Edison Research’s top five podcasts with exclusive listeners

One of the things I like the most about Edison Research is that it tells me audio data and statistics that I never knew I needed to know. This time they’ve used their Edison Podcast Metrics, across 500 of the biggest active shows in America, to see which have the highest number of exclusive listeners, that is they only listen to that one podcast.

There was a time in our beautiful radio industry when listening to a station outside of the one you dubbed ‘yours’ felt as if you had been unfaithful to your partner.

A couple of cases in point. In the early 1990s I was in a car one evening with my high school girlfriends listening to early EDM, or techno as we called it, playing very, very loudly on Sydney station 2SER when a police car flashed its lights and asked us to pull over. My friend Jakki panicked, trying to work out what she’d done wrong and in the small space of time it took for the officer to get out of their car and approach ours someone had told Jakki that she needed to change the station she was listening to. My suggestion was to turn the radio off. Instead she twidled the knob hastily ending up with ABC Classic FM absolutely blaring as she rolled down the window.

The officer took one look at the car and its contents and said:

“This is really what you’re listening too?”

To which my friend, trying to look respectable I guess, said:

“We really love classical.”

The moment stuck with me as I got the most unhelpful giggles and Jakki was so unimpressed with all of us that we listened to ABC Classic the entire rest of the journey.

Another was when I was working in radio and hosting a gardening program on a Saturday. One day I went around to a lady’s place to pick up something from a local buy, swap, sell group that she was offloading. It was a Saturday I wasn’t working and she was listening to a different gardening program on the ABC. I told her there was another really spectacular gardening option on my station that she should check out.

“Oh no,” she said, “I will only listen to the ABC.

I wonder how much the above still happens? I also wonder how many people are pulled over, engrossed in a podcast or audio book?

As a general rule once someone starts listening to podcasts, they will likely listen to more across the same topic (true crime for example) or various genres like starting the day with a news podcast, catching up on Kyle and Jackie O, listening to Hamish and Andy’s weekly episode, checking out the health a fitness one a girlfriend recommended and so on. Listening to one, and only one, regularly, would be the exception not the rule.

So perhaps I shouldn’t really have been surprised that in the US three of the top five exclusively listened to podcasts are evangelical.

No 1, a daily podcast called The Bible in a Year, hosted by Father Mike Schmitz, which goes through the entire bible text, was found to have a genuinely astonishing average of 30% of listeners that do not listen to any other show.

Perhaps like me the only familiar face of the top 5 US podcasts with the highest percentage of exclusive listeners pictured is Steve Harvey who I have only seen snippets of on social media hosting Kids Say the Darndest Things (word!). As it turns out at No 5 is The Steve Harvey Morning Show catch up radio podcast. Harvey’s radio program is the No 1 syndicated national show in America, across 100 stations and more than 6 million weekly listeners. Way more family friendly than Howard Stern for example, Harvey’s values and profile have led to devoted listenership, live and via podcasts.

Of the three remaining, two and three, Joel Osteen and Unashamed with The Robertson Brothers are Christian podcasts with the blurb accompanying the Robertson Brothers saying:

“The Duck Commander and his family are unashamed of their Christian faith and want to share the Gospel with everyone, from new believers to longtime followers of Jesus.”

No 4 though, The Dale Jr. Download appears to be an anomaly. This is the description from his website:

‘NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt raises the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.’

What is it about Earnhardt Jnr that inspires such devotion and interest? Are their other NASCAR podcasts or is one of the reasons for his success a marketed cornered? It appears from a cursory glance and limited NASCAR knowledge, that every episode highlights the sport. He’s not dating anyone like Taylor Swift which led to huge growth in the NFL related New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce podcast. Earnhardt is just a nice guy, married dad and champion driver.

In this top five, The Bible in a Year, Joel Osteen, Unashamed with the Robertson Brothers, The Dale Jr. Download and The Steve Harvey Morning Show, what I would like to further know is the breakdown of gender listening exclusively as I have a feeling it might be significantly more men. I would also like to know the same statistics for Australian podcasts like Hamish and Andy (who I suspect have a significant exclusive listenership too).

Edison Research said:

“Podcasting allows so many unique voices to find their audience, often in a manner that no one else might have considered. That a priest in Duluth Minnesota could build a very large and clearly very devoted audience is just one of so many examples of how podcasting fills in spaces in the content universe and sometimes finds large spaces that no one else could see.”

What are some of the Australian large spaces that can similarly meet this need or are we a culture who likes to share the love more when it comes to podcast listening.

By Jen Seyderhelm – Radioinfo Writer, Editor and Podcaster


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