between fact and fiction, and will leave you feeling optimistic about love. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Honorable mentions

This list wouldn’t be complete without a few shout-outs to shows that came out with a bang in 2023 and kept listeners downloading and downloading and downloading. Lemonada’s Wiser Than Me, hosted by Julia Louis Dreyfuss, was about pulling wisdom from older women, and appealed to older millennials and boomers. Bridget Todd’s BEEF told intense stories between some of history’s greatest rivalries. Believe in Magic told a story about an influencer who took her followers to the bank with a scam that involved a fake cancer diagnosis. Former You’re Wrong About co-host Michael Hobbes’ If Books Could Kill, which he launched with 5-4 co-host Peter Shamshiri, has been topping the charts since it started dropping new episodes in late 2022. 

While Crime Junkies holds steady as the most popular true crime podcast, comedy podcasts surged, too, with SmartLess (bolstered by celebrity guests like Greta Gerwig, Pedro Pascal, and even Depeche Mode) rising to #2 on the charts, just below The Daily—and even made its way to TV, with listeners from nearly every age demographic. Behind the Bastards and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend continued to bring in huge numbers. 

Scamanda was trending for months (though some listeners felt like the finale left a bit to be desired.) The Really Good Podcast sprouted on the scene with huge guests like Drake and Mark Cuban and pulled in listeners from TikTok who had never downloaded a podcast before. And Sounds Like a Cult climbed the charts until a messy lawsuit split the two hosts (and has left fans wondering about the future of the show.) 

While far from new, This American Life continues to delight listeners week after week, dropping new episodes and old favorites. And longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton hosted Serial’s The Retrievals, a powerful, download-glugging show about a scandal at a Yale fertility clinic. These shows were able to bring in huge numbers, aiding in the growth of podcast listening worldwide. When it comes to business podcasts, Business Wars was consistently bringing in numbers, covering the business battlefields of crypto, diet culture, Tesla, and Quiznos vs Subway and Target vs Walmart and more. 

Your podcast could be here

If you’re aiming to create a podcast hit, check out our tips for a chart-topping podcast series to get you up to speed. You’ll learn 25 tips about getting started, recording right, editing like a pro, and getting your work heard by listeners out there looking for exciting content. These 50 + podcast ideas will inspire you to come up with your theme. (Already made a show? Consider these tips for marketing a show that’s done.) And remember…if a show drops in the woods, it doesn’t mean that anyone will hear it. You have to invest time (and maybe money) into marketing it. Here are 3 ways to market your brand-new podcast from scratch.

Lauren Passell
Lauren Passell is the founder of Tink Media, a podcast growth and discovery company, and the editor of Podcast the Newsletter.
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The 12 best podcasts of 2023...so far

Dozens of podcasts launch every single day. In June 2022, Spotify announced that there were over 4 million podcasts on its platform, though Amplifi Media and Podnews determined that only 155,000 were active. (Read 15 podcast stats for 2023.) 

Many of these shows never see the light of day on podcast listening apps or in the media, so it can be difficult to suss out which are worth your time. Even if you’re subscribed to podcast newsletters, checking rankings every day, and scouring social media for recommendations, finding the perfect portal to dive into can seem overwhelming. 

Episodes of The Joe Rogan experience perpetually top the charts, burying other worthwhile shows full of curiosity, insight, and captivating narratives. 

To help you find your new favorite podcast, we compiled a list of what we think are the best shows this year. The genres range from true crime to storytelling to documentary to whatever it’s called when you interview a maligned Star Wars character. We’re sure you’ll find something worth listening to here.

Record or import audio, make edits, add fades, music, and sound effects, then publish online, export the audio in the format of your choice or send it directly to your hosting service.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

The best podcasts of 2023… so far

Here are our favorite podcasts of 2023…so far. Listen closely, study the craft, and enjoy the amazing worlds they lure you into. 

The Coldest Case in Laramie

The Coldest Case in Laramie cover art
Source: Apple Podcasts

From the people who brought us Serial (Serial Productions and The New York Times,) comes The Coldest Case in Laramie, a story about an unsolved murder that took place 40 years ago in Laramie, Wyoming. It’s hosted by Kim Barker, a journalist who was in high school when the murder occurred. This isn’t so much a whodunnit — there are lots of conflicting versions and unresolved conclusions — but more of a story about the inherent nature of true crime and journalism, how stories are reported, and how we decide to tell them. There is a lengthy segment of interrogation that will freeze you in your seat. When I finished it, I went back to episode one again and relistened, because the twist made me reevaluate everything I just heard. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Grown, from The Moth

Cover art for Grown: a podcast from The Moth
Source: Apple Podcasts

The Moth has been gathering some of the world’s best storytellers for years; its weekly show allows them to expertly tell their stories of heartbreak, triumph, embarrassment, devastation, and more. And now they’ve launched Grown, which focuses on these stories rooted in the awkward, nebulous, liminal, and just plain weird time between those painful teenage years and full-on adulthood, proving that nobody ever feels grown. Hosts Aleeza and Fonzo, alumni of The Moth Education Program that offers young people storytelling residencies, workshops, and performances, pass the mic to guest storytellers and group their tales into themes that will make you feel less alone in your experiences from your 20s, and more like a human with universal experiences we can all relate to. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Hard Fork

Cover art for Hard Fork
Source: Apple Podcasts

The New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose, formerly of Rabbit Hole, and The Verge’s Casey Newton host Hard Fork, a show that thinks critically about technology’s role in the future. It’s accessible, but consistently delivers deep dives, sharp analysis, and in-depth reporting on everything from AI’s existential risks and driverless cars to why Elon Musk is trending on his own new platform X and the latest in tech devices like Apple Vision Pro. Hard Fork is your go-to tech podcast, and Kevin and Casey have their finger on the pulse of the tech world, offering insider information and their ideas and opinions that they are always open to amend. Their banter keeps things feeling casual and light, even when they’re diving into pressing issues that seep into politics, culture, and the economy. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Louder Than a Riot (Season 2)

Louder Than A Riot podcast cover image
Source: Apple Podcasts

Since its birth 50 years ago, hip-hop has been a platform that tons of artists have used to express frustration with oppression and feeling unheard. But for Black women, queer people, and others on the margins, it’s been pushing back with equal oppression from the inside. The second season of Louder Than A Riot, hosted by NPR Music's Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael, examines how hip-hop marginalizes the people who built it, and how misogynoir — the specific racist misogyny against Black women — is baked into the culture. Beautiful storytelling touches upon harassment, queerphobia, and assault, and interviews with Rico Nasty, Saucy Santana, and Megan Thee Stallion give a pulse to this series that will inform and inspire you. It’s a mic drop. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks

Cover art for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks
Source: Apple Podcasts

Jar Jar Binks from 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, may have been named "the most annoying movie character of all time" by Complex, but behind the character was a real person: Ahmed Best, a Bronx-born actor who got his start in the theatrical production of STOMP. On The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks, Dylan Marron, who shared his stories of being the “internet’s main character” on his podcast Conversations with People Who Hate Me, is the host of this show, examining how the words we use online can have real impact on the humans behind the screen. The loathing Ahmed received for playing Jar Jar pulled him into one of the first-ever online hate campaigns, leading to decades of trauma and mental health struggles culminating in a suicide attempt. But there is optimism here, and Dylan makes Redemption feel friendly and necessary to non-Star Wars-heads, anyone who lashed out against Jar-Jar and Ahmed, and everyone in between. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

You Didn’t See Nothin

Cover art for You Didn’t See Nothin
Source: Apple Podcasts

Yohance Lacour brings us to a 1997 hate crime that took place on the South Side of Chicago and changed his life forever in the compelling You Didn’t See Nothin. The show starts with the day of the attack when Yohance was in his early 20s, writing plays, selling weed, and living with his dad when the terrible media coverage of the attack drove him to take things in his own hands, working with a local neighborhood newspaper to investigate the crime. After a 10-year stint in prison, Yohance is back in Chicago, bringing a new perspective with archival audio and new interviews with those involved. Yohance tells this story in an animated, poetic way that makes you feel like you’re inside a pop-up book. The story is a mix of true-crime investigation, personal memoir, and some of the best narration I’ve ever heard, and it’s winning in every single one of those categories. Yohance steps into this show boldly — within seconds, you want to hear what he has to say, and he has quite the story to tell.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Skyline Drive

Cover art for Skyline Drive
Source: Apple Podcasts

There are tons of astrology podcasts, but none are as beautifully made, and presented with such open-minded journalism and narration, as Skyline Drive. You think you’re getting an investigation into the role astrology has played in history (like the fact that Reagan consulted an astrologer regarding key White House decisions) and Mangesh’s life as a second-generation immigrant. But then, almost accidentally, host Mangesh Hattikudur falls into his own story when an astrologer predicts a tragedy that takes over the series, turning it into a personal memoir about family, loss, and the stars above. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Search Engine

Cover art for Search Engine
Source: Apple Podcasts

Those of you who are still following PJ Vogt after his departure from the popular podcast Reply All, and listened to his cryptocurrency podcast Crypto Island, may have noticed a new show pop up on the Crypto Island Feed. Search Engine reveals answers to things you can’t just look up on the internet. PJ wonders how sad monkeys are at the zoo, whether or not we should be drinking airplane coffee, and he even plunges us into the darkness that is Elon Musk’s mind. Search Engine is inquisitive and expertly produced. That famous PJ chuckle is back with a great concept and a philosophical extension of Reply All, the work that made us fall in love with him in the first place. Search Engine spent weeks on the top of the charts, so it seems that listeners are eager to welcome PJ back to the space, despite his ignominious departure from Reply All. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Free From Desire

Cover art for Free from Desire
Source: Apple Podcasts

Asexuality content is sparse and often incorrect. That’s something that weighed heavily on Aline Laurent-Mayard, who spent their teenage years feeling alienated from peers because of their own lack of interest in sex. Free From Desire, which recently won Tribeca's Narrative Nonfiction Audio Storytelling Award, is an elegant reflection on Aline’s understanding of their asexuality and becoming a single parent. In a storytelling style that feels like a private whisper, Aline opens up about growing up in Paris, The City of Love, in the 90s, feeling free from desire. They talk to experts, sociologists, and friends about our culture’s obsession with coupling in the most traditional sense. Free From Desire gets asexuality right in a way that’s driven by personal experience, making it triumphant, graceful, and intimate. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Foretold

Cover art for Foretold
Source: Apple Podcasts

At 17, Paulina Stevens’ cards had been dealt for her. Growing up in an insular Romani American family, she had left school, married, started growing her family, and joined her in-laws in the family fortune-telling business. Foretold is what happens when Paulina risks everything to step away and chart her own path. Reported by Faith Pinho, who was approached by Paulina years ago as a rookie reporter, Foretold corrects Romani stereotypes with empathy while honestly reporting on the cultural problems that drove Paulina away. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat, rooting Paulina on and wondering how she’ll break free without losing her children. Enter through the neon “Psychic Readings” sign and emerge forever changed.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Let’s Make a Rom-Com

Cover art for Let’s Make a Rom-Com
Source: Apple Podcasts

On the first iteration of this series, Let’s Make A Sci-Fi (one of The New Yorker’s “Best Podcasts of 2022”), comedians Maddy Kelly, Ryan Beil and Mark Chavez let us be a fly on the wall as they wrote a science fiction movie script, sharing their outlining process, letting us in on their brainstorms, and bringing on guests like Rainn Wilson and Neil deGrasse Tyson to weigh in on their story. For Let’s Make a Rom-Com, they’re back in their writers’ room for a new pop culture creation, this time putting their heads together for a funny and heart-felt movie script. With the help of some friends (Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You’s Kirsten Smith, Mama Mia II’s Ol Parker, 2 Dope Queens’ Phoebe Robinson), as well as agents and actors, they take you step-by-step through their rom-com making process. The last episode is a laugh-out-loud read-through of their final script, which feels totally worthy of the big screen.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

WILD

Cover art for WILD
Source: Apple Podcasts

Hosted by Erick Galindo, season one of WILD was a time capsule of the kinds of moments captured during a global pandemic that left a lot of us growing up again while stuck at home for more than a year. Season two brought on Megan Tan for a fictional love story inspired by the wildest thing Erick once did for love. This show starts out in Los Angeles and has a strong sense of place as it takes you on a road trip with a woman who stole Erick’s heart. He’s narrating the story to Megan the whole time, and it feels like you’re at a diner, hearing the story shared over brunch with friends. You’ll have to listen to find out if cupid’s arrow hits — the answer will have your mind blurring the lines between fact and fiction, and will leave you feeling optimistic about love. 

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Other

Honorable mentions

This list wouldn’t be complete without a few shout-outs to shows that came out with a bang in 2023 and kept listeners downloading and downloading and downloading. Lemonada’s Wiser Than Me, hosted by Julia Louis Dreyfuss, was about pulling wisdom from older women, and appealed to older millennials and boomers. Bridget Todd’s BEEF told intense stories between some of history’s greatest rivalries. Believe in Magic told a story about an influencer who took her followers to the bank with a scam that involved a fake cancer diagnosis. Former You’re Wrong About co-host Michael Hobbes’ If Books Could Kill, which he launched with 5-4 co-host Peter Shamshiri, has been topping the charts since it started dropping new episodes in late 2022. 

While Crime Junkies holds steady as the most popular true crime podcast, comedy podcasts surged, too, with SmartLess (bolstered by celebrity guests like Greta Gerwig, Pedro Pascal, and even Depeche Mode) rising to #2 on the charts, just below The Daily—and even made its way to TV, with listeners from nearly every age demographic. Behind the Bastards and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend continued to bring in huge numbers. 

Scamanda was trending for months (though some listeners felt like the finale left a bit to be desired.) The Really Good Podcast sprouted on the scene with huge guests like Drake and Mark Cuban and pulled in listeners from TikTok who had never downloaded a podcast before. And Sounds Like a Cult climbed the charts until a messy lawsuit split the two hosts (and has left fans wondering about the future of the show.) 

While far from new, This American Life continues to delight listeners week after week, dropping new episodes and old favorites. And longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton hosted Serial’s The Retrievals, a powerful, download-glugging show about a scandal at a Yale fertility clinic. These shows were able to bring in huge numbers, aiding in the growth of podcast listening worldwide. When it comes to business podcasts, Business Wars was consistently bringing in numbers, covering the business battlefields of crypto, diet culture, Tesla, and Quiznos vs Subway and Target vs Walmart and more. 

Your podcast could be here

If you’re aiming to create a podcast hit, check out our tips for a chart-topping podcast series to get you up to speed. You’ll learn 25 tips about getting started, recording right, editing like a pro, and getting your work heard by listeners out there looking for exciting content. These 50 + podcast ideas will inspire you to come up with your theme. (Already made a show? Consider these tips for marketing a show that’s done.) And remember…if a show drops in the woods, it doesn’t mean that anyone will hear it. You have to invest time (and maybe money) into marketing it. Here are 3 ways to market your brand-new podcast from scratch.

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