Podcasts are one of the hottest audio treats of our generation, with thousands of podcast series available for download or streaming. Apple offers a gallery on iTunes, and Spotify is chock-full of the newest and hottest podcasts. The most successful podcasts have the ability to rake in some major cash.
The perfect recipe for success? Millions of subscribers, plenty of weekly episodes, and a marketing platform that keeps the podcast exposed. It doesn't hurt if you are already a well-known figure in entertainment. Here are the most successful podcasts of 2019.
10 Joe Rogan: The Joe Rogan Experience - $10 Million Per Year
Joe Rogan hosts the most successful podcast ever, The Joe Rogan Experience, which has been going strong since its launch in 2009. The free podcast airs a few episodes per week, and regularly features celebrity guests, ranging from actors, to politicians, to scientists.
With over 20 million downloads per month, The Joe Rogan Experience has consistently increased its fan-base and endorsements. Joe Rogan takes home at least $10 million per year in profits from the podcast, which has helped him to amass a net worth of over $30 million.
9 Marc Maron: WTF with Marc Maron - $1.5 Million Per Year
Marc Maron is a successful stand-up comedian, author, and actor who launched his successful podcast, WTF with Marc Maron in 2009. The weekly podcast has featured guests such as Louis C.K., Barack Obama, Kevin Smith, and Sean Penn. The majority of episodes have been taped in Maron's home garage, affectionately nicknamed 'The Cat Ranch', though some of the episodes have aired from hotel rooms while he traveled.
With a reach of over 250,000 downloads per episode, this humorous podcast is one of the most successful. Advertising campaigns have added greatly to his profits, which are estimated at roughly $30,000 per episode, or about $1.5 million per year.
8 Ira Glass: This American Life - $2.6 Million Per Year
This American Life is a hugely popular podcast, which was originally a television and radio broadcasting, first airing in 1995 under its original name, Your Radio Playhouse. The podcast focuses largely on the works of journalists, authors, and performing artists.
Though host Ira Glass has turned down salary increases on several occasions, the podcast brings in at least $2.6 million a year. With an estimated 5 million weekly listeners, it is one of the most popular American radio shows. Notable past guests include Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, Tobias Wolff, and Michael Chabon.
7 Sarah Koenig: Serial - $1.2 Million Per Year
Sarah Koenig is an American journalist, radio personality, and the former producer of This American Life radio show. In 2014, she launched a new investigative journalism podcast called Serial. The first season focused on the murder of Hae Min Lee.
The episodes of Season 1 have now been downloaded over 100 million times, and led to successes in the second and third seasons. Winner of the 2015 Peabody Award, Serial is one of the top true crime investigative broadcasts, earning approximately $1.2 million per year.
6 Terry Gross: Fresh Air - $3 Million Per Year
Fresh Air is a radio show produced by NPR, and hosted by Terry Gross. The interview-based show debuted way back in 1975, and still has a faithful following to this day. Gross has been praised for her interviewing style; she researches her guests extensively before they appear on the show, and she has consistently shown respect, empathy, and grace while conducting the interviews.
Some of the most notable episodes include guest appearances from the likes of Gene Simmons, Bill O'Reilly, and Hillary Clinton. With 5.5 million weekly listeners, Fresh Air is one of the most successful podcasts of our generation, generating an annual revenue of about $3 million.
5 Dan Katz: Pardon My Take - $2.6 Million Per Year
Pardon My Take is a sports themed comedic podcast which airs three times per week. Created and produced by Barstool Sports, the show is hosted by Dan Katz, also known as 'Big Cat'.
Launched in 2016, the show has roughly 1.5 million weekly listeners, and is considered one of the most successful sports podcasts, with an average iTunes rating of five stars. With an average weekly profit of $50,000, the podcast makes a comfortable $2.6 million per year.
4 Michael Barbaro: The Daily - $10 Million Per Year
Perhaps one of the most well-known podcasts is The Daily, hosted by Michael Barbaro, and produced by The New York Times. The weekday radio show features news items hot off the press, as reported by the Times.
Airing since January 2017, the show became an instant success, with over 2 million daily listeners tuning in. Due to the popularity of the show, a weekly version of the podcast, aptly called, The Weekly, made its debut in the summer of 2019. It is estimated that The Daily podcast brings in about $10 million of profit per year.
3 Josh Clark & Chuck Bryant: Stuff You Should Know - $7.2 Million Per Year
Stuff You Should Know is a successful podcast hosted by Josh Clark & Chuck Bryant, two writers at popular education website HowStuffWorks. Launched in April, 2008, each episode focuses on one topic drawn from the fields of history, science, pop culture, and myth and legends.
The comedic series is meant to educate, but also produce a few laughs. The show is broadcast three times a week, and is consistently ranked in the Top 10 Podcast list on iTunes. In January 2019, it hit one billion downloads on iTunes. The podcast earns at least $7.2 million in revenue per year.
2 Stephen Dubner: Freakonomics Radio - $2 Million Per Year
Freakonomics Radio is a podcast hosted by Stephen Dubnar, which is based on the book by the same name, co-written by Dubnar and Steven Levitt. The weekly series focuses on socioeconomic issues, and regularly has invited guests to assist in panels.
Since its debut in 2009, the show has had steady success and gets about 3 million downloads per month. At this rate, the show takes home about $2 million per year.
1 Aaron Mahnke: Lore - $6 Million Per Year
Lore deals with all things scary and spooky. The non-fiction show is hosted by Aaron Mahnke, and deals with the roots of scary folklore tales.
This bi-weekly podcast has over 5 million monthly listeners, and is one of the top-rated horror-themed podcasts of all time. With advertising campaigns and a recent collaboration with HowStuffWorks, Lore makes about $6 Million profit per year.