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NY1's Errol Louis debuts 'You Decide' podcast

"It’s a pretty wide net that I’m going to be casting."

"You Decide with Errol Louis," a podcast hosted

"You Decide with Errol Louis," a podcast hosted by the Spectrum News NY1 journalist debuts Wednesday. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Concordia Summi/Riccardo Savi

Veteran journalist Errol Louis is known for his keen interview skills and ability to navigate the often choppy waters of local and national politics as an on-air commentator and anchor of Spectrum News NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

But Louis discovered there were also plenty of interesting conversations taking place after the cameras stopped rolling. That was part of the inspiration for his new weekly podcast “You Decide with Errol Louis,” which kicks off Wednesday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, PocketCasts and Google Play.

Louis, who lives in Brooklyn, spoke with amNewYork about what he has in store for his new venture and how he hopes everyone will join in the conversation.

Why did you decide to start a podcast? How will this differ from the interviews you conduct on NY1?

It’s going to be unusual discussions with some of the usual characters and then some new characters that people maybe haven’t come across who are all involved in the world of politics, policy, arts, culture. … It’s a pretty wide net that I’m going to be casting.

How will these discussions be unusual?

The first conversation is going to be with Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and we are going to talk about a lot of different things, like the fact she lived with her father in Tokyo when he was the Tokyo Bureau Chief for the Times, the way she used to be a City Hall reporter and got assigned to a candidate that she was mad about because no one thought he was going to win, a guy named Mike Bloomberg. Frankly, the same thing happened with Donald Trump. Most of the news organizations thought he wasn’t a serious candidate, but you needed to cover him a little bit so they just grabbed some people who happened to be based in New York and she was one of them and now she’s the White House correspondent.

Who else do you have lined up?

Patrick Gaspard, who was the White House political director for [President Barack] Obama, the former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, is somebody I met when we were both painfully low level staffers to [former Mayor] David Dinkins back in 1989. We kind of pick of the thread there and talk about the path from there to here. He’s got a really interesting story apart from what people normally see in the headlines.

Will the podcast format give you more freedom for discussions beyond the news of the day?

There’s such an interesting back story to a lot of the conversations, substantially and even politically. There’s a lineage to both the people and the ideas and the policies that we are talking about. … What I’m trying to do is create a space where we can actually explore some of that stuff. What will typically happen is, depending on the guest, at times I’ll have a perfectly good, very interesting timely, newsworthy 12- or 15-minute conversation on the air and then we’ll go sit for half an hour and talk about some really interesting stuff that happened, that didn’t fit the needs of that particular broadcast. Rather than kind of leave all of that out there, I wanted to be able to capture some of it, put it together and show it to the audience.

You've said you want listeners to become part of the conversation. How can they do that?

People can call and leave observations, questions, their own commentary on a 24-hour line 212-379-3440. ... While it’s coming from Spectrum News NY1, it’s not limited to subscribers. Anybody can hear it, anybody can forward it, anybody can tweet about it and we want people to do that.

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