Fresh Air

Fresh Air

www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air
Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.


Elton John
Oct 14 • 48 min
Elton John says his father’s early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: “He gave me the determination to make something of myself.” He talks about his volatile childhood, addiction, and fame. Elton John’s new memoir is called…
Best Of: Singer Anthony Roth Costanzo / Leaving The Westboro Baptist Church
Oct 11 • 50 min
Anthony Roth Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that’s associated with women’s voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He’s about to star in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of…
‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan & Actor Aaron Paul
Oct 11 • 48 min
Netflix just dropped the ‘Breaking Bad’ movie ‘El Camino,’ which picks up where the AMC series left off. TV critic David Bianculli reviews it, and we’ll listen back to our interviews with series creator and writer Vince Gilligan and actor Aaron Paul.
‘Loving And Leaving’ The Westboro Baptist Church
Oct 10 • 47 min
Growing up in the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was told that God killed soldiers as punishment for America’s sins and its tolerance of homosexuality. She started to question her beliefs after she began running the church’s Twitter…
Understanding Trump’s Impeachment Peril
Oct 9 • 49 min
‘Bloomberg Businessweek’ columnist Joshua Green explains how President Trump fell for a media campaign that was designed to help him: “The irony is that the target was supposed to be the Bidens, not the president,” he says.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews…
Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Christopher Wylie
Oct 8 • 49 min
Wylie exposed Cambridge Analytica’s role in Brexit and the Trump presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica collected personal data from millions of Facebook users, and used it to target people susceptible to conspiracy theories and disinformation. Wylie…
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo
Oct 7 • 48 min
Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that’s associated with women’s voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He’s about to star in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of ‘Akhnaten,’…
Best Of: Antonio Banderas / Conan O’Brien
Oct 4 • 50 min
Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar’s new film ‘Pain and Glory’ as a screenwriter and director suffering with physical pain, and pain of the soul. Banderas had a heart attack a few years ago, and talks about how the experience informed his…
Biographer Claire Tomalin On ‘A Life Of My Own’
Oct 4 • 48 min
After writing biographies of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mary Wollstonecraft, Tomalin turned to memoir. Her new work tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life, her first husband’s infidelity, and how…
Reporters Reveal Trump’s Extreme Border Proposals
Oct 3 • 48 min
President Trump made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico a cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign. But when, after the election, efforts to build the wall stalled, he turned to other possible options — including constructing a trench…
Conan O’Brien
Oct 2 • 49 min
Conan O’Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and is about to launch the second season of his podcast, ‘Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.’ He says the name of his podcast is a joke — sort of. “Sometimes when you’re in the public eye,…
An Author Investigates His Family Ties To Jimmy Hoffa’s Disappearance
Oct 1 • 48 min
Jack Goldsmith’s new memoir ‘In Hoffa’s Shadow’ centers on his investigation into his stepfather’s involvement in the 1975 disappearance of mob-connected labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa is portrayed by Al Pacino in Martin Scorsese’s new film ‘The…
Actor Antonio Banderas
Sep 30 • 49 min
Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar’s new film ‘Pain and Glory’ as a screenwriter and director suffering with physical pain, and pain of the soul. Banderas had a heart attack a few years ago, and talks about how the experience informed his performance. He…
Best Of: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Tegan And Sara
Sep 27 • 50 min
Coates won a National Book Award in 2015 for ‘Between the World and Me.’ His debut novel, ‘The Water Dancer,’ is set in slave times and re-imagines the Underground Railroad’s leaders as having a magical power to teleport people out of slavery.Also, Justin…
A ‘Photo Ark’ For Captive Animal Species
Sep 27 • 48 min
‘National Geographic’ photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. His new book of photographs is ‘Vanishing: The World’s Most Vulnerable Animals.’ (Originally broadcast in February 2017)Also, Lloyd…
‘Piety & Power’ And Mike Pence
Sep 26 • 48 min
Political reporter Tom LoBianco has covered Vice President Mike Pence in both Indiana and Washington, D.C. He describes Pence as a man of faith who is willing to put political ambition ahead of his beliefs. His book is ‘Piety and Power.’ Justin Chang…
Singing Cowboys / Remembering Grateful Dead Lyricist Robert Hunter
Sep 25 • 49 min
Musician Doug Green talks about a largely forgotten chapter of music history, the singing cowboy. Green wrote a book on singing cowboys, and is featured in Ken Burns’ new PBS series on the history of country music. He co-founded Riders in the Sky, a…
Ta-Nehisi Coates On ‘The Water Dancer’
Sep 24 • 49 min
Ta-Nehisi Coates launched a national conversation with his 2014 Atlantic cover story, ‘The Case For Reparations. In 2015, he won a National Book Award for for ‘Between the World and Me,’ written in the form of a letter to his son about the violence young…
Tegan And Sara
Sep 23 • 49 min
Music duo Tegan and Sara revisit their teen years and their early music in a new memoir, ‘High School,’ and companion album, ‘Hey, I’m Just Like You.’ Listening back to the songs they wrote, Sara says: “I was struck by the joy in our voices.” They talk…
Best Of: Edward Snowden / Journalist Andrea Mitchell
Sep 20 • 50 min
In 2013, Edward Snowden showed journalists thousands of top secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies’ surveillance efforts. He’s been living in exile in Russia ever since. His new book is ‘Permanent Record.’Film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Ad…
‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Julian Fellowes & Maggie Smith
Sep 20 • 48 min
As the ‘Downton Abbey’ movie opens in theaters, we listen back to our interviews with the series creator Julian Fellowes and star Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham.Film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Ad Astra,’ starring Brad Pitt.
Edward Snowden
Sep 19 • 48 min
In 2013, Snowden showed journalists thousands of top secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies’ surveillance efforts. He’s been living in exile in Russia ever since. “People look at me now and they think I’m this crazy guy, I’m this extremist or…
NBC News Journalist Andrea Mitchell
Sep 18 • 48 min
Mitchell, the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News and anchor of her own MSNBC show, looks back on her career in journalism. She’s receiving a lifetime achievement Emmy later on Sept. 24. “It’s very empowering to feel that you can ask…
How Reconstruction Remade The Constitution
Sep 17 • 48 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner talks about how current issues of racial inequality, voter suppression and mass incarceration relate to the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. They were added to the constitution after the Civil War and gave black…
Investigating Justice Brett Kavanaugh
Sep 16 • 48 min
In their new book, ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,’ ‘New York Times’ reporters Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin investigate the allegations against the Supreme Court justice and what was omitted from the confirmation hearings. They discuss Kavanaugh’s…
Best Of: The CIA’s Search For Mind Control / Tan France Of ‘Queer Eye’
Sep 13 • 50 min
Stephen Kinzer’s book, ‘Poisoner in Chief,’ exposes how CIA scientist Sidney Gottlieb worked in the 1950s and early ’60s to develop mind control drugs and deadly toxins that could be used against enemies of the U.S. government. Gottlieb believed the key…
Singer Linda Ronstadt
Sep 13 • 48 min
The Mexican-American singer spoke with Terry Gross in 2013 about her career and her Parkinson’s diagnosis. The new documentary, ‘The Sound of My Voice,’ traces Ronstadt’s career from the late ’60s onward.Also, critic John Powers reviews the movie…
Where Does Our Recycling Go?
Sep 12 • 47 min
Now that China isn’t taking our recycling anymore, where will it go? Environmental scientist Kate O’Neill discusses recycling and the global politics of waste. “Once you throw something away, you’ve got to think about where’s it going to go next,” she…
Tan France Of ‘Queer Eye’
Sep 11 • 47 min
France, the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, says he almost turned down the job of fashion expert in the Netflix series ‘Queer Eye.’ “The thought of being one of the very first openly gay South Asian men on a major show. …That pressure was so hard to…
Behind-The-Scenes Of The Weinstein Investigation
Sep 10 • 49 min
‘New York Times’ reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, talk about the obstacles Weinstein created to prevent their investigation, getting actors to speak on the record, and the final…
The CIA’s Secret Search For Mind Control
Sep 9 • 49 min
Stephen Kinzer’s book, ‘Poisoner in Chief,’ exposes how CIA scientist Sidney Gottlieb worked in the 1950s and early ’60s to develop mind control drugs and deadly toxins that could be used against enemies of the U.S. government. Gottlieb believed the key…
Best Of: Janet Mock On ‘Pose’ / Elvis’ Guitarist James Burton
Sep 6 • 50 min
Janet Mock made history as the first trans woman of color to write and direct an episode of TV for her work on Ryan Murphy’s FX series ‘Pose.’ The show centers on the trans and queer ball culture in New York City in the ’80s and ’90s. Mock talks with…
Maggie Gyllenhaal On ‘The Deuce’
Sep 6 • 49 min
Gyllenhaal produces and stars in the HBO series, ‘The Deuce.’ The show centers on sex work, porn, organized crime, politics and feminism in 1970s New York. The new season, which begins Sept. 9, jumps to the 1980s. (Originally broadcast Sept. 2018)Also,…
Trump’s Businesses & Conflicts Of Interest
Sep 5 • 48 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Washington Post’ reporter David Fahrenthold says in the past, an honor system helped keep presidents from using the office to benefit themselves. Not Trump: “He exploits honor systems.” Fahrenthold’s beat is following the Trump…
Fentanyl & The Dark Web
Sep 4 • 48 min
‘Fentanyl, Inc.’ author Ben Westhoff says the synthetic opioid, while useful in hospitals, is killing more Americans as a street drug than any other in U.S. history. More than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year. Westhoff talks about how…
Elvis’ Guitarist James Burton
Sep 3 • 49 min
Burton, who went professional at age 14, played in Ricky Nelson’s band, and has been on hundreds of recordings, including those by Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash. You can hear him on the new box set, ‘Elvis: Live 1969.’Also, Ken Tucker reviews Chuck…
Emmys Week: ‘BoJack Horseman’ Creator / ‘Pen15’ Creators
Sep 2 • 50 min
Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Emmy-nominated animated Netflix series satirizes Hollywood using a mix of human and animal characters. “Part of the original pitch was like, ‘What’s Mr. Ed like behind the scenes?’” BoJack (a horse) is a depressed, alcoholic, sexist…
Best Of: Sister Helen Prejean / Breakthroughs In Heart Health
Aug 30 • 50 min
Sister Helen Prejean is best known for her 1993 memoir, ‘Dead Man Walking,’ about her role as a spiritual adviser to a convicted killer on death row. The story was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Prejean has…
Emmys Week: Billy Eichner & Randy Rainbow
Aug 30 • 49 min
Billy Eichner’s Emmy-nominated series, ‘Billy on the Street,’ turns open ended questions about pop culture and celebrities into a game show. He talked with Terry Gross in 2016 about coming up with the concept of his man-on-the-street series. Randy Rainbow…
Emmys Week: Natasha Lyonne & Christina Applegate
Aug 29 • 49 min
Natasha Lyonne’s character on the Netflix series ‘Russian Doll’ keeps dying and coming back to life. It’s a premise that strikes a chord with the actor; Lyonne had a near-death experience in 2005. She talks with Terry Gross about how that experience…
Emmys Week: Ava DuVernay & Michael K. Williams
Aug 28 • 48 min
Ava DuVernay is the producer, writer and director of the Netflix series ‘When They See Us,’ which has 16 Emmy nominations. Told from the perspective of the “Central Park Five” — five black and brown teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of assault and…
Emmys Week: Phoebe Waller-Bridge / Ben Stiller & Patricia Arquette
Aug 27 • 48 min
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is nominated for 5 Emmys for creating and starring in the Amazon series ‘Fleabag.’ She plays a 30-something single Londoner who is navigating tense relationships with her family, grieving the loss of her best friend — and falling in…
Emmys Week: Bill Hader & John Mulaney
Aug 26 • 48 min
Actor Bill Hader is nominated for acting in and writing the HBO dark comedy series, ‘Barry,’ in which he plays a hitman who enrolls in acting classes. He talks about coming up with the concept of the series and struggling with anxiety during his years on…
Best Of: Exploring Underwater Caves / Character Actor Stephen Root
Aug 23 • 50 min
Diver and photographer Jill Heinerth talks about some of her most dangerous and exhilarating experiences underwater — like getting trapped inside an iceberg in Antarctica. Heinerth also shares how she stays calm when things go wrong: “I take a really deep…
Remembering Peter Fonda
Aug 23 • 48 min
The Oscar-nominated actor and screenwriter, who died Aug. 16, spoke to Terry Gross in 1998 about ‘Ulee’s Gold,’ ‘Easy Rider’ and his acting philosophy of “doing less — and making more of it.”Also, Ken Tucker reviews three songs that he says offer…
Tracing The Course Of The Opioid Epidemic
Aug 22 • 48 min
‘Washington Post’ investigative journalist Scott Higham says recently released evidence shows the drug industry purposely shipped large quantities of pills to certain communities in pursuit of greater profits. “Small cities and counties in places like…
Character Actor Stephen Root
Aug 21 • 49 min
After appearing in nearly 800 TV episodes and 100 films, Root received his first Emmy nomination for his role as a handler to a hitman in the HBO series ‘Barry.’ He also talks about his iconic roles in ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ and ‘Office Space.’…
The Renegade Anthropologists Who Reinvented How We Think About Race & Gender
Aug 20 • 48 min
In his new book, ‘Gods of the Upper Air,’ Charles King tells the story of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead and the other 20th century anthropologists who challenged outdated notions of race, class and gender. Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg discusses the language…
Exploring Underwater Caves
Aug 19 • 48 min
Diver and photographer Jill Heinerth talks about some of her most dangerous and exhilarating experiences underwater — like getting trapped inside an iceberg in Antarctica. Heinerth also shares how she stays calm when things go wrong: “I take a really deep…
Best Of: Colson Whitehead / A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids
Aug 16 • 49 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead’s new book, ‘The Nickel Boys,’ is based on the true story of a notorious Florida reform school where many boys were beaten and sexually abused. Dozens of unmarked graves were discovered on the school…