Greg James says interviewers are more ‘open-minded' than they used to be

Interviewers are less judgmental than in the past and ‘give people a chance to tell their side of the story', he said.

Radio presenter Greg James has said that interviewers have evolved to become more “open-minded” than they used to be.

The Radio 1 Breakfast host told the PA news agency that looking back through BBC archives for his new programme Rewinder, which explores old broadcast material, made him realise how quickly programmes begin to sound dated.

James said that “people listen more” in interviews today and are less judgmental about the people they are speaking to.

Radio 1’s Big Weekend launch – London
(Matt Crossick/PA)

He added: “We did a whole feature on punk music and the punk era in the last series and there was an incredible snideness from the journalists in the way they dealt with it and that made it sound not only old-fashioned but also slightly unkind, actually.

“I think a really great way that modern-day interviews have evolved is you give people a chance to tell their side of the story.”

He added that in the old interviews he listened to “people look down their nose at stuff”.

“In the interview with the punks the broadcaster’s attitude was, ‘Well you’re just a dirty, disgusting punk aren’t you, you’re just rowdy and cause mayhem and mischief’, and there was a real lack of understanding.”

He added: “I think people are much more open to being more open-minded now, for sure.”

BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards 2019 – London
(Scott Garfitt/PA)

The way women were interviewed in the past “was very different”, he said, adding: “It was very much like, ‘The woman stays at home and cooks dinner for the family. The father goes out to look for work’.”

Broadcasting is in a “much better position” now, although “obviously we need to do more work on this”, James said.

He said that working on the programme made him realise that “in 20 years time” someone will look back at his programmes and think, ‘Oh, doesn’t he sound old?’.”

Rewinder sees James go through the BBC archives and the new series, which was recorded during the lockdown, sees him explore old broadcasts on topics including pet training and a man in Belfast who kept big cats in his garage.

The programme will be broadcast at 10.30am on Radio 4 and will also be available on BBC Sounds.

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