Apple: Top 10 Podcast Subscriptions, Free Channels (Podcast Roundup)

Happy International Podcast Day! In today’s podcast news roundup, Apple releases the top 10 most-subscribed podcasts and free channels, Spotify adds Q&A and polling features for podcast creators, and more.


Apple for the first time shared the top podcast subscriptions and free channels worldwide, from June 15 through September 15, giving a look at the most popular properties three months after the tech giant launched the services.

Apple’s ranking of the top free channels in order of total listeners worldwide over the past three months for shows united under each channel and does not include any fully paid or “freemium” channels (those with a mix of free and paid content). The top subscriptions are ranked according to the number of global listeners over the past three month. This includes individual shows as well as channels. Apple Podcasts tracks listeners by counting the number unique devices that have watched at least 1 minute of an episode.

Top Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

1. Wondery Plus
2. Luminary
3. Sword and Scale Plus Light from Incongruity
4. TenderfootPlus+ from Tenderfoot TV
5. PushNik from Pushkin Industries
6. QCode Plus
7. Imperative Premium Series
8. Podimo Deutschland from Podimo
9. U Up? from Betches Media
10. The Handoff from CNN

Top Free Channels on Apple Podcasts

1. The New York Times
2. Audiochuck
3. iHeartPodcast Network
4. Barstool Sports
5. Dateline NBC
6. ABC News
7. TED Audio Collective
9. Crooked Media
10. Ramble


Spotify and Anchor, its podcast self-publishing division, are introducing new Q&A and polls features for podcast creators. Listeners can find the question at bottom of an episode page if a creator chooses to post a poll or question via their Spotify mobile app on iOS and Android. Depending on whether the creator chose an open-ended Q&A or a poll, listeners can follow the prompt to respond in-app. Listeners will be able to view the responses to a poll and see how they stack up. For Q&As, listener responses will be delivered privately to the creator. Creators can then choose and pin specific featured responses that will appear publicly below the question (displaying the respondent’s Spotify username). These features will be available to all Anchor creators in 160 countries starting Thursday.

Spotify also launched “Find the One,” a new digital experience that introduces fans to some of the podcasts the streamer thinks they’ll be most compatible with. At, visitors can fill out a quiz with questions like “How does your perfect podcast win you over? and “What kind of commitment are you looking for?” and Spotify will deliver a personalized podcast recommendation. Today, more than 2.9million podcasts are hosted on the platform.


The New York Post and Sports Business Journal announced the launch of “The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast,” featuring sports media journalists Andrew Marchand of the Post and John Ourand of SBJ. The new podcast, premiering Oct. 6 on all major audio platforms, will cover the business “beyond the buzzer,” including the latest headlines, network deals, ratings, and trends.

iHeartMedia‘s “Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress” podcast, co-produced by AYR Media, debuted Sept. 30. The show recounts the story of Marianne “Mair” Smyth,the international con artist who scammed her way through Hollywood from 2013-17. Host Jonathan Walton, a TV show producer — and Mair’s best-friend-turned-victim — shares his personal history with the woman who stole his life savings and his arduous quest to bring her to justice. Listen to the trailer at this link.

Monica Lewinsky joins David Axelrod on the latest episode of CNN Audio‘s “The Axe Files” podcast, premiered Sept. 30. On the show, Lewinsky talks about her upbringing and her parents’ tumultuous divorce, her struggles with mental health and suicidal thoughts following her affair with former President Bill Clinton, the dangers of social media and how she took back control of her own story, most recently as a producer on “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” Listen to the full episode at this link.

WBUR’s “Endless Thread” podcast on Oct. 1 launches a new series focusing on the origin, manipulation and cultural impact of memes — the internet’s way of communicating humorous and far-out ideas. “Endless Thread’s” meme series will cover everything from “Kilroy Was Here” and “Rick Rolling” to the impact of memes using images taken out of context. Listen to the series trailer at this link.

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