Business Profiles

Greg Rust – Rusty’s Garage & Watts Under The Bonnet

Greg Rust is an well respected Australian motor racing broadcaster and commentator living in Havelock North who has his own podcast Rusty’s Garage, along with a branded pod for (one of the biggest auto sites in Oz and a blue chip company) called ‘Watts Under The Bonnet’.

What’s your podcast name?
I actually work on two.  My main one is called Rusty’s Garage which I’m very passionate about.  The other is a branded pod for (one of the biggest auto sites in Oz and a blue chip company).  That podcast is called Watts Under The Bonnet and dedicated to electric cars.

What is its theme?
Rusty’s Garage, launched in early 2018, is conversations around automotive and racing with drivers, riders, engineers, administrators, broadcasters and more.  Lots of great Kiwis are in there including fellow local Greg Murphy (who’s been on twice), Paul Radisich, Scott McLaughlin & recently Hayden Paddon, just to name a few. With Watts Under The Bonnet we talk
all aspects of electric cars. While I host this I am on something of a journey of discovery.  I’ve learned heaps! My co-host is Aussie car journo Nadine Armstrong from CarSales.

How often do you upload a podcast?

With Rusty’s Garage it’s every week.  Some are newsy ‘shortcast’ chats that run around 20 mins.  Our Feature Episodes are released every fortnight and usually go for about an hour (split into two parts) Watts Under The Bonnet is a punchier format and is out fortnightly.

What platforms are you on?
They are available on all the major platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  The library or podcast house they originate from is called LiSTNR – part of the big radio network called Southern Cross Austereo.

How do you promote it?

All sorts of ways but the tech now that has come out of Covid enables you to record remotely (even though I prefer face-to-face where I can).  The program we use is like Zoom on steroids and it captures both video and audio so the video component can be used for socials clips we make.  I share it on all my platforms – FaceBook and Instagram especially but also Threads, X and sometimes LinkedIn if I think it works for that audience.

How many followers?
Rusty’s Garage has quite a loyal following – we are now well over 5 million downloads.

Why do you podcast?
I wanted to prove that someone in their late 40’s now early 50’s could play in this space and offer something that perfectly complimented the other broadcasting I do.  I love it!  It has become my favourite medium. Do you earn revenue and/or drive new business for your business?The pods are commercialised so it’s about giving quality ad space to the partners and because we know everything data wise you can really tailor a package that hits a target market for them.

Why did you start a podcast? 
A colleague had started an ‘all sport’ interview podcast and his introduction (to a degree) got me thinking.  Some aspects of what I do with this have taken me full circle.  I started in radio and it’s got a bit of a radio vibe about it. What is easy to set up and what technology/software do you use?There was a little bit of work ensuring I had equipment I could take on the road with me for face to face interviews. I have a Zoom H5 recorder, Rode mics and associated cabling in my kit.  I’ve also worked hard to make a small home studio that provides the right acoustics.  Pretty amazing to think I have been able to speak to world champions from the comfort of Hawke’s Bay!

Who has been you’re the most interesting guest? 
I spoke to Casey Stoner on a trip to the Gold Coast.  He’s a multiple world champion in MotoGP who I have known through working on the TV coverage over the years.  Unbeknown to me he had been suffering with chronic fatigue and he really opened up on that battle.  I was honoured that he trusted me to talk about it and the yarn was picked up by motorcycle websites all round the world.  I’m a huge believer that everyone has a story.  Aussie actor Eric Bana from Troy, the Hulk and the Castle has also been on along with fellow comedian Shane Jacobson.  In both eps there were lots of laughs.

Who would be your ultimate interview talent?
I once interviewed Will Ferrell and John C Reilly for the movie release of Talladega Nights.  They couldn’t have been nicer and I was so sore from laughing at the end of it.  I’d love to do that again.

Any tips for other budding podcasters?
It’s different to other mediums.  Don’t just cut ’n paste a TV, print or drama approach. You have to find a way to really connect with the audience through the subject matter or the guest and hopefully unearth something that makes it stand apart in the sea of podcasts out there.

What does success as a podcaster look like to you?
You don’t do it for the listener numbers or awards but I am very proud that Rusty’s Garage has picked up a few industry gongs along the way.  Late last year it won the Best Radio Show/Podcast (one of the most competitive categories) at the Supercars Media Awards for a 3rd time. In 2023 I was also recognised by Motorsport New Zealand as Feature Journalist of the Year for the work we’ve done on the pod. The main thing for me is actually preserving some great yarns!

What podcasts do you regularly listen to?

Joe Rogan on occasion.  I’m addicted to Smartless with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. Those guys are awesome!  I also love F1 – Beyond the Grid hosted by a colleague and friend Tom Clarkson.