I keep track of the podcasts I listen to in a Google spreadsheet. This week I entered the 500th one. I started to keep track in november 2015, after a few months of listening. And I probably even forgot to add a few, but you get the picture: I love listening to podcasts!
So, here are some stats: I have listened to 57 different podcasts for a total of 505 episodes. However there are 28 podcasts I’ve only listened to once. So about half I listen to regularly.
Here is a kind of useless pie chart (click or open in new window for larger version):
The top 15 looks like this with their respective episode count (in reverse order):
8 This American Life 9 Desert Island Discs 9 Een Podcast over Media 9 The Ezra Klein Show 13 Serial 15 Glitch 19 De Appels en Peren Show 24 Freakonomics 28 The Tim Ferriss Show 31 Under the Radar 33 How I Built This 55 99% Invisible 61 ATP 110 Planet Money
I was a bit surprised by ATP coming in at number 2. I’ve kind of stopped listening to this one a couple of months ago (same goes for Under the Radar). So I wouldn’t have guessed to have listened to 61 episodes which are each around 2 hours. I was not surprised by Planet Money, this NPR podcast it’s usually short and quite fun! So it’s like a ‘snack’.
I’ve explained before what’s so great about podcasts. It’s an intimate media form and a chance to learn new things. But of course not all episodes are killers. So I have a very sophisticated system of keeping tracks of the ones I would listen to again, or the ones that stood out. Are you ready? Here is my system: I make that entry bold (I am a spreadsheet wizard!). So far I tagged 61 out of 505 podcast as such. So 12% of the podcasts are what I would recommend to others or would listen to again myself. The top 6 looks like this:
3 Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman 3 Planet Money 3 Sterk Water 7 99% Invisible 9 The Tim Ferriss Show 14 How I Built This
I am not surprised with the number one, I would definitely say How I Built This is my favorite podcast. I am a bit surprised by Sterk Water to be in this top 6. But then again, it’s a very well produced Dutch podcast with “island life” stories. And I’ve only listened to a few, but they hit hard.
S-Town is not on this list. It should be, but I listened to it in one go and so I only tagged one episode. But it should be in here because it’s very unique podcast. Also it seems there is a tie for fourth place. But rest assured: this one will be taken by Masters of Scale. This is a brand new podcast, and so far I’ve tagged ALL their episodes! It’s amazing and has a lot of similarities to How I Built This (real-life entrepreneurial stories about starting and struggling and succeeding). I think the success of podcasts like S-Town and Masters of Scale says something about the state of podcasts right now. More and more people are creating podcasts and reaching more and more listeners. Which is great! Yes, the distribution, recommendation and monetization model is not entirely clear for podcasts and maybe it will never be. But if this is it, if this is peak podcast, there are more than enough great podcasts to listen to. At least 500.
(Personal plug: I also started my own podcast, of course. In Dutch, about arts, music, culture and all that. You should check it out!)
Here’s what I look like listening to a podcast and when recording a podcast.