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My Podcast Playlist

by Jamila Rizvi

My Podcast Playlist is a new series where we ask guests of the Opera House for their top podcast picks – the ones that inspire and entertain them, and that they recommend incessantly to friends. First up in the series is Jamila Rizvi, the author, presenter and political commentator hosting a crucial conversation between Rosie Batty and Grace Tame at All About Women.

Where and when do you listen to podcasts? I podcast anywhere and everywhere, mostly to avoid being with my own thoughts. That sounds unhealthy. Usually while cleaning, cooking, shopping, walking, and driving.

What’s your favourite genre of podcast? I honestly don’t have a favourite genre. I listen to everything from leadership to true crime, politics to pop culture. I do tend to avoid anything about parenting though. ABC TV’s Bluey is the only guide I need.

1. The Daily

▷ Favourite episode: A Bit of Relief – The Long Distance Chorus

The Daily is such a cliché pick for favourite podcast but there is a reason everyone loves it – it’s so incredibly well done. This episode is a break from the darkness of the world’s news cycle and the sensible explanations. It’s heartwarming and full of light.

2. Tonts

▷ Favourite episode: Writing your own story with Benjamin Law

Claire Tonti, the host behind Tonts, is witty, warm, and wise. Most of all, I love her inquisitiveness. She isn’t like other hosts who make it all about them which is what makes her conversation with wish-he’d-turn-straight-for-me Benjamin Law so excellent – she lets him shine.

3. Sweet Bobby

▷ Favourite episode: Episode three, Confession

One of the best ‘true crime’ podcasts going around because it manages to surprise you at every turn. The story of a catfishing case involving the thoroughly likeable and relatable Kirat. My favourite episode is when the identity of the catfisher is revealed. I shouted, “Oh no!” aloud in the kitchen.

4. Private Affairs

▷ Favourite episode: Miss Communication

A big winner at last year’s Australian Podcast Awards, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of this podcast. I’m so grateful to Christine Mwaturura for making it. There are not enough quality narrative Australian podcasts and the fact this is a cross-cultural dating story seals the deal for me. Beautifully acted too.

5. Shameless

▷ Favourite episode: All of them!

I worked with the Shameless hosts, Michelle Andrews, and Zara McDonald briefly in 2015. They’re whip-smart, funny, and generous human beings and that shines through in their podcast. A delicious deep dive into celebrity culture and an important keep-me-up-to-date-on-the-fluffy-stuff weekly listen for me. It’s my podcasting attempt to stay relevant.

6. WILOSOPHY

▷ Favourite episode: Andy Lee

Wil Anderson does a great job of interviewing any day of the week but in this episode comedian Andy Lee calls Wil out on treating him and co-host Hamish Blake badly in the early days of their career. What follows is an awkward but generous conversation where two people unpack a decade long tension. It’s impossible to stop listening once you start.

7. 7AM

▷ Favourite episode: Short back and emotional asides

7AM is one of my go-to news podcasts (others include The Briefing and Full Story) and I am always happy when Rick Morton is the journalist guest. In this episode, he speaks about the return of hairdressers after a lockdown and the surprisingly intimate and personal role they play in our lives.

8. Emsolation

▷ Favourite episode: All of them.

Lockdowns were long and bleak for those of us living in Melbourne. Thankfully we had Em Rusciano and Michael Lucas for company. This podcast is hysterical, illogical, and bursting with the power of an unbreakable friendship. It was like a breath of fresh air in the middle of stifling, suffocating lockdowns last year.

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