Wikipedia defines a podcast as “An episodic series of spoken word digital Audio files”
If you are a Podcaster, Audio is primarily the form in which your content is delivered to your listeners. A lot of great content creators underestimate the impact of audio however, They focus solely on the content of their episodes ignoring how that content will be conveyed. Regardless of how good an episode is, it will always be received by the listener as audio before it's understood on a mental level.
A podcast by its very nature is a long-form of entertainment. Your listeners know this, so they will not give up the better part of an hour to something that sounds sub-par or is just hard to listen to because of minor audio annoyances. Couple that with the amount of amazing competition that is out there now, you have to make sure that as soon as your podcast starts rolling there’s absolutely nothing that distracts or off-puts your listener before the actual content can hook them and keep them listening.
When you listen to your own audio you're less likely to hear any defects or be distracted by them, This is because the quality of your content and your delivery is likely what you are worried about. But before they learn anything about you or your podcast, the first thing your listener hears is your audio and a first impression is instantly made. They don’t know how good it's gonna be, the first thing they judge you on is the quality of your audio, and for most people, it's those first seconds that decide whether they are gonna give the whole podcast a chance or not, this is especially true for first-time listeners. Your podcast may be pure gold but if it's hidden behind a wall of bad audio most listeners will never know because they will likely not give it a chance.
This is why you have to make sure that nothing at all can take your listener's attention away before you hook them with the actual content, I have listened to some amazing podcasts that are very badly produced and wondered to myself, “how many more people would be benefiting from this content if it was better edited and hence more palatable”. It's an ambitious goal, but as much as possible you have to make sure that the production of your podcast is flawless so that the listener is left with only the subject of an episode to pay attention to, no other distractions.
But past just making sure you have clean, broadcast standard audio. The way your podcast is edited can also enhance the impact of the content you are creating. Podcast production is not just about removing unpleasant sounds or enhancing audio quality, It is also about understanding the tone of an episode and being creative enough with your editing to enhance the effect of the subject on the listener.