Fresh Air

Weekdays at noon and midnight

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

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Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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My coffee maker is texting me again. It's scheduled to make coffee tomorrow, the message says, but I need to refill its water tank. Welcome to the future.

The Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew Coffeemaker with WeMo — yes, that is its official name — is just one of many household appliances being remade to connect to the Internet and take care of themselves. There are thermostats, smoke alarms, washing machines and even $1,000 Bluetooth-connected toilets.

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The satisfying thing about TV crime shows is that they offer a sense of closure. The unsatisfying thing is how much of life they must leave out to do it. Like, history. Whether you're talking CSI or Sherlock, crime shows tend to take place in a weirdly hermetic universe where the characters may change — like in True Detective — yet the historical moment in which they live remains largely irrelevant background.

When writer Philip Connors was in his 20s, he received a call from his mother that later haunted him: "You know, I spoke to your brother and he's been having trouble with his girlfriend — he sounded really down ... you should really call him."

"And when I hung up the phone, I thought to myself: 'Yeah, yeah, kid brother and his silly troubles with women, I'll get around to calling him. I'll call him in a few days, or maybe next week,' " Connors tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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A climb "to the top of a greasy pole" are the immortal words coined by 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to describe his rise to political power. Disraeli was two-time prime minister under Queen Victoria, as well as a novelist and famous wit whose way with a catchy phrase was rivaled in the 19th century only by his younger admirer, Oscar Wilde. But when he entered politics in the 1830s, Disraeli was burdened by debt and, even more seriously, by his Jewish parentage.

David Treuer's latest novel Prudence follows a young man who returns home to visit his family on an Ojibwe reservation before he joins the war as a bombardier. It's the 1940s and a prison camp for Germans captured during World War II has been set up across the river.

Treuer bases the camp on a real-life one that existed near the village of Bena, Minn., on the Leech Lake Reservation where he grew up. The camp was on the shores of Lake Winnibigoshish — the German prisoners used to cut down trees to make roads.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNSHINE, LOLLIPOPS AND RAINBOWS")

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Larry Wilmore has been consumed with making his new late-night show prime viewing. And he wants to make one thing clear: He has "no desire" to host The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves later this year.

"I'm doing my show right now," Wilmore tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm very happy doing it."

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When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."

Richard Price used a pseudonym for his new novel, The Whites, but in retrospect, he wishes he hadn't. "It was going to be different from my other books and I wanted to signal that," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But by the time he realized it was just "another damn book by me" it was too late to withdraw the pen name.

Price is the author of Clockers, the novel about police detectives and drug dealers that Price and Spike Lee adapted into a film. He also wrote for the HBO series The Wire, which was about police detectives and drug dealers.

The act, which turned 50 last year, ended the era of legal segregation in public accommodations, like restaurants and hotels. Author Todd Purdum talks about the battles that surrounded it.

Originally broadcast Jan. 20, 2014.

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Paramount Records, founded in 1917 by a furniture company in Wisconsin, found itself in a curious position by the mid-1920s: it was the leading blues label in America, and selling lots of records. J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, the first black record executive in America, had used his street smarts to attract a number of artists, and his best-seller was Blind Lemon Jefferson. Then, suddenly, Williams quit in 1927. But Paramount's greatest moments were yet to come.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do': Lynsey Addario was taken captive in 2011 while covering Libya's civil war. With a gun to her head, she says she was thinking, "Will I ever get my cameras back?"

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Among the best loved recordings from the 1950s were 15 LPs of Haydn string quartets played by the Schneider Quartet. They originally appeared on the Haydn Society label, but were never reissued on CD until now. Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz has a review.

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In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

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David Axelrod recalls the first time he met Barack Obama in 1992 when they had lunch: "I was really impressed by him," he says.

The veteran political consultant was struck that Obama, who had been the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and was highly sought after by big law firms, instead decided to put together a voter registration drive and practice civil rights law at a little firm in Chicago.

"Does this obituary make me look fat?"

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