When and Where People Are Listening to Podcasts Most in the United States

Peak listening times are 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

You might think Virginians would listen to news and politics podcasts the most, but that honor goes to New Jerseyans. And while Texans are all business, Pennsylvanians are all about their pop culture.

Acast, a podcast streaming platform and distributor, has discovered some new insights about podcast listeners like the genres people listen to most frequently in the states that do the most listening.

In June, Acast measured more than 14 million listens in the U.S., including both streams and downloads, which creates a more accurate number for its marketing partners.

“Downloads can be a vanity metric,” said Oskar Serrander, Acast’s general manager in the U.S. “If we’re trying to monetize this medium, we have to show what we’re actually selling.”

Based in Europe and seeing robust growth in the U.S., Acast was one of the first distributors to monetize podcasts and utilize machine learning to suggest new shows to listeners.

“People are listening to more shows on a monthly basis than ever before,” Serrander said, “and because of that, we’re excited to see a mix of popular genres.”

Podcasts about business appeared in the 10 states that Acast found to have the highest number of podcast listens. California, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia were the states with the most listens, while Illinois, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania round out the top 10. Acast didn’t find any one genre leading the pack, but business and society and culture podcasts appeared in nine of the top 10.

“Without any large patterns in content genres, we’re mostly able to see how podcasting has grown as a whole thanks to the mix and spread,” Serrander said. “Podcasts used to be two dudes in a garage interviewing comics, and now podcasts can be credible, daily news sources.”

Acast also measured the times of day U.S. users stream or download podcasts the most. Listeners typically enjoy podcasts either early in the morning or later at night. The company measured spikes around 7-8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET. The chart below illustrates which hours had how many states tuning in.

“As home devices become more popular, people can enjoy hearing the morning or evening news in the same way they used to use the radio,” Serrander said. “We all have some version of screen fatigue these days, so being able to just take a moment to listen may also be fueling this podcast expansion.”

Serrander doesn’t think publishers and marketers looking to start their own podcasts should be intimidated by the number of shows already available on the market.

“Because this industry is still growing rapidly, we can start to utilize user behavior data and consumption patterns to help people discover shows more easily,” he said. “New formats are coming out all the time, and listeners are more engaged in shows than ever.”