New York, NY – April 27, 2020: CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network, partnered with Magellan AI, the definitive source of podcast advertising analytics, to analyze data on podcast advertising occurrences in the top 400 podcasts in the United States. Data was collected from Q4 2018 to Q4 2019.

On the goal of the analysis, Magellan AI Co-Founder Cameron Hendrix said, “While podcast listenership data is in high supply, there is a real need for a deep and authoritative analysis of podcast advertising trends. The results of this year-over-year analysis will provide brands and agencies with a better understanding of the ad environment they are helping to shape. With the number of podcast ads up +25% and more episodes being produced now compared to last year, it is clear that advertiser and listener interest in this medium isn’t going away any time soon. And while not reflected in this report, we’ve seen much of this growth continue even amidst the pandemic.”

“Westwood One is committed to sharing what we learn about all aspects of the podcast industry – the audience profile, listener habits, and with this insightful analysis, the advertising itself.” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP Marketing, CUMULUS MEDIA and President, Westwood One. “During this pandemic, podcasting is one of the few media platforms to retain strong and vital audiences and advertising revenue. This research will help DTC and brand advertisers learn podcast advertising best practices and generate results from this powerful, personal, and high-performing medium.”

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • Podcast ads are up +25% powered by episode growth: The vast majority of podcast ad occurrence growth is due to a +22% increase in the number of episodes. Of America’s top 400 podcasts, the average number of episodes grew from 2.3 in Q4 2019 to 2.8 in Q4 2019.
  • Podcast over-commercialization is not occurring. Ads per podcast were up a modest +3% from Q4 2018: In Q4 2018, there were 3.1 ads per podcast. The number grew to 3.2 ads per podcast in Q4 2019, still far fewer messages than the 36 ads per hour on U.S. television as reported by Media Dynamics.
  • Many top podcast advertisers also advertise heavily in AM/FM radio to add reach: There was a time when podcast advertisers, mostly direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, rarely used AM/FM radio or TV. Given significant paid social inflation, brands are turning to AM/FM radio to both drive sales and build brands.
  • Brand ads comprise 32% of ad occurrences, up from 24% in the prior year: The share of brand advertisers has grown from 24% in Q4 2018 to 32% in 2019, a +33% increase.
  • Magellan AI’s Brand Power Ratio reveals music, business, TV and film, arts, and sports genres have the greatest relationship between share of brand ad occurrences and share of total ad occurrences: Sports podcasts represent 22% of all brand ad detections compared to 16% of all podcast ad occurrences. This relationship generates a 1.39 Brand Power Ratio for sports podcasts. Comedy podcasts have one of the lowest Brand Power Ratio at 0.59; 11% of all brand podcast ads run in comedy compared to 18% of all podcast ads.

Other key findings include the rise of mid-roll podcast ads at the expense of pre-roll ads and podcast ad detections by podcast content genre.

About Magellan AI
Magellan AI is the definitive source of podcast advertising analytics. Magellan AI captures all ads, whether host-read or pre-recorded, baked-in or dynamically inserted, and classify ads by podcast content, position, and strategy (brand awareness versus direct response). Using machine learning to process hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes, Magellan AI has created the world’s largest database of podcast advertising data – covering activity by more than 18,750 brands across over 21,000 shows. Industry leaders rely on Magellan AI for podcast media planning, verification and measurement. For more information, please visit

About Westwood One
Westwood One, the national-facing arm of CUMULUS MEDIA, offers iconic, nationally syndicated sports, news and entertainment content to over 250 million monthly listeners across an audio network of 8,000 affiliated broadcast radio stations and media partners. Westwood One is the largest audio network in America, home to premium content that defines the culture, including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, the Olympics, Westwood One Backstage, and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The rapidly growing Westwood One Podcast Network delivers popular network and industry personalities and programs. Westwood One connects listeners with their passions through programs and platforms that have everyone listening. For more information please visit

Karen Glover | Westwood One | | (212) 299-3108