5 Most Popular Podcasts in 2020

While the still-unpredictable turbulence of 2020 has forced many industries to reconsider business operations and growth strategies, the podcast industry — estimated in 2019 to top $1 billion by 2021— is one that has remained relatively stable and on an upwards trajectory.

At LISN, we’ve always been confident in the strength of the podcast community and the power of a podcast, which is why we’re not surprised by the influx of hot new podcasts, as well as the consistency of well-established favourites.

If you’re just getting started with podcasts or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for your next fix, making sure that you’ve checked out these 5 chart-topping podcasts is a good place to start.

#1: Joe Rogan Experience (JRE)

Who: Joe Rogan (American Comedian/Television Host)

When : December 24th 2009

How Long: 2 hours 31 minutes

What: Any self-respecting podcast junkie has heard of JRE. The incredibly popular podcast took its maiden voyage at the end of 2009 and has been consistently gaining popularity ever since. Joe Rogan, a fascinating character himself, has carved out a unique space in the podcast industry by name hosting a continuous slew of captivating guests with whom he engages in a casual, long-form conversation. The diverse guest-list, spread across almost 1700 episodes to date, includes many guests of high calibre such as Bernie Sanders, Mike Tyson, and Elon Musk. No matter who the guest, you can always be sure that Joe Rogan will keep it interesting, leaving no controversial rock unturned.

Recommended Episode: #1169 “Elon Musk”

#2: Call Her Daddy

Who: Sofia Franklyn and Alex Cooper (NYC Socialites & Influencers)

When: October 3rd 2018

How Long: 1 hour 15 minutes

What: This podcast needs no introduction. Since it’s late 2018 inception, Barstool Sport’s “Call Her Daddy” has been on the fast track to cult-like notoriety, providing listeners with the jaw-dropping raunchy expose into the life and issues that plague the average NYC socialite that we all secretly asked for. Episodes flagrantly titled things like “Dear Side Hoe” and “The Cocaine Chronicles” remain some of the more mundane. Despite a dramatic and very public split between hosts Sofia and Alex this past April, you can still join in the fun with a solo “Father-Alex Cooper”.

Recommended Episode: #63 How Our Families Really Feel

#3: SmartLess

Who: Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett (American/Canadian Actors)

When: July 20th 2020

How Long: 50 minutes

What: Any podcast hosted by such a legendary trio of Hollywood good guys was bound to hit the ground running. In just a few short months, SmartLess has captured the hearts of the North American podcast community with weekly episodes consisting of the perfect combination of improvised hilarity, thoughtful debate and good vibes. The best part of the podcast? The co-hosts take turns picking an all-start guest (which have yet to disappoint) that they proceed to surprise the remaining two co-hosts with at the onset of each episode. The second best part? Almost a full hour per week of pure, first-class improv.

Recommended Episode: “Kamala Harris”

#4: Crime Junkie

Who: Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat (American Podcast Hosts)

When: December 17th 2017

How Long: 42 minutes avg.

What: The Crime Junkie podcast has tapped into society’s morbid obsession with unsolved crime and mystery that television producers and authors have been capitalizing on for decades. Hosts Ashley Flowers and Brittany Prowat are self-proclaimed “Junkies of Crime” who have turned their passion into an engrossing podcast for like-minded individuals looking for their “Crime Fix”. If a podcast could be a page-turner, this one would fit the bill. Each episode brings listeners into the web of a new seemingly unbelievable but true crime. The episodes are short and sweet, meaning that there is almost always enough time to fit in “just one more episode”.

Recommended Episode: “52” Lizzie Borden

#5 This is Actually Happening

Who: Dr. Whit Misslidine (American Scientist and Psychology Phd)

When: September 12th 2013

How Long: 38 minutes avg.

What:Have you ever read a shocking news headline that made you raise your eyebrows and say: “Wow. I wonder what it would be stuck in the middle of all this”? Well, luckily there’s a podcast for that, and it’s nothing short of of brilliant. Hosted by Dr. Whit Missildine, a Social Psychology Phd. based in Oakland CA, “This is Actually Happening” takes listeners on a raw, biweekly trip down each guest’s unique yet always harrowing memory lane, with no shortage of emotional moments that keep anyone with a human brain riveted from start to finish. There are over 160 episodes to choose from, with guests that have experienced everything from losing their best-friend to a tragic fate, to having their mother leave them behind for a cult. This is a podcast for those of us interested in the deepest, darkest corners of human life.

Recommended Episode: #159 “What If Someone You Love Committed a Monstrous Crime”

Honorable Mention: Spittin’ Chiclets

Podcast Name: Spittin’ Chiclets

Who: Ryan Whitney (ex-NHL), Paul Bissonnette (ex-NHL) and Rear Admiral (Barstool Sports)

When: October 14th 2016

How Long: 2 hours avg.

What: If you’re not a hockey fan, you may not have heard of Barstool Sport’s “Spittin’ Chiclets” but you can’t have missed the affiliated vodka line “Pink Whitney”, on the shelves of your local liquor store. On top of being responsible for the top-selling flavoured vodka of 2020, the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast has been a popular go-to since it’s debut in late 2016. Listeners are treated to not one, but two episodes per week of golden, off-the-record hockey banter between charismatic ex-NHL hosts and their Barstool comrade. Whether you’re a loyal hockey fan, or just someone trying to decode the general Slack channel during play-offs, this podcast is worth a visit.

Recommended Episode: #13 with Paul Bissonnette


At LISN, our mission is to help you connect with podcasts that you and your network love.  Read our story.

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