The 10 Most Popular Podcasts of 2015

3 minute read

It may be hard to believe, but podcasts turn 10 years old this year. The podcast first took off back in 2005, when Apple added them to iTunes.

Today’s podcasts range from daily five-minute newscasts to weekly deep dives into history, science, politics and more. A select few have even become just as popular as hit television shows.

Take Serial, for example. The This American Life spinoff examined the 1999 murder of a Baltimore teen. It’s still among the most frequently downloaded and streamed podcasts despite being more than a year old. Some have even named Serial as the driving factor behind the so-called “podcast renaissance” of 2014.

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But Serial is just one of many entertaining and intriguing podcasts out there. There are tons of others worth listening to, especially while you continue to wait patiently for the anticipated second season of Serial.

If you’re looking for something new to listen to, try starting with the most popular podcasts of the past year. These 10 podcasts were downloaded or streamed from iTunes more than any other in 2015, according to Apple.

Fresh Air

NPR’s Peabody award-winning talk show hosts intimate conversations about popular culture. It’s hosted by Terry Gross and is one of public radio’s most popular programs.


A widely-beloved podcast from the creators of This American Life narrated narrated by journalist Sarah Koenig. It tells one story over the course of an entire season, hence the name. The first season delved into the 1999 murder of a Baltimore high school student, a case with many loose ends even today.

Stuff You Should Know

This is HowStuffWorks’ podcast dedicated to explaining, well, how things work. Episodes break down complex diseases and dive into the minds of famous personas like Carl Sagan and Rodney Dangerfield.

This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio broadcast in which each episode is driven by a particular theme. It inspired the television show of the same name which appeared on Showtime. Half a dozen stories from the podcast are being developed into films.

Planet Money

Planet Money is NPR’s podcast dedicated to all things money. The easiest way to think of it, according to the podcast’s official description, is like meeting with a friend at a bar and having him or her explain the economy.


Radiolab is a radio show heard on more than 500 local stations across the country. It bounces between themes touching on politics, science, and more with the curious listener in mind.

Freakanomics Radio

Hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, the author of the Freakanomics books, Freakanomics Radio explores “the riddles of everyday life.” Guests on the show include entrepreneurs, social scientists, and more.

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience is a conversational podcast hosted by actor and comedian Joe Rogan. It was voted the Best Comedy podcast in 2012.

The Nerdist

The Nerdist, hosted by Chris Hardwick, is a podcast focused on comedy and pop culture. Its recent guests have included actors Fred Savage and Daniel Craig.

The Dave Ramsey Show

A podcast focused on personal finance, the Dave Ramsey Show teaches listeners how to manage their budgets and spend money. It’s based on the idea that life revolves around money.

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