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.

Visit the Fresh Air website for more information.

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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3:16pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Author Interviews

'Crushing Eastern Europe' Behind The 'Iron Curtain'

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:47 pm

Courtesy of Doubleday

If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.

"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."

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12:34pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Music Reviews

Samuel Yirga Ushers In A Golden Age Of Ethiopian Music

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:09 pm

Samuel Yirga plays Ethiopian standards with a voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
Courtesy of the artist

Ethiopia enjoys a rich tradition of enticing music, filled with asymmetric rhythms set to a haunting, five-note scale and sly double-entendre lyrics in the Amharic language. It's a shame that, for Western listeners, a full, clear picture of Ethiopian music has been elusive.

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3:04pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Author Interviews

Ornstein: Could A Second Term Mean More Gridlock?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:00 pm

Basic Books

President Obama has been re-elected. Democrats and Republicans have maintained their respective majorities in the Senate and in the House. So does this mean there will be more partisan gridlock?

Norm Ornstein, a writer for Roll Call and a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that it's a mixed message.

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2:38pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Music News

Always A Rose: Elliott Carter Remembered

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 6:02 pm

Elliott Carter at Tanglewood in 2008 on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is sitting right behind Carter.
Michael J. Lutch

1:25pm

Tue November 6, 2012
Author Interviews

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:58 pm

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker.
Elena Seibert Knopf

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.

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3:11pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Author Interviews

An 'Oddly Normal' Outcome For A Singular Child

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:59 pm

Courtesy of Gotham

John Schwartz and Jeanne Mixon first suspected that their son, Joe, was gay when he was 3 years old — and they wanted to be as supportive and helpful as they could.

"As parents you love kids," Schwartz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "As parents, you want your kid to be happy."

Schwartz and Mixon drew on the experiences they had raising their other two children and by asking their gay friends about the best way to talk to Joe about his sexuality.

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3:11pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Book Reviews

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

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1:34pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Music Reviews

Taylor Swift Leaps Into Pop With 'Red'

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:44 pm

Taylor Swift's Red challenges her diehard fans while inviting naysayers to give her music another try.
Courtesy of the artist

9:03am

Sat November 3, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Katey Sagal, Sherry Turkle

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 11:44 am

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

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:

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons Of Anarchy': The actress plays Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series. She's best-known for playing the acerbic Peg Bundy on the long-running show Married With Children.

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12:50pm

Fri November 2, 2012
Animals

Animal Stage Trainer Makes Stars Out Of Pound Pups

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:09 pm

Bill Berloni was responsible for making sure that chihuahua Bruiser could both bend and snap in the Broadway production of Legally Blonde.
Paul Kolnik

This interview was originally broadcast on Fresh Air on July 18, 2008.

A new revival of the hit musical Annie is now in previews on Broadway, scheduled to open Thursday. In the new production, the canine co-star Sandy is played by "Sunny," who has an understudy named "Casey." Bill Berloni trained them both — and, like the original Sandy in the original Broadway show, those dogs, too, were rescue dogs, found in animal shelters.

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12:50pm

Fri November 2, 2012
Author Interviews

Rin Tin Tin: A Silent Film Star On Four Legs

Susan Orlean is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has contributed articles to Vogue, Rolling Stone and Esquire. She is the author of several books, including The Orchid Thief.
Gasper Tringale

This interview originally aired on Fresh Air on Jan. 9, 2012. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend is now out in paperback.

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2:26pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Author Interviews

Ricks: Firing 'The Generals' To Fight Better Wars?

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:17 pm

Penguin Group USA

When Thomas Ricks first learned that Terry Allen, the successful general in charge of the 1st Infantry Division during World War II's Sicily campaign, had been fired, he says, his jaw dropped.

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1:30pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Opinion

Even Americans Find Some Britishisms 'Spot On'

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 3:26 pm

Geoff Nunberg says that, like a lot of the Britishisms peppering American speech these days, "spot on" falls somewhere in the blurry region between affectation and flash.
Zdenek Ryzner iStockphoto.com

Mitt Romney was on CNN not long ago defending the claims in his campaign ads — "We've been absolutely spot on," he said. Politics aside, the expression had me doing an audible roll of my eyes. I've always associated "spot on" with the type of Englishman who's played by Terry-Thomas or John Cleese, someone who pronounces "yes" and "ears" in the same way — "eeahzz." It shows up when people do send-ups of plummy British speech. "I say — spot on, old chap!"

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3:59pm

Wed October 31, 2012
Environment

Sandy Raises Questions About Climate And The Future

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 5:12 pm

Taxis sit in a flooded lot in Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic Seaboard.
Michael Bocchieri Getty Images

If you ask climate scientist Radley Horton, it's difficult to say that Hurricane Sandy was directly caused by climate change, but he sees strong connections between the two. Horton is a research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He says that in New York City, the sea level has gone up about a foot over the past century and that researchers expect that rise to continue and even accelerate.

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12:36pm

Wed October 31, 2012
Television

Katey Sagal, Holding Court on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:59 pm

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It's all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

"She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do."

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4:35pm

Tue October 30, 2012
Music

After 26 Years, The Sam Rivers Trio Resurfaces

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:00 am

Sam Rivers' trio with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul (not pictured) recently released its 2007 reunion show on CD.
Ken Weiss Courtesy of the artist

This review was originally broadcast on Sept. 26, 2012.

Jazz multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, who died at 88 in December 2011, recorded with many trios in the 1970s. But his most celebrated trio was barely recorded at all. In 2007, it played a reunion concert — its first in 26 years.

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10:59am

Tue October 30, 2012
Author Interviews

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 4:35 pm

Hyperion

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 26, 2012.

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

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12:36pm

Mon October 29, 2012
Music

The Fresh Air Interview: Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 24, 2010.

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9:03am

Sat October 27, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Dexter Filkins, Joe Turner, Tom Wolfe

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 12:04 pm

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others. His latest novel is Back to Blood.
Jim Cooper AP

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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3:04pm

Fri October 26, 2012
Music Interviews

John Cage At 100: Remembering A Revolutionary Composer

Composer John Cage was born in 1912 and died in 1992. He's show above in May 1972.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This fall, arts organizations around the world are celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of composer John Cage, who was born on September 5th, 1912.

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2:43pm

Fri October 26, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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1:59pm

Fri October 26, 2012
Music Reviews

George Cables: A Heartfelt Tribute To His 'Muse'

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:43 pm

Saxophonist Art Pepper called George Cables his favorite pianist.
Courtesy of the artist

In the 1970s and '80s, George Cables was the pianist of choice for saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper; Pepper called him his favorite pianist.

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1:22pm

Fri October 26, 2012
Music Interviews

'Moogfest' Celebrates The Synthesis Of New Sounds

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:53 pm

Bob Moog, namesake of the annual Moogfest music festival in Asheville, N.C.
Courtesy of the Bob Moog Foundation

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 28, 2000.

Follow NPR's All Songs Considered (@allsongs) this weekend for reports and photos from the 2012 Moogfest. Check NPR Music next week for concert recordings from the festival and explore our 2011 archive here.

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5:03pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Author Interviews

A Journalist Chronicles Lives After Guantanamo Bay

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:45 pm

Journalist Michelle Shephard has been covering stories from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the Toronto Star.
Michelle Shephard AP

The presidential candidates may not be talking much about Guantanamo Bay, but the U.S. detention center there has been at the forefront of Michelle Shephard's mind for the last decade. The national security correspondent for the Toronto Star has traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, more than two dozen times; she even got enough stamps on her Guantanamo Starbucks card for a free latte.

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2:08pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Book Reviews

Portis 'Miscellany' Makes A High-'Velocity' Collection

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 3:31 pm

Escape Velocity: book cover detail

Whenever I hear someone called a "cult writer," my hackles jump toward the ceiling. It's not only that the phrase calls up images of self-congratulatory hipsters, but that writers who become cultish tend to do so because their work is steeped in bizarro sex, graphic violence, trippy weirdness or half-baked philosophy.

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3:09pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Author Interviews

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:37 am

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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2:29pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Music Interviews

Stephen Colbert's Most Meaningful Musical Moments

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:12 am

Stephen Colbert (right) performs with Ben Folds on the set of his TV show, The Colbert Report.
Kris Long

Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."

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4:58pm

Tue October 23, 2012
The Impact of War

Iraq Vet Seeks Atonement For Early War Tragedy

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:09 pm

A scene from the early days of the fighting in Iraq in the spring of 2003. In one incident, three members of an Iraqi family were killed. A U.S. Marine involved in the shooting recently tracked down the family to ask for forgiveness.
Laurent Rebours AP

On April 8, 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, the Kachadoorian family found themselves in the middle of a firefight at a major intersection in Baghdad.

They had approached the intersection in three cars and didn't respond to Marines' warnings to stop and turn around; so the Marines opened fire, killing three men and shooting a young woman in the shoulder, not realizing that the people in the car were civilians.

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3:15pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Movie Interviews

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:59 pm

Ava DuVernay also directed the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop.
Liz O. Baylen Contour by Getty Images

In January, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win Sundance's best directing award for her second feature-length film, Middle of Nowhere. The film is about a young black woman named Ruby, who puts her life and dreams of going to medical school on hold while her husband is in prison.

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12:35pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Music Reviews

The Big Man Behind 'Shake, Rattle And Roll'

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:59 pm

No figure in the history of rock 'n' roll is more incongruous than Big Joe Turner.
Heinrich Klaffs Wikimedia Commons

Big Joe Turner's hardest-hitting singles have been collected on a new compilation, titled Big Joe Turner Rocks.

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