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.


Padma Lakshmi
Jul 6 • 48 min
In her new Hulu series, ‘Taste the Nation,’ the ‘Top Chef’ host and executive producer explores the different cultures that contribute to American cuisine. Lakshmi spoke with Terry Gross about splitting her childhood between the U.S. and India, speaking…
Best Of: Lin-Manuel Miranda / Actor Christine Baranski
Jul 4 • 50 min
A film of the original Broadway production of ‘Hamilton,’ taped in 2016, is now streaming on Disney+. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars in the title role, says the production is as timely as ever. “When you write a musical that brushes against the…
Remembering Carl Reiner
Jul 3 • 48 min
Performer, writer, director Carl Reiner died Monday at 98. Reiner began his career in showbiz as an actor and became second banana on Sid Caesar’s ‘Show of Shows’ where he soon joined the writing team that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Larry…
Sir Patrick Stewart On ‘Star Trek: Picard’
Jul 2 • 49 min
Patrick Stewart is back as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the CBS All Access series ‘Star Trek: Picard.’ He says he’s changed as an actor over the years: “I am not averse to risk-taking and I don’t judge myself.” Stewart spoke with ‘Fresh Air’ producer Sam…
The Militarization Of Police
Jul 1 • 48 min
Journalist Radley Balko, author of ‘Rise Of The Warrior Cop,’ says police departments across America are increasingly using equipment designed for use on a battlefield, including tanks, bayonets and grenades. We talk about the use of these weapons against…
A Doctor Confronts Medical Error
Jun 30 • 48 min
When Dr. Danielle Ofri was in medical school she missed a patient’s critical brain bleed. Luckily, someone else caught the error and the patient survived, but Ofri lived with the guilt and shame for 20 years. Medical errors are very common, yet many in…
‘Hamilton’ Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda
Jun 29 • 50 min
A film of the original Broadway production of ‘Hamilton,’ taped in 2016, begins streaming on Disney+ on July 3. Miranda, who stars in the title role, says the production is as timely as ever. “When you write a musical that brushes against the origins of…
Best Of: A Call For Reparations / Treating PTSD With Psychedelics
Jun 27 • 50 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says 250 yeas of slavery and 100 years of legalized segregation robbed Black Americans of the ability to accumulate wealth. Cash payments would help repair the damage. Her latest piece in the ‘New York…
LGBTQ Activist Cleve Jones / Novelist Marijane Meaker
Jun 26 • 49 min
After the AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco, gay activist Cleve Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and started the AIDS Memorial Quilt. “I have these memories of great struggle and great pain and great loss, but I also in my lifetime have…
Actor Christine Baranski
Jun 25 • 47 min
Baranski started her career in theater and now stars as a progressive lawyer in ‘The Good Fight.’ “I was a passionate acting student and nothing was going to stop me,” the Emmy Award-winning actor says. She talks about singing Sondheim, ‘Mamma Mia,’ and…
A Call For Reparations: Nikole Hannah-Jones On The Wealth Gap
Jun 24 • 47 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says 250 yeas of slavery and 100 years of legalized segregation robbed Black Americans of the ability to accumulate wealth. Cash payments would help repair the damage. Her latest piece in the ‘New York…
From ‘Empty’ To Satisfied: A Lifelong Struggle With Eating Disorders
Jun 23 • 48 min
For nearly 30 years, ‘This American Life’ producer Susan Burton kept her binge eating disorder a secret. “As long as I was bingeing, I didn’t have to think. I didn’t have to think about any loss or pain or wanting or yearning.” Burton also had anorexia,…
Treating PTSD With Psychedelics
Jun 22 • 47 min
Psychiatrist Dr. Julie Holland has used psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, she says, MDMA or marijuana can help make treatment more efficient and effective. She discusses this “revolutionary…
Best Of: The 1919 Chicago Race Riots / Parenting ‘Without Perfection’
Jun 20 • 50 min
Eve Ewing’s poetry collection ‘1919’ looks back on a century-old riot in Chicago, set off after Eugene Williams, a black teen, drowned because he was stoned by white people on the beach. Police refused to make an arrest. Ewing connects the systemic racism…
Rhiannon Giddens Sings Slave Narratives / Freedom Singer Bernice Johnson Reagon
Jun 19 • 49 min
Singer and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens’ 2017 album ‘Freedom Highway’ includes songs based on slave narratives. She notes that the modern banjo draws from the African instrument known as the akonting, which is made from a gourd. “In the first 100 years…
Kristen Howerton On ‘Parenting Without Perfection’
Jun 18 • 47 min
Blogger and licensed family therapist Kristen Howerton talks about how raising two white biological daughters and two black adopted sons helped her understand white privilege. She reflects on motherhood, miscarriage, divorce and faith. Her new memoir is…
Assessing COVID-19 Risk As The U.S. Reopens
Jun 17 • 48 min
With certain states loosening restrictions — and others partially in lockdown — there’s a lot of widespread confusion about COVID-19 risks. We talk with University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm about the safety concerns in terms of…
The Lasting Effects Of Having — Or Being Denied — An Abortion
Jun 16 • 48 min
Dr. Diana Greene Foster interviewed 1,000 women over 10 years who either had or were denied abortions. Her study looked at the women’s mental, physical and economic health. Foster says the data reveal, “95 percent of women who receive an abortion later…
Poet Eve Ewing Connects 1919 Chicago Riots To Today
Jun 15 • 48 min
Ewing’s poetry collection ‘1919’ looks back on a century-old riot in Chicago, set off after a black teen drowned while being stoned by white people. Police refused to make an arrest. Ewing connects the systemic racism that plagued the U.S. then to what we…
Best Of: Jamiles Lartey On Racism In Policing / Pete Davidson & Judd Apatow
Jun 13 • 49 min
Journalist Jamiles Lartey ​writes about criminal justice, race and policing for the non-profit news organization ‘The Marshall Project.’ ​Terry Gross spoke with Lartey about systemic racism in American policing and how we might begin to rethink these…
James Baldwin / Filmmaker Raoul Peck / Black Athletes & Social Justice
Jun 12 • 48 min
‘I Am Not Your Negro’ is the documentary about James Baldwin, one of the most influential black writers to emerge during the civil rights Era and address racial issues head on. We listen back to Terry Gross’ 1986 interview with Baldwin, and we’ll hear an…
Pete Davidson & Judd Apatow On ‘The King Of Staten Island’
Jun 11 • 47 min
‘SNL’ castmember Pete Davidson plays a fictionalized version of himself in the new movie ‘The King of Staten Island.’ The film draws on Davidson’s real life experience of losing his own father, a 9/11 First Responder. Filmmaker Judd Apatow and Davidson…
Rethinking American Policing
Jun 10 • 47 min
We talk with ​journalist ​Jamiles Lartey about systemic racism in American policing​. ​He writes about criminal justice, race and policing for the non-profit news organization ‘The Marshall Project.’ ​”Policing wasn’t always this way. It wasn’t always…
The Trump Administration’s Response To DC Protests
Jun 9 • 48 min
‘Washington Post’ reporter Matt Zapotosky talks about Attorney General William Barr’s role in the Trump administration’s forceful response to the largely peaceful George Floyd protests in Washington, DC.
The Brutal History Of The Texas Rangers
Jun 8 • 48 min
Their exploits are portrayed in countless movies and TV shows, but author Doug Swanson says the law enforcement agency has a dark history of abuse and officially-sanctioned racial oppression — including burning villages, hunting runaway slaves and…
Best Of: The ‘New Science’ Of Breathing / The Migration Of All Living Things
Jun 6 • 50 min
Humans typically take about 25,000 breaths per day — often without a second thought. We talk with journalist James Nestor about how breath work can affect your overall health. His book is ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.’Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead…
The ‘Unresolved Legacy’ Of Reconstruction
Jun 5 • 48 min
In the period after the Civil War, former slaves were made promises of equality and citizenship by the federal government. Historian Eric Foner analyzes the fate of those promises and how the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments relate to current issues around…
Why GOP Leaders Back Trump’s ‘Proto-Authoritarian Cult’
Jun 4 • 47 min
Journalist Anne Applebaum says President Trump’s threat to deploy the military on peaceful protestors is straight out of an authoritarian playbook. The ‘Atlantic’ staff writer says Trump has built a proto-authoritarian cult in the White House, with little…
Wes Moore On Freddie Gray & George Floyd: It’s Time To ‘Change The Systems’
Jun 3 • 48 min
In his book ‘Five Days,’ author Wes Moore chronicles the uprising that occurred in 2015 in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death. “We’re basically reliving history right now,” he says of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police. Moore talks about…
Rethinking The Migration Of All Living Things
Jun 2 • 47 min
When living things cross into new territory, they are often viewed as threats. But science writer Sonia Shah, who has written a new book — ‘The Next Great Migration’ — says the “invaders” are just following biology. Shah talks about the migration of…
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams On George Floyd Protests & Police Reform
Jun 1 • 48 min
At 15, Eric Adams was beaten by police. The traumatizing incident inspired him to become a police officer to help reform NYC policing from the inside. He co-founded 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care, and after 22 years on the force, he retired as a…
Best Of: Comic Hannah Gadsby / Inside The Snowden Story
May 30 • 50 min
Since her explosive 2018 Netflix special, ‘Nanette,’ comic Hannah Gadsby has been trying to adjust to her newfound success. We talk about being diagnosed with autism and growing up in Tasmania. Her new special is ‘Douglas.’Also, book critic Maureen…
Margo Price / Remembering AIDS Activist Larry Kramer
May 29 • 48 min
Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price spoke with ‘Fresh Air’ in 2017 when her album ‘All American Made’ was released. She plays songs off her two records, and talks about the heartache and beauty of growing up on a farm in a small town in Illinois.AIDS…
Inside New York’s Citywide Effort To Bury Its Dead
May 28 • 47 min
In just a two month period, New York City had 20,000 COVID deaths. What happens to the bodies? ‘TIME’ reporter W.J. Hennigan visited the disaster morgues set up around the city, and spoke with the death care workers on the front lines. “The scale of it is…
Deep Breaths: How Breathing Affects Sleep, Anxiety & Resilience
May 27 • 48 min
Humans typically take about 25,000 breaths per day — often without a second thought. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on respiratory illnesses and the breaths we so often take for granted. We talk with journalist James Nestor about why…
Comic Hannah Gadsby
May 26 • 49 min
Since her explosive 2018 Netflix special, ‘Nanette,’ Gadsby has been trying to adjust to her newfound success. We talk about her autism diagnosis, growing up in Tasmania, and her new special, ‘Douglas.’ Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Nancy…
Winston Churchill & Fearless Leadership In Crisis
May 25 • 48 min
In ‘The Splendid And The Vile,’ author Erik Larson details Churchill’s first year in office, during which England endured a Nazi bombing campaign that killed more than 44,000 civilians. Larson says Churchill told his citizens the truth and inspired them…
Best Of: Janelle Monáe / Meditation For Pandemic Anxiety
May 23 • 50 min
Musician and actor Janelle Monáe talks about the concept behind her 2018 album ‘Dirty Computer,’ and her identity as a queer woman in the entertainment industry. She now stars in the second season of the thriller series ‘Homecoming,’ as a veteran who…
Remembering Beatles Photographer Astrid Kirchherr / Comedy Actor Fred Willard
May 22 • 48 min
German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who died May 12, took the very first publicity photos of the then little-known Liverpool band, “The Beatles.” She also gave the group their signature “mop-top” haircuts. Kirchherr spoke with Terry Gross in 2008 when a…
How The Pandemic Reveals Gender Inequality In The Household
May 21 • 48 min
For many couples, the pandemic has exposed inequality in the home: Many women take on twice as much housework and childcare as their male partners, even when both partners are home full time. We talk with Brigid Schulte about women’s visible (and…
Breaking The Edward Snowden Story
May 20 • 47 min
Journalist Barton Gellman shares a Pulitzer for his reporting about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the U.S. government’s secret surveillance program. Gellman talks about his tense relationship with Snowden, getting hacked, and Snowden’s lasting…
How Meditation Can Ease Pandemic Anxiety
May 19 • 47 min
ABC News correspondent Dan Harris was broadcasting live in 2004 when he experienced a panic attack. He credits meditation with helping him work through his anxiety — both then and now. He’s the co-founder of the meditation podcast and app ‘10 Percent…
Janelle Monáe
May 18 • 47 min
The musician and actor spoke with us about the concept behind her 2018 album ‘Dirty Computer,’ her identity as a queer woman in the entertainment industry, and making her acting debut in the Oscar-winning film ‘Moonlight.’ She now stars in the second…
Best Of: John Moe On Depression / Alia Volz On Growing Up ‘Home Baked’
May 16 • 50 min
In his podcast, ‘The Hilarious World of Depression,’ John Moe talks with his guests (mostly comics) about their experiences with mental illness. We talk about his own depression (especially during the pandemic) and how humor gives him relief.Also, Ken…
Remembering Actor Jerry Stiller / Cellist Lynn Harrell
May 15 • 47 min
Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who died May 11, was part of a comic duo with his wife Anne Meara and later played George Costanza’s hot-headed father on ‘Seinfeld.’ He spoke to ‘Fresh Air’ in 1993. Also, we remember award-winning cellist Lynn Harrell.…
What We Might Learn From The 1918 Flu Pandemic
May 14 • 47 min
John Barry’s 2004 book about the 1918 influenza pandemic is a current bestseller. Barry talks about the parallels that are relevant to today’s COVID-19 crisis. In both cases, he says, “the outbreak was trivialized for a long time.” Also, we remember…
Doctor With Rare Disease Decides To Find His Own Cure
May 13 • 48 min
David Fajgenbaum was diagnosed with Castleman disease as a medical student and nearly died several times. In ‘Chasing My Cure,’ he recounts crowd-sourcing his own treatment with a global network of doctors, scientists and patients.Also, Maureen Corrigan…
Writer Michael Arceneaux Worries, ‘I Don’t Want To Die Poor’
May 12 • 48 min
Michael Arceneaux graduated from Howard University in 2007 with more than $100,000 of private student loan debt. His new essay collection, ‘I Don’t Want to Die Poor,’ recounts how that debt has shaped his life. “I became a ‘New York Times’ bestselling…
How Will The Pandemic Affect Voting?
May 11 • 48 min
Assuming the pandemic has not ended by Election Day, will you be able to vote by mail? And if not, are you willing to risk your health? We talk with journalist Emily Bazelon about her new ‘NYT Magazine’ article titled, “Will Americans Lose the Right to…
Best Of: Tim Gunn / Chef Tom Colicchio
May 9 • 50 min
Longtime fashion expert and mentor Tim Gunn returns to ‘Fresh Air’ to talk about how the pandemic has changed his mind about comfy clothes and his new competition series, ‘Making the Cut.’ David Bianculli recommends the 90th birthday salute to Broadway…