Discover the Winners of Adweek’s 2019 Podcast of the Year Awards

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If it feels like the world of podcasts has become bafflingly large, that’s probably because it has.

This year, an estimated 14 million more Americans—a 23% increase over 2018—became weekly podcast listeners, and the industry reached a milestone moment as 51% of Americans said they’ve listened to podcasts, according to Edison Research’s annual “Infinite Dial” survey.

As content creators scramble to claim their slices of this massively growing audience, it can be tough to sift through the shows to find the ones truly worth a listen. That’s why we launched the Adweek Podcast of the Year Awards, recognizing the best shows, companies and personalities across 20 categories.

Despite this being the first year of the awards program, we were flooded with entries from many of today’s top networks, media outlets, agencies and brands. Luckily, our jury of industry experts with hands-on podcasting experience was willing to review hundreds of hours of podcast content to determine the best.

Today, we unveil the inaugural winners of Adweek’s Podcast of the Year Awards, including the show selected from all honorees to be 2019’s definitive Podcast of the Year:

Podcast Hosts of the Year

Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom
Hosts of Hear to Slay
Luminary Media

Gay and McMillan Cottom have brought a breath of fresh air to the crowded podcasting space through their perspectives on all things pop culture and politics. The self-described “black feminist podcast of your dreams” balances humor with insightful interviews on current events. Novelist and essayist Gay was previously honored in Adweek’s 2018 Creative 100.

Podcast Network of the Year

Two winners were honored in this category:


The storytelling-driven podcast network, part of the nonprofit Public Radio Exchange, or PRX, has quickly grown to be a favorite of avid podcast listeners. Since the network was founded by Roman Mars in 2014, its portfolio of podcasts—including hits like Criminal, West Wing Weekly, The Allusionist and Mars’ 99% Invisible—has reached more than 19 million downloads per month and attracted big-time investments, including the Knight Foundation.

Critical Frequency

Founded in 2018 by journalist Amy Westervelt, Critical Frequency is focused on identifying and amplifying diverse voices that haven’t always been well represented in mainstream podcasting.  Describing itself as “a podcast network for everyone else,” Critical Frequency spans several coverage areas with popular podcasts like Hot Take, The Double Shift and Drilled.

Podcast Executive of the Year

Getty Images

Kerri Hoffman

A 20-year veteran of nonprofit leadership, Hoffman was an early adopter of podcasting and has remained a consistent advocate for innovation in the industry’s storytelling, technology and revenue streams. She has been with PRX for more than a decade, previously having served as its chief operating officer until being named CEO in 2016. She has played a key role in overseeing the evolution of PRX and the creation of its podcast network, Radiotopia, also honored as one of Adweek’s Podcast Networks of the Year.

Podcast Episode of the Year

Two winners were honored in this category:

The Big One: Your Survival Guide
“Episode 1: The Earthquake”
Southern California Public Radio

The Big One: Your Survival Guide imagines what it would be like if Los Angeles were completely changed by a massive earthquake at a magnitude of 7.8. The first episode perfectly sets the stage for a terrifying, in-depth look at what would happen next. In the episode, host Jacob Margolis walks listeners through the first two minutes of the disaster, which the show estimates would leave 10 million people without power, water or internet.

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