The Most Popular Podcast of All Time: Ranking the Ultimate Favorite

Choose the podcast you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 26, 2023 08:58
Dive into the riveting world of podcasts and make your voice heard as we bring you the ultimate face-off with StrawPoll's "Most Popular Podcast of All Time" ranking! From true crime thrillers to enlightening self-help guides, we've collected the crème de la crème of podcast history for you to vote on and crown the ultimate champion. But wait, there's more! Can't find your all-time favorite on our list? Fret not, as you can suggest a missing gem and rally fellow fans to boost its ranking. So, what are you waiting for? Join the excitement, cast your vote, and help us uncover the most binge-worthy podcast that has captivated hearts and ears worldwide!

What Is the Most Popular Podcast of All Time? (October 2023)

  1. 1


    Sarah Koenig
    A true-crime podcast that investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. It became a cultural phenomenon and helped popularize the podcast format.
    Serial is a highly acclaimed podcast that tells gripping true crime stories in a serialized format. Each season follows a single story, delving deep into the investigation and shedding light on compelling characters and complex narratives. With its immersive storytelling and thought-provoking exploration of the criminal justice system, Serial has become one of the most addicting and influential podcasts of all time.
    • Genre: True Crime
    • Format: Serialized
    • Episodes: Varies per season
    • Average Episode Length: Approximately 45-60 minutes
    • Release Date: October 3, 2014
    Serial in other rankings
  2. 2

    This American Life

    Ira Glass
    A long-running radio and podcast show that features stories about everyday people and their experiences. It has won numerous awards and is considered a pioneer in the podcasting industry.
    This American Life is a highly acclaimed radio show and podcast that tells captivating stories about everyday people and their experiences. Each episode explores various themes, such as love, loss, hope, and resilience, through a blend of interviews, personal narratives, and soundscapes. The show aims to offer a unique perspective on American society and culture, shedding light on both ordinary and extraordinary human stories.
    • Genre: Radio documentary
    • Debut Year: 1995
    • Format: Audio
    • Frequency: Weekly
    • Episode Length: Approximately 1 hour
  3. 3
    A science and philosophy podcast that explores the mysteries and wonders of the world. It uses sound design and storytelling to make complex topics accessible and engaging.
    Radiolab is a popular podcast that explores scientific and philosophical topics through storytelling and sound design. Each episode combines fascinating narratives, interviews with experts, and immersive audio effects to create a unique and engaging listening experience. The show often delves into thought-provoking questions and explores the mysteries of the world around us.
    • Genre: Science/Philosophy
    • Format: Narrative, Interview
    • Average Episode Length: around 45-60 minutes
    • Release Schedule: Bi-weekly
    • Production Quality: High, with immersive sound design
    Radiolab in other rankings
  4. 4

    Stuff You Should Know

    A podcast that covers a wide range of topics, from science and history to culture and technology. It's hosted by two friends who share their knowledge and curiosity about the world.
    Stuff You Should Know is an educational and entertaining podcast that explores a wide range of interesting topics. Hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. Bryant, this podcast aims to inform and entertain listeners by diving deep into different subjects.
    • Launch Date: April 15, 2008
    • Hosts: Josh Clark and Charles W. Bryant
    • Format: Audio podcast
    • Episode Length: Usually around 45-60 minutes
    • Episodes per Month: Varies, but typically around 4 episodes
    Stuff You Should Know in other rankings
  5. 5
    A podcast hosted by comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who interviews guests from various fields and discusses topics ranging from politics and science to comedy and pop culture.
    The Joe Rogan Experience is a popular and influential podcast hosted by Joe Rogan. It is known for its long-form conversations with a wide range of guests from various fields including comedians, scientists, musicians, actors, and experts in different domains. The podcast covers a diverse range of topics including science, philosophy, current events, health, and fitness.
    • Format: Long-form conversation
    • Genre: Comedy, Podcast
    • Duration: Variable (1 - 4+ hours)
    • Number of Episodes: Over 1600 (as of 2021)
    • Release Schedule: Regular (multiple episodes per week)
    The Joe Rogan Experience in other rankings
  6. 6

    TED Radio Hour

    NPR and TED
    A podcast that features excerpts from TED Talks on a theme, along with interviews with the speakers and experts. It's a great way to learn about new ideas and perspectives.
    TED Radio Hour is a popular podcast that takes listeners on a journey into fascinating ideas, inspiring stories, and groundbreaking research. The show is a co-production of NPR and TED, featuring TED Talks from various speakers and combining them with interviews and commentary to explore a specific theme in each episode. Each week, the host Guy Raz brings together these thought-provoking talks to provide a deep dive into topics like creativity, happiness, technology, and more.
    • Format: Audio podcast
    • Genre: Education
    • Language: English
    • Release Schedule: Weekly
    • Average Episode Length: Around 50 minutes
  7. 7
    A podcast that explores the hidden side of everything, using economics and data analysis to uncover surprising insights about the world. It's hosted by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner.
    Freakonomics Radio is a popular podcast that explores the hidden side of everyday life and applies economic principles to a wide range of topics. It delves into the intersection of economics, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines, offering insightful analysis and unconventional perspectives.
    • Launch Date: May 2009
    • Average Episode Length: 30-60 minutes
    • Episode Frequency: Weekly
    • Number of Episodes: Over 450 (as of 2021)
    • Topics Covered: Economics, social issues, science, technology, education, healthcare, psychology, sociology, and more
  8. 8

    Hardcore History

    Dan Carlin
    A podcast that delves into the past, telling epic stories and exploring historical events in depth. It's hosted by Dan Carlin, who has a knack for making history come alive.
    Hardcore History is a popular podcast that delves deeply into historical events and figures, offering in-depth narratives that captivate and educate listeners. The host, Dan Carlin, presents historical stories with a unique perspective and a gripping storytelling style that makes the past come alive. With episodes ranging from hours to even several multi-part series, Hardcore History offers a comprehensive exploration of various periods in history.
    • Podcast Length: Episodes ranging from 2 to 6+ hours
    • Release Schedule: Infrequent, with episodes sometimes months apart
    • Narration Style: Engaging and immersive storytelling
    • Episode Topics: Varied historical events, figures, and periods
    • Detailed Research: Thorough exploration of historical sources
  9. 9
    Welcome to Night Vale
    Sceptre · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Welcome to Night Vale

    Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
    A fictional podcast that presents a surreal and spooky vision of a small town in the desert. It's a unique blend of horror, humor, and satire, and has gained a devoted following.
    Welcome to Night Vale is a fictional podcast that presents itself as a community radio show reporting on the mysterious and surreal happenings in the fictional town of Night Vale. Created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, this podcast has gained a cult following for its unique storytelling style and darkly humorous tone.
    • Podcast Genre: Fiction, Horror, Comedy
    • Language: English
    • Format: Audio
    • Number of Episodes: Over 150
    • Running Time: Approximately 20-30 minutes per episode
  10. 10
    A podcast that reviews and ridicules bad movies, often with hilarious results. It's hosted by comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael, who bring their wit and charm to the proceedings.
    How Did This Get Made? is a hilarious podcast that delves into the world of incredibly bad movies. Comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas take a deep dive into the most baffling films ever made, discussing their absurd plotlines, terrible acting, and questionable production decisions. With their unique brand of humor and infectious enthusiasm, they dissect these cinematic disasters and provide plenty of laughs along the way.
    • Hosts: Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas
    • Genre: Comedy
    • Average Episode Length: 60-90 minutes
    • Release Schedule: Weekly
    • Launch Date: June 29, 2010
    How Did This Get Made? in other rankings

Missing your favorite podcast?


Ranking factors for popular podcast

  1. Number of downloads
    The total number of downloads or listens per episode is a crucial factor to determine a podcast's popularity. The higher the number, the more popular the podcast.
  2. Consistent listenership
    A popular podcast should have a consistently high number of listeners for its episodes. This may indicate that the podcast has a dedicated audience that tunes in regularly.
  3. Ratings and Reviews
    Positive user reviews and high ratings on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts show that the podcast is well-received by its audience.
  4. Engagement on social media and online communities
    A popular podcast is likely to have a high level of engagement from fans on social media platforms and online communities dedicated to podcast discussions.
  5. Media coverage and recognition
    Podcasts that receive media coverage or earn awards and recognitions are usually considered popular and influential in the podcasting industry.
  6. Guest appearances and collaborations
    A popular podcast may attract notable guests or be involved in collaborations with other well-known podcasts or personalities.
  7. Age and longevity
    Long-running podcasts with a history of high-quality content and a loyal audience are more likely to be popular than newer, unestablished shows.
  8. Genre and niche appeal
    A podcast's popularity may also depend on the genre, subject matter, and niche appeal of the show. Some genres, like true crime or self-help, have larger audiences compared to others.
  9. Production quality and format
    High production quality, engaging storytelling, and a well-structured format can contribute to a podcast's popularity.
  10. Host's personality and expertise
    A podcast host's personality, communication skills, and subject matter expertise can also play a significant role in attracting and retaining an audience. Hosts with credibility and a strong personal connection to their audience contribute to the popularity of a podcast.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular podcast of all time. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite podcast is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 187 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each podcast once every 24 hours. The rank of each podcast is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular podcast of all time

Podcasts have been around since the early 2000s, and have grown in popularity over the years. With the increasing number of podcasts available, it can be hard to know which ones are worth listening to. However, there are a few podcasts that have stood the test of time and have become some of the most popular of all time. These podcasts cover a variety of topics, from true crime to pop culture, and have amassed a loyal following of listeners. In this article, we will explore the most popular podcast of all time and why it has become such a sensation.