On October 20, 2017, we launched the inaugural Discover Pods Awards call for nominations. Being a relatively new site, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. From the onslaught, any doubts were removed. We received over 4,000 nominations. Admittedly, there were some ballot stuffers mixed in since there wasn’t any email capture or any other gate. Either way, the response blew away my expectations.

In between the nominations and final votes, I hopped on a podcast to discuss the Mount Rushmore of Podcasters with Brendan Hutchins from Podcast Playl.ist, Phoebe Lett from the New York Times Podcast Club, and Arielle Nissenblatt from Earbuds Podcast Collective. We all weighed in on worthy candidates and eventually settled on our top four: Sam Sanders, Roman Mars, Paul F. Tompkins, and Helen Zaltzman. Listen to our discussion here.

A little over a month after the nominations were opened, we announced the 2017 Discover Pods Awards finalists and had a final vote lasting about two weeks. This time, however, the response was even greater. With an email field, ballot stuffing nearly went away and over 6,000 people cast their votes for their favorite podcasts. It was extremely humbling to see the conversation and engagement over social media with some of the top podcasters and podcasts out there weighing in. It was also great to see some excellent indie podcasts put on a level playing field with some of the larger contenders.

There was definitely some constructive feedback I heard including difficulty voting on your phone/tablet, the lack of indie podcasts represented, and some tweaking of the categories and nominees. We’ll definitely take all of this into consideration as we plan the 2018 Discover Pods Awards. If you have any other feedback points, please email us at contact@discoverpods.com — just please don’t say something along the lines of “why wasn’t <podcast name> a finalist?! this is bullsh*t!” We’ve gotten enough of that already.

So after all the votes came in — and a brief data scrub since there were still some attempted gamers — here are the winners (and runner ups, because they deserve some recognition too!). Congrats to everyone involved, including all those nominated, the finalists, and the ultimate winners!

The 2017 Discover Pods Awards Winners

Best Overall Podcast

S-Town

Runner Up: WTF with Marc Maron

Best New Podcast

S-Town

Runner Up: Ear Hustle

Best Podcast Episode

S-Town Chapter 2

Runner Up: Dan Carlin Hardcore History – Destroyer of Worlds

Most Innovative Podcast

Casefile

Runner Up: Ear Hustle

Desert Island Podcast

True Crime Garage

Runner Up: This American Life

People’s Choice

Small Town Murder

Runner Up: Wine & Crime

Best Podcast Production Company

NPR

Runner Up: Radiotopia

Best True Crime Podcast

S-Town

Runner Up: Last Podcast on the Left

Best Sports Podcast

Crime in Sports

Runner Up: ESPNs 30 for 30

Best News Podcast

Pod Save America

Runner Up: Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me

Best Interview Style Podcast

The Nerdist

Runner Up: WTF with Marc Maron

Best Comedy Podcast

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Runner Up: Two Dope Queens

Best Kids & Family Podcast

Stuff You Should Know

Runner Up: Weird!

Best Society & Culture Podcast

This American Life

Runner Up: Lore

Best Entertainment Podcast

Bitch Sesh

Runner Up: The Sometimes Geek Podcast

Best Technology & Science Podcast

Stuff You Should Know

Runner Up: Radiolab

Best Audio Drama

Welcome to Night Vale

Runner Up: The Black Tapes

Best Business Podcast

Freakonomics

Runner Up: How I Built This

Congrats to the all the winners again. See you next year!

Some interesting notes:

  • S-Town led the awards with 4 wins, however, the tightest race they won was for Best True Crime Podcast.
  • Despite being the runner up for the Best Overall Podcast, WTF with Marc Maron was also the runner up for the Best Interview Style Podcast.
  • Best Entertainment Podcast was the closest race, with Bitch Sesh beating The Sometimes Geek Podcast by only 4 votes.
  • Up until the final day, the Best Podcast Production Company race had NPR, Radiotopia, and Crooked Media all within 15 votes of each other.
  • I submitted a ballot. Nobody I voted for won. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Pointed out by My Thing Can Beat Your Thing, crime as a genre won 8/17 podcast awards.