Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy has said his new podcast offers a “different approach” to the “punchy” interviews he is known for.
Ways to Change the World sees Guru-Murthy undertake hour-long conversations with guests with room to explore the “big ideas influencing how we think, act and live”, he told Press Gazette.
The first two episodes, featuring former supermodel Lily Cole and Israeli ambassador to the UK Mark Regev, were released last week, with Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and author Reni Eddo-Lodge set to appear.
Guru-Murthy said he wanted the podcast to be “deliberately broad” in its approach, adding: “We don’t just want to go for the usual suspects of people that pop up on these sorts of podcasts.
“We’re trying to go a bit broader. There will be artists, musicians, politicians, writers, actors and whoever we think has got something to say.”
Guru-Murthy joined Channel 4 News in 1998 and is the second longest-serving presenter on the programme after Jon Snow.
Hosting a podcast was something Guru-Murthy said was one of many projects he wanted to do as a way of getting away from the type of interviews he is usually associated with on air.
“At the moment, so many people that are used to the short-form interview and your audience are so much more used to consuming it,” he said. “You can often predict where an interview is going now before it’s even started.”
He said interviews on the news are usually “interrogating somebody and trying to do a punchy interview that gets to the facts or holds somebody to account: asking them a specific set of things that you’re after for a few minutes”.
Podcasts, on the other hand, are like “popping out for an hour and dropping out of the pace of normal news and radio”.
“When you don’t have that pace and aggression that you get in the normal news programme, it’s kind of immersive,” said Guru-Murthy.
He said he sees the podcast as a way of “getting to grips with a subject”, adding: “When you get to the end of it you feel like you’ve learned something.”
There are estimated to be more than 500,000 podcasts worldwide, according to Variety. In 2017 Ofcom claimed that some 24 per cent of the British public said they had listened to a podcast episode.
So where does Guru-Murthy see Ways to Change the World’s place in this landscape?
“I think there’s clearly a market out there,” he said. “People are keen with the recognition factor of Channel 4 News, me and the people we have on the programme.
“We are deliberately telling them this is a bit different, this is not the same Channel 4 interview you’ve seen a million times before.
“There’s a lot of demand for it and people on social media are certainly saying this sounds interesting with the kinds of people we might want to interview.
“Viewers are also seeing it as an opportunity as a slightly different kind of offer as well.”
Guru-Murthy said the plan for the podcast is to “see how it goes then work it out”. It is recorded in the Channel 4 News office and, for Guru-Murthy, presents an opportunity to put out content in a way that would in times past have been much more difficult.
“In the old days, if you were someone like me who wanted to do an interview program, you’d have to wait for a commissioning editor to say: ‘Go off and do an interview show,’” he said.
“The stakes were much higher. There would be conversations about it about what kind of show it was, where it fit in and why you should be chosen to do it. Now you can just do it, that’s really the beauty of this.
“There have been lots of times you’ll have a chat either before or after the interview and you’ll talk about a lot of things that are off the agenda, but is really interesting.
“You just think why can’t you have a place for that? And now you can. You can just push it out there and say ‘let’s do it’“.