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"What I Look For in a Podcast": Hrishikesh Hirway

Hrishikesh Hirway is the Creator and Host of Song Exploder, a podcast where musicians break down the creative process behind their songs, piece by piece. It has featured such distinguished guests as Fleetwood Mac, Iggy Pop, St. Vincent and Tame Impala, and is one of the top music podcasts in the world. 

Hrishi is a musician himself and has released four albums under the name The One AM Radio, and composed scores for film and television. He's is also the co-host and producer of the podcasts The West Wing Weekly and Home Cooking – and, he's a judge for this year's My RØDE Cast!

My RØDE Cast is our annual podcasting competition. Submit a 1-2 minute mini-episode for a chance to win a share of $150,000 in prizes. Find out more here and enter now – entries close Tuesday, June 16th. 

To get you on the right track, we asked Hrishi to tell us the four things that he looks for in a great podcast. Take note!

Unique Content

First and foremost, I want a podcast to present something new, interesting, and compelling. There are lots of podcasts out there; what makes this one special?

Good Audio

It's a lot easier to take in a great conversation or story if what you're listening to sounds great too. Having a nice microphone is important, but you also need to think about how you place the mic and the space where you're recording, because those aspects also play a huge role in how your audio sounds. Your podcast is like a party that you've invited the listeners to. You're the host and it's your responsibility to give them a pleasant space to hang out in while you're engaging them. Having good audio is like making sure the place is clean before anyone comes in.


Every podcast, regardless of genre, benefits from editing. At a basic level, cutting out long, awkward intros and transitions are ways of just being kind to your audience and respectful of their time. It's a real art, and an important one to master. In a bad podcast, you notice the moments that could have benefited from editing; in a great podcast, the editing goes unnoticed.


Again, this is an aspect that can be easy to overlook because if it's done well, you don't have to think about structure. But even shows that might seem unstructured, like an interview, when they feel really great, they've been guided by a storytelling arc. Think about your podcast's beginning, middle, and end. Figure out what those pieces are and how they fit together.

Entries to My RØDE Cast close 12 PM (AEST) Tuesday, June 16th, so get going! Find out more here.