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iHeart Tops Rankings, Avoids Strike

The media giant's 100 podcast employees signed a three-year union contract

iHeart Tops Rankings, Avoids Strike

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When iHeart Media popped up as the new top ranker on Podtrac and Triton Digital rankings late last week, they bragged -rightfully- about it. And we just winced.

It would have been a bad look for iHeart to tout themselves as the 'new number one podcaster,' only to have their entire podcast staff walk out.... which they seemed poised to do.

Then, on Tuesday, another iHeart news item dropped; the podcast unit employees, represented by the Writers Guild of America East union, had agreed to a three-year contract.

It's the first union contract for the 100-employee group, and took more than two years of negotiations.

Podcasters also felt the heat of last year's WGA writers' strike in Hollywood, especially when SAG-AFTRA (the union for other actors and other movie industry workers) joined that strike. Actors, writers and other celebrities had to pause or modify podcast hosting and guest appearances until that one was settled.

As for the rankings, iHeart's top spot on Triton Digital ranks (it was the first time they'd been measured by Triton) shows them with 67.3 million average weekly downloads across more than 500 podcasts.

The rest of the Triton top 10 each dropped one slot, but otherwise remained unchanged. Second place SiriusXM tallied 38.5 million average weekly downloads, while 10-place Paramount totaled just under 4 million.

Four of the top ten producers (iHeart, SiriusXM, Audacy and Audioboom) each have 500+ podcasts contributing to their numbers. Notably, number-three NPR pulled 24.6 million downloads with just 64 podcast titles.