The Joys of Judging

Insights from the 2023 Signal Awards and Australian Podcast Awards

Recently I had the thrill of being a judge for the Signal Awards and the Australian Podcast Awards.

And, let me tell you, this experience has been truly rewarding. Today, I’d like to reflect on what I’ve learned during this process, particularly on what it takes to make an exceptional podcast.

First and foremost, I want to express my thanks to the organisers of both awards for entrusting me with this role. It’s been a privilege to be part of these events that celebrate the creativity and dedication of podcasters.

Now, let’s delve into the core of the matter: what makes a great podcast? 

What makes a great podcast?

This question has been at the forefront of my mind throughout the judging process, and I’m eager to share some valuable insights.


Podcasting is all about forming a personal connection with your audience. Outstanding podcasts are authentic and allow the hosts’ true personalities to shine through, fostering a genuine connection with the listeners.


Great podcasts are captivating stories told skillfully, keeping the audience engaged with a strong narrative, compelling characters, and well-paced episodes.


The best podcasts I listened to during this process were really niched. Not just in the topic, but the view and focus on the topic. This helped them stand out from the crowd. For example, if your podcast is about business, your niche could be a specific type of business, an aspect of running a business or perhaps taking a humorous approach to the topic.

Audio Quality

High-quality audio is absolutely non-negotiable. Invest in quality equipment and sound editing to ensure your podcast sounds professional and clear. When listening to 60+ podcasts for each award judging, any pods that had poor audio quality really stood out (and not in a good way).


Regularity is key. Great podcasts stick to a consistent release schedule, so listeners know when to expect new episodes. This not only builds anticipation but also helps grow your audience. The pods that I saw with the best results posted weekly or more, and had been so consistently for quite some time – now that’s commitment!

Adaptability and Evolution

The podcasting landscape is ever-evolving. The best podcasts are those that are willing to adapt, experiment, and grow as the medium evolves. Some of the pods acknowledged that they had changed angle or topic as time went on. Others had created sub-series of their podcasts dedicated to covering a topical theme.

My time as a judge for these podcast awards has been a wonderful learning experience, it made me appreciate the talent that is out there and gave me a long list of new shows that I want to subscribe to!

Overall, I’m more optimistic than ever about the potential and growth of this dynamic medium.

To all creators and podcasting enthusiasts, remember that podcasting is an art form with limitless potential. Keep pushing boundaries, stay true to your unique voice, and continue to create podcasts that deeply resonate with your audience. 

The Signal Awards and the Australian Podcast Awards have demonstrated the incredible talent within the podcasting community, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Happy podcasting!

Xo Abi

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