Last night, the third annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards brought together the most influential names in podcasting to honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2020, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry. The virtual awards event was recorded from multiple locations and exclusively video streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages and broadcasted across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App.
The virtual event kicked off with a hilarious opening from renowned actor, comedian and producer, Will Ferrell. The comedian, who is behind iHeartRadio’s “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” broke the ice in true Ron Burgundy form, making up his own stats on both the awards show and podcasts. The upbeat tone of the virtual event continued throughout the night with comedic skits from the ladies of Obama’s Other Daughters, made up of Maame-Yaa Aforo, Ashley Holston, Shakira Ja’nai Paye and Yazmin Monet Watkins, hosts of “You Down?” as well as Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers, hosts of “Las Culturistas.”
The eventful night also featured appearances by award nominees, an array of celebrity presenters and other special guests including Aaron Mahnke, Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Baratunde Thurston, Blake Anderson, Charlamagne Tha God, Dan Patrick, Gwen Stefani, Hillary Clinton, Holly Frey, Jill Scott, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, Kyle Newacheck, Laverne Cox, Nikki Glaser, Questlove, Roy Wood Jr., Tenderfoot TV (Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey) and more.
The 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards event highlights include:
- “Office Ladies” scored the big win of the night with Podcast of the Year, a socially voted category.
- Gwen Stefani presented the first Seneca Women Podcast Award in partnership with P&G to spoken word poet Amena Brown of “HER with Amena Brown.” This award honors women who use their voices to amplify those of other women.
- Hosts of “Las Culturistas” kickstarted the show reflecting on the year 2020 and podcasting, hilariously sharing that the best part about podcasting now is that you can do it naked and from home.
- Obama’s Other Daughters reminisced throughout the show on the top viral moments in awards show history and even attempted to do a virtual four-way kiss, inspired by Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera’s three-way kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards.
- Hilary Clinton warm-heartedly presented the Icon Audible Pioneer Award to Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder and Neil Drumming from Serial Productions.
- The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards honored Baratunde Thurston with the Icon Social Impact Award (presented by Questlove) and QCODE with the Icon Innovator Award (presented by Tenderfoot TV co-founders Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey).
- Conan O’Brien accepted the award for Best Overall Host – Male. He playfully told viewers that what separates his podcast from others is his “lack of professionalism.” He even shared his advice for those interested in hosting a podcast and more.
- Laverne Cox presented the Best Overall Host – Female award to Nicole Byer, host of “Why Won’t You Date Me.” While presenting the award, Cox inspired viewers, telling the virtual audience that everyone should have the opportunity to define who they are on their own terms. She also spoke about her first podcast launching in February 2021.
- Dan Patrick presented the winner of The Next Great Podcast award, a months-long competition from iHeartRadio in partnership with content creation platform Tongal. Siena Jeakle and Lianna Holston won the competition with “Frankly, My Dear,” a new podcast tackling movie reviews from two friends who don’t really like movies.
Full list of category winners below:
Icon Award – Innovator Award: QCODE
Icon Award – Audible Audio Pioneer Award: Serial Productions (Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder and Neil Drumming)
Icon Award – Social Impact Award: Baratunde Thurston
Podcast of the Year: Office Ladies (Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey) Omny Studio
Best Crime Podcast: Crime Junkie (AudioChuck) Megaphone
Best Pop Culture Podcast: Pop Culture Happy Hour (NPR)
Best Music Podcast: Dolly Parton’s America (WNYC & OSM Audio)
Best News Podcast: Pod Save America (Crooked) Megaphone
Best Sports Podcast: All The Smoke (The Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio) Megaphone
Best Comedy Podcast: The Read (Loud Speakers Network) SoundCloud
NPR Politics Best Political Podcast: (NPR)
Best Branded Podcast: Humans Growing Stuff (ScottsMiracle-Gro) iHeartRadio/Megaphone
Best Kids & Family Podcast: Wow In The World (NPR)
Best Food Podcast: Home Cooking (Samin Nosrat / Hrishikesh Hirway) PRX
Best Fiction Podcast: Blood Ties (Wondery) ART19
Best Beauty & Fashion Podcast: Articles of Interest (Avery Trufelman / 99% Invisible) PRX
Best Overall Host – Female: Nicole Byer (Why Won’t You Date Me?) (TeamCoco / Omny Studio)
Best Overall Host – Male: Conan O’Brien (Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend) (TeamCoco/Earwolf/Omny Studio)
Best Business & Finance Podcast: Pivot (NY Mag) Megaphone
Best Green Podcast: How To Save A Planet (Gimlet) Megaphone
Best Travel Podcast: Travel with Rick Steves (Rick Steves)
Best Spirituality & Religion Podcast: Elevation with Steven Furtick (Independent)
Best Advice / Inspirational Podcast: Unlocking Us with Brene Brown (Parcast) Megaphone
Best TV & Film Podcast: You Must Remember This? (Karina Longworth) Megaphone
Best Spanish -Language Podcast: Leyendas Legendarias (Sonoro / All Things Comedy) Omny Studio
Best Ad Read Podcast: Office Ladies (Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey) Omny Studio
Best Science Podcast: Radiolab (WNYC Studios)
Best Technology Podcast: Rabbit Hole (The New York Times) Simplecast
Best Wellness & Fitness Podcast: Therapy For Black Girls (Joy Harden Bradford / iHeartRadio) Megaphone
Best History Podcast: Revisionist History (Pushkin Industries / iHeartRadio) Megaphone