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Best Podcast Genres & Types & How to Choose One (2024)

Here's your ultimate guide to choosing a podcast genre in 2024. We share 18 of the most popular generes and help you choose the right one.
Ortal Hadad
Content Specialist & Blog Editor
Published:
November 28, 2023
Last Updated:
January 15, 2024
14
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

You might feel that your podcast’s genre is irrelevant. Or that you fit into more than one. Or maybe you’re on the hunt for the perfect fit for your show. 

Whatever your relationship with podcast genres – one thing is definitely true: they are important, and you should definitely take them seriously. Though they’re not always “one-size-fits-all”, podcast genres help you reach your audience, and your audience reach you. 

In this article, we’re guiding you through all the top podcast genres, what they entail, and how you can choose the best one for your show.

What is a podcast genre?

Let’s start by returning to the basics: what is a podcast genre? 

Think of a podcast genre like a category, theme, or format. They’re a way of grouping together podcasts that:

  • cover a similar theme or topic
  • target the same kinds of audiences or
  • use a particular format every time. 

For podcast listeners, genres are a great way to explore new shows that they’re likely to enjoy or that tick the box when they’re looking for a certain type of listening experience.

Genres help podcasters reach their intended listenership, understand their competition, and rank in the charts that matter most to them. 

Why does your podcast genre matter?

Here are just a few reasons that you should care about your podcast genre:

  • Reach your target audience. By listing your podcast’s genre, you make sure that listeners looking for that kind of content are able to discover your content. 
  • Rank among your peers. You want to make sure that your podcast appears alongside similar content. Again, this is important for reaching listeners who are interested in your specific topic area or niche. But it also gives you an idea of how your show is performing alongside your (friendly) competition.  
  • Gives you an idea of standard format, topics, and structure. Exploring your podcast genre is the best way to keep on top of trending topics for podcasts, recording techniques, and standard formats. 
  • Helps potential sponsors and advertisers to understand whether your audience, tone, and themes align with theirs. When it comes to monetizing your podcast, potential sponsors and advertisers will want to get an idea of where your podcast sits amongst your competition. By listing a podcast genre, you’ll give them an immediate indicator of whether your content aligns with what they’re looking for. 

What podcast genres are most popular in 2024?

At the time of writing, the most popular genres of podcasts in the US are:

  • Comedy
  • News
  • Culture
  • Crime
  • Sports
  • Business

Should you follow the genre trend?

The answer to this is both yes and no. 

No, there’s no need to follow podcast genre trends – you can most definitely launch a successful podcast that falls outside one of these categories. This is especially true if you’ve got a niche target audience and are consistent with your output. 

On the other hand, the benefit of specifically targeting a popular genre is that you know there’s a hunger for that kind of content. There’s likely already a captive audience out there that wants to listen to your podcast. 

18 Types of podcast genres with examples

In this section, we’re taking a look at some of the most popular podcast genres out there now with some examples: 

Business

Gary Vaynerchuk business podcast genre
GaryVee Audio Experience

Business podcasts can take a few different formats. They can work towards helping entrepreneurs and business owners build and scale their businesses with marketing, sales, and general business acumen-building tips. You’ll also often see industry-specific podcasts that give analysis and updates on the latest developments in that field. 

Examples:

In The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur Steven Bartlett offers listeners an ‘unfiltered journey into the remarkable stories of the people that have defined culture, achieved greatness and created stories worth studying.’ It pitches itself with a ‘raw, honest, and emotional’ tone that you might not always expect from a “business” podcast. 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s Audio Experience is another example of an entrepreneur, CEO, and investor recording advice, tips, and tricks to level up their listeners' marketing and business skills. 

Did you know that Gary Vaynerchuk uses Riverside for recording? You can, too! Learn more or sign up today.

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Comedy

JRE comedy genre podcast
Joe Rogan Experience

Comedy podcasts are about making their audience laugh out loud and chuckle or giggle. This can be in an interview format with hot-takes featuring popular comedians or through fictional stories and comedy sketches. 

Example: 

The much-loved and well-known Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most popular podcasts out there. Host Joe Rogan talks to a  whole range of guests for long-form conversations. 

Design 

99 invisible design podcast genre
99% Invisible

Podcasts that delve into design, aesthetics, architecture, and visual practices will fall into this category. Though you might expect this kind of podcast to attract a solely “creative” audience, some successful examples effectively bring design to a very broad listenership. 

Example: 

99% Invisible is all about the design and architecture that we just don’t tend to notice. Hosted by Roman Mars, this podcast delves into the power and process of design and architecture and how it fits into our lives and the world around us. 

Economics

The Journal Economics podcast genre
The Journal

Economic podcasts can explore themes of personal finance, world or domestic economics, investment, business, or the markets. These kinds of podcasts can very specifically target businesses, entrepreneurs, or individuals with an interest. 

Examples: 

Some examples include The Wall Street Journals’, The Journal, which is a news-oriented podcast that brings its listeners the latest stories about money, business, and power. The Rest is Money by Goalhanger Podcasts is another news-type podcast offering its audience analysis and insight into the latest developments in the world of business and finance. 

Finally, you also have podcasts such as Goldman Sachs Exchanges: The Markets, in which leaders and analysts offer insights into the latest developments in the markets and what is shaping the global economy. 

Fashion

The Run Through Fashion podcast
The Run-through with Vogue

Fashion podcasts vary a lot. You can find fashion podcasts that are all about the business side of the industry.  You’ll also come across branded shows that simultaneously showcase what the fashion house has to offer while featuring some of fashion’s biggest names. There are also shows that delve into fashion history, the trends of the moment, and the kinds of brands you should know about. 

Example: For branded shows, look no further than Chanel Connects, which brings together fashion’s thought leaders, designers, and creators in a conversational format.  

If you want an example of a podcast that offers industry insights and behind-the-scenes chats, you should definitely listen to The Run Through With Vogue. It is a weekly fashion and culture podcast that shares the latest stories and headlines from the fashion world. The Business of Fashion Podcast is also another obvious choice. This podcast brings together leading figures in the industry and offers reliable insights into the business side of fashion. 

Articles of Interest is a podcast all about what we wear. It started out as an off-shoot of ‘99% invisible’ but is now a stand-alone show. It takes a broad view of fashion as a whole and dissects the rise of certain trends, the impact and development of the industry, and the very garments that we wear. 

Films/Movies and TV 

The Rewatchables movie podcast
The Rewatchables

If you’re a cinephile or a big fan of TV, then this genre is for you. This genre actually covers many different types of podcasts and podcasting styles. You can find series that literally only talk about one specific series or type of film, or you can come across podcasts that are more general. 

Example: HBO’s The Succession Podcast is the eponymous series’ official “companion podcast”. Giving avid fans a behind-the-scenes peek into the series’ making through interviews with the show’s writers, producers, and directors. 

The Rewatchables is a film podcast all about movies that host Bill Simmons and his guests have on repeat. They cover cult classics as well as recent releases in a podcast that’s perfect for any serious film fan. 

You can find more recommendations for podcasts made for cinematic and TV series fans in our best movie podcast recommendations.

Food 

Lecker food podcast
Lecker

A food podcast will appeal to all foodies, home cooks, bakers, chefs, and travelers alike. Again, there’s a diverse variety of food podcasts out there, ranging from actual cooking shows, food history, and food science series through to a standard interview-style podcast that centers around food. 

Example: 

Two podcasts that take food as their topic but don’t necessarily involve any actual cooking are: Gastropod and Lecker.

Gastropod describes itself as offering “food with a side of science and history.” Hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, each episode deep dives into the history and science behind a specific food item or farming theme. Lecker explores personal stories related to food and how our relationship with food shapes our lives. This podcast is recorded mostly in kitchens. 

Home cooking was launched during COVID-19 to help keep listeners company and assist them in choosing what to cook. It was named one of the best podcasts of 2020. 

Games and Gaming

Critical role gaming podcast
Critical Role

Gaming podcasts are fairly similar to film or TV podcasts. Catering to specific games and their fans and players, you can find shows about playing those games or ones that look more generally at the gaming industry and the latest news and releases. 

Example: 

Giant Bombcast is a good example of a conversation-style show that looks at all of the latest news in the video game world and the latest releases. 

Critical Role is a podcast aimed at lovers of tabletop role-playing games. Featuring voice actors who bring these stories to life. 

For die-hard Xbox gamers, Podcast Unlocked is everything you’ve been looking for. They bring you the latest news on your favorite X-box games every week. 

Wellness: Health, fitness, self-help & spirituality 

Jay Shetty On Purpose
On Purpose

All these podcasts fit broadly under the “wellness” umbrella. Health and fitness podcasts tend to explore the scientific side of nutrition, health, and fitness, help you get into gear with your exercise routine, or support you on your general fitness journey. Self-help and spirituality series are usually more about self-improvement, spiritual principles, and thought leadership about how to live one’s life. 

Example: Zoe: Science & Nutrition is a branded podcast hosted by the CEO of Zoe –  a company that offers its customers personalized nutrition plans. The podcast invites top scientists onto the show to explain the latest nutrition, health, and gut health research to its listeners. 

Mind Pump is a fitness and health podcast dedicated to delivering what it calls ‘truthful information’ to its listeners. The three hosts, Sal Di Stefano, Adam Schafer, and Justin Andrews, bring their combined 50 years of fitness experience to the table to offer thought leadership on everything fitness. 

Rich Roll is a health and wellness podcast that brings together themes of nutrition, art, entertainment, spirituality, and entrepreneurship. 

On Purpose with Jay Shetty brings Shetty’s own life experiences and wisdom to a wider listenership. It’s all about how to live life, unlocking one’s own potential, and improving your relationships. Jay Shetty also uses Riverside to record his content, and we have a whole video about what you can learn from him and his podcast. 

History 

The Rest is History podcast
The Rest is History

Anyone interested in history – whatever history that is – can find a podcast that suits them. You can find all kinds of weird and wonderful history podcasts ranging from global history, US history, food histories, feminist histories, and more. 

Examples: 

Made by Goalhanger, the UK’s biggest independent podcast company, The Rest is History brings together historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook to talk about all sorts of historical topics. 

As its name suggests, The Slow Burn offers a slow and comprehensive look into some of the most important periods, events, and eras of American history. Each season covers a different historical event or figure. 

Language learning 

Podcasts are a great resource for learning languages and practicing them. Whatever language you’re learning, there’ll be something out there for you. Some language learning podcasts focus on vocabulary acquisition, others help you practice context-specific conversation, while others help you improve your listening abilities. 

Example:

Duolingo, everyone’s favorite language learning app also has a podcast. Duolingo publishes four series: Spanish and French for English Speakers and English for Spanish and Portuguese speakers. 

The Coffee Break languages series is also a popular language-learning podcast. These are bite-sized podcasts that are available for learning nine different languages. 

News & Current Affairs 

The Daily news podcast
The Daily

For anyone seeking a deeper analysis of this week’s news or expert insights, podcasts are a great place to get caught up on what’s happening in the world. 

Example:

The Daily by the New York Times is a great example of a popular news and current affairs podcast. This podcast, powered by the New York Times journalism, publishes twenty-minute episodes daily. Episodes typically dive deeper into that week's topical issues, inviting experts and leading figures to discuss what's happening in more depth. 

Politics 

Pod Save the World politics podcast
Pod Save the World

If you’re on the hunt for engaging and insightful political discussions, interviews, and analysis, then you’re probably on the lookout for a good podcast. This podcast style can either feature the host(s) talking about an issue or interviewing an expert guest who can offer further insight. You can also find “debate” style podcasts which feature a panel of guests discussing a political issue. 

Example:

Pod Save the World is a weekly foreign policy podcast that aims to break down international news and foreign policy into easily digestible podcasts. Tommy Vietor hosts it alongside US deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes. 

Rest is Politics is for anyone who’s interested in British (and international) politics. It’s hosted by Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell. 

The NPR Politics Podcast offers insight into US politics from NPR’s political reporters. 

Pop Culture 

Pop Culture Happy hour podcast
Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop culture is a very broad genre in that these kinds of shows can be very general about all different areas of culture or hone in on a specific part. They can also take a variety of formats ranging from interviews, news, and current affairs to music, film, and more. 

Example: 

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour is the perfect example of this kind of podcast. Arts Journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris sit down with different podcast guests to offer their listeners all matter of recommendations and commentary about the latest movies, TV series, music, books, and more.  

Science 

Science Weekly podcast
Science Weekly

Science podcasts dive into nature, chemistry, biology, and more. You can find something for every kind of audience, from those of us who have no scientific background at all to people who are hungry for more technical details. 

Example:

The Nature Podcast is for listeners into the scientific space: analyzing key changes and developments in the field of research and across all areas of science. 

Science Weekly by the Guardian is all about the latest scientific and environmental news and updates.  

Sports

Football Weekly
Football Weekly

Sports podcasts are perfect for pundits, big fans, and players themselves. You’ll find a podcast about every kind of sport from every angle.  

Example:

Football Weekly is a UK-based podcast from the newspaper The Guardian that deep dives into each week’s soccer matches. 

The Last Wicket is hosted by two US-based cricket fans and their expert guests talking about cricket history, the latest matches and everything in between. 

Technology 

The Vergecast

Emerging technologies and AI are hot topics that have started to gain traction in the podcasting space too. You can find series that bring you the latest updates and developments in the space or that explore specific aspects of technology and its impacts on our world. 

Example:

The Vergecast calls itself ‘the only podcast you need to make sense of the week in tech news.’ Nilay Patel, David Pierce, and Alex Cranz host this weekly podcast that talks about everything tech and gadgets. 

True Crime 

My Favorite Murder true crime podcast
My Favorite Murder

True crime as a podcast genre took off with series like Serial and has never looked back. A mix of storytelling, investigative journalism, and engaging storytelling makes these some of the most compelling styles of podcasting out there. 

Example: 

Serial is the classic example of true crime podcasting. The whole season focuses on one unsolved murder and takes listeners through the case, the context, and the trial. My Favorite Murder is a comedy take on true crime. Hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, these podcasts uncover serial killers, cold cases, and survivor stories. 

How to choose a podcast genre: What to consider

Personal interests

If you’re starting a show from scratch, you should definitely prioritize your own personal interests. You want the recording and creation process to be a pleasure rather than a chore. Plus, being personally invested and interested in the topics that your podcast cover will probably mean new content ideas will come more naturally to you, and you’ll know what your target audience is looking for. 

Target audience 

If you have a specific type of demographic in mind, then you’ll want to pick a podcast genre that appeals most to that profile of person. 

Don’t limit yourself to one 

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into one specific category. You can definitely fit into multiple genres and reach all kinds of listeners regardless of your genre. 

FAQs on Podcast Genres

What are the top 5 genre categories of podcasts?

At the time of writing, here were the top 5 popular podcast genres according to Edison Research: 

  • Comedy
  • Society and culture
  • News
  • True Crime 
  • Sports 

What types of podcast genres are the most successful?

The most popular types of podcasts tend to fall under one of the genres that we just listed above. However, this does not mean you can’t be successful if your podcast falls outside one of these genres.

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