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.


Novelist Colson Whitehead On ‘The Nickel Boys’
Jul 16 • 49 min
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’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 grounds, which the…
TV Critic Emily Nussbaum
Jul 15 • 48 min
The Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for ‘The New Yorker’ talks about the art of “terrible men” in the #MeToo era, TV’s revolution (from low to high brow), and what she calls “the bad fan.” Her new book of essays and reviews is ‘I Like to Watch.’
Best Of: Yiddish ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ / How ‘Maiden’ Sailed Into History
Jul 12 • 50 min
A new Yiddish language production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is currently running off-Broadway. Steven Skybell, who plays Tevye, and Joel Grey, who directs the show, explain why the play still resonates.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller…
MLB’s Keith Hernandez / Remembering Pitcher Jim Bouton & Actor Rip Torn
Jul 12 • 48 min
The former first baseman played on championship teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on ‘Seinfeld.’ His memoir, now out in paperback, is ‘I’m Keith Hernandez.’MLB pitcher Jim Bouton, who died Wednesday, spoke to ‘Fresh Air’…
The Ongoing Crisis At The U.S.-Mexico Border
Jul 11 • 49 min
NY Times reporter Caitlin Dickerson has been documenting the impact of the Trump administration’s policies on migrants — and on the workers who deal with the large number of people held in detention. Dickerson talks about the squalid conditions at the…
Yiddish ‘Fiddler On The Roof’
Jul 10 • 48 min
A new, Yiddish language production of the musical is currently running off-Broadway. Steven Skybell, who plays Tevye, and Joel Grey, who directs the show, explain why the play still resonates.
Gerrymandering, The 2020 Census & Voter Suppression
Jul 9 • 49 min
‘Mother Jones’ journalist Ari Berman says recent Supreme Court decisions on redistricting and the 2020 census will determine which party is in power in the next decade. Berman says while Americans are justifiably worried that Russia might try again to…
A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids
Jul 8 • 48 min
Travis Rieder became dependent on opioids after a motorcycle accident in 2015 that crushed his left foot, and forced him to endure six surgeries. His book ‘In Pain’ draws on his insights as a patient, and his subsequent research into pain medicine, to…
Best Of: Sarah Jessica Parker / ‘Leaving The Witness’
Jul 5 • 50 min
Parker is best-known for her role as the iconic single New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw on ‘Sex and the City.’ Now, on the HBO series ‘Divorce,’ she plays Frances, a woman navigating the dissolution of her marriage. Also, Ken Tucker reviews two country hits…
Willie Nelson
Jul 5 • 52 min
At the age of 86, Nelson is still going strong. He’s touring and has a new record, ‘Ride Me Back Home.’ We’ll listen back to two interviews with Nelson and hear a review of the new album. When Terry Gross spoke to him in 1996 he told her why he had…
Lizzo
Jul 4 • 49 min
The flute-playing pop star celebrates self-love on her latest album, ‘Cuz I Love You.’ About 10 years ago, “I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body,” she says. Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism,…
Sarah Jessica Parker
Jul 3 • 48 min
Parker is best-known for her role as the iconic single New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw on ‘Sex and the City.’ Now, on the HBO series ‘Divorce,’ she plays Frances, a woman navigating the dissolution of her marriage. Parker spoke with Terry Gross about growing…
Uncovering The Story Of Chernobyl
Jul 2 • 48 min
HBO’s recent series ‘Chernobyl’ has renewed public interest in the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Journalist Adam Higginbotham has spent years investigating the causes of the accident and the dramatic efforts to contain the damage. He says…
From Nightmares To PTSD, The Toll On Facebook Moderators
Jul 1 • 48 min
‘Verge’ journalist Casey Newton investigated working conditions for the moderators who determine what material can be posted to Facebook. Many are traumatized by the images of hate and violence they see. “I’ve talked to folks who will wake up in the…
Best Of: Founders OF The 1st AIDS Ward / Comic Ramy Youssef
Jun 28 • 50 min
The new documentary ‘5B’ tells the story of America’s first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early…
Novelist John Green On OCD
Jun 28 • 48 min
Green’s latest novel, ‘Turtles All The Way Down,’ is about a teenage girl with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The author spoke with Terry Gross about his own experience with OCD in 2017. “It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes…
How An All-Female Crew Sailed Round The World & Into The History Books
Jun 27 • 49 min
In 1989, 26-year-old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was thought of as an unthinkable journey for a woman — to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Round The World Race. She assembled an all-female crew, restored a shabby racing yacht, and took to sea.…
Founders Of The First AIDS Ward
Jun 26 • 49 min
The new documentary ‘5B’ tells the story of America’s first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early…
Comic Ramy Youssef
Jun 25 • 47 min
In the semi-autobiographical Hulu series ‘Ramy,’ Youssef plays a first generation Muslim American who follows some — but not all — of the rules of his religion. Youssef, whose parents immigrated from Egypt, also co-created the series. He says he can…
A Former Jehovah’s Witness Reflects On Leaving Her Faith
Jun 24 • 48 min
Amber Scorah was a third generation Jehovah’s Witness raised to believe that the Armageddon was imminent. As a teenager she was shunned from her religious community for having sex with her boyfriend. Scorah went on to marry an elder in the church, and she…
Best Of: Ava DuVernay / Bill Hader
Jun 21 • 50 min
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series ‘When They See Us’ tells the story of how five black and brown boys, known as the Central Park Five, were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit. DuVernay focuses on the boys’ perspective —…
John Prine
Jun 21 • 46 min
The singer, songwriter and guitarist was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Prine spoke with Terry Gross in 2018 when his album ‘The Tree of Forgiveness’ was released. He described how his voice changed after neck cancer: “It dropped…
Bill Hader On ‘Barry’
Jun 20 • 47 min
Hader, who became famous as a writer and performer on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ now stars in the HBO series ‘Barry.’ Hader plays a Marine who suffers from depression and PTSD ever since returning from Afghanistan. While working as a hit man in Los Angeles,…
Ava DuVernay On ‘When They See Us’
Jun 19 • 46 min
DuVernay’s Netflix series tells the story of how five black and brown boys, known as the Central Park Five, were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit. ‘When They See Us’ focuses on the boys’ perspective — and the criminal…
Uncovering The Story Of Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero
Jun 18 • 48 min
At the height of the Jim Crow era, Taylor broke barriers by becoming the country’s fastest and most famous cyclist. Author and ‘Washington Post’ journalist Michael Kranish tells his story in the new book, ‘The World’s Fastest Man.’ “He really belongs in…
Rethinking ‘Elderhood’
Jun 17 • 48 min
Geriatrician Dr. Louise Aronson treats patients who are in their 60s — as well as those who are older than 100. “I need to be a different sort of doctor for people at different ages and phases of old age,” she says. Aronson writes about changing…
Best Of: How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon / Actor Damian Lewis
Jun 14 • 50 min
This summer marks 50 years since the first Apollo moon landing. Journalist Charles Fishman’s new book ‘One Giant Leap’ focuses on the untold stories of the ordinary men and women who worked behind-the-scenes on the Apollo missions. “Apollo was the biggest…
‘I Wrote This Book Because I Love You’
Jun 14 • 48 min
Writer and cartoonist Tim Kreider admits unabashedly that the longest relationship of his adult life was with the stray cat that became his companion for 19 years. His collection of personal essays details his many unconventional relationships, which…
How Hackers Pose A Threat To Cities & Elections
Jun 13 • 48 min
‘New York Times’ cybersecurity correspondent Nicole Perlroth says hacking tools developed by the NSA were stolen, posted online and are now being used in cyberattacks, including one on the city of Baltimore.Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘The Last…
How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon
Jun 12 • 48 min
This summer marks 50 years since the first Apollo moon landing. Journalist Charles Fishman’s new book ‘One Giant Leap’ focuses on the untold stories of the ordinary men and women who worked behind-the-scenes on the Apollo missions. “Apollo was the biggest…
Inside Kim Jong Un’s North Korea
Jun 11 • 48 min
‘Washington Post’ journalist Anna Fifield visited North Korea and interviewed many of its citizens — including members of Kim Jong Un’s family — for her new book about the country and its leader. Her book is ‘The Great Successor.’ Also, Maureen Corrigan…
Actor Damian Lewis
Jun 10 • 48 min
The classically-trained British actor plays a ruthless hedge-fund manager on Showtime’s ‘Billions,’ which recently ended its fourth season. Lewis describes his character as “the embodiment of the American dream.” He also starred in the series ‘Homeland’…
Best Of: Christina Applegate / The Future Of Food
Jun 7 • 50 min
Christina Applegate stars in the Netflix series ‘Dead to Me,’ opposite Linda Cardellini, as a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband. She speaks with Terry Gross about her own experience with grief and loss, her double mastectomy, and working as a…
Remembering Musician Dr. John
Jun 7 • 47 min
New Orleans musician Mac Rebennack, A.K.A. Dr. John, died yesterday at 77. He was known for his raspy voice and hits such as “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “Such A Night.” Rebennack spoke with Terry Gross in 1986. Contributor Zahra Noorbakhsh, who is…
Trump, M.B.Z. & The United Arab Emirates
Jun 6 • 47 min
We talk with ‘NYT’ international correspondent David Kirkpatrick about how Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (M.B.Z.), the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, became one of the most influential foreign voices in Washington. He’s urged the U.S. to adopt his…
Actor Christina Applegate
Jun 5 • 48 min
Applegate stars in the Netflix series ‘Dead to Me,’ opposite Linda Cardellini, as a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband. She speaks with Terry Gross about her own experience with grief and loss, her double mastectomy, ‘Married with Children,’…
The Case Against R. Kelly
Jun 4 • 48 min
Nearly 20 years ago, reporter and pop music critic Jim DeRogatis broke the story that R&B superstar R. Kelly was allegedly sexually abusing underage girls. It all started with an anonymous fax to his office at the ‘Chicago Sun-Times.’ Fourteen months…
The Future Of Food
Jun 3 • 47 min
Environmental journalist Amanda Little talks about efforts to create a global food supply for a world that will be hotter, drier and more crowded. Little writes about meat cultured in a lab, 3D printed food, and indoor vertical farming in ‘The Fate of…
Best Of: Why College Students Are So Stressed / How Eugenics Shaped U.S. Immigration
May 31 • 49 min
As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain and family therapist B. Janet Hibbs are the authors of ‘The…
A Return To ‘Deadwood’
May 31 • 49 min
The HBO series about a lawless mining town in 19th century South Dakota is now the basis of a new film. TV critic David Bianculli shares his review and then we’ll listen back to interviews with actor Timothy Olyphant, who played the sheriff Seth Bullock,…
SCOTUS And Abortion
May 30 • 48 min
‘New York Times’ correspondent Adam Liptak talks about how President Trump’s two appointees might change the Supreme Court — including its direction on abortion: “It’s not hard to write a decision striking down Roe,” he says. “It’s built on quicksand.”…
Inside ‘Sara Berman’s Closet’
May 29 • 48 min
The art installation ‘Sara Berman’s Closet’ chronicles the life of a woman who grew up in a shtetl in Belarus, fled with family to Palestine, and then eventually moved to New York City to start a new life. Berman’s daughter, children’s book author and…
The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’ On College Campuses
May 28 • 46 min
As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of ‘The Stressed Years of Their Lives,’ notes that…
Sir Elton John
May 27 • 49 min
The new biographical musical film ‘Rocketman’ is based on Elton John’s life story. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2013 about what he calls “Elton John excess,” his fear of sex as a young man, and how Liberace’s example encouraged him to make the piano a…
Best Of: John Waters / Lizzo
May 24 • 50 min
John Waters has made a career out of rebelling against the norm. The ‘Pink Flamingos’ and ‘Hairspray’ director returns to ‘Fresh Air’ to talk about what he was like as a kid, and how he still finds ways to break the rules as a self-described “filth…
Michael Pollan On the ‘New Science’ Of Psychedelics
May 24 • 48 min
Pollan discusses the history of psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms, and explains how they’re currently being used experimentally in therapeutic settings to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death. The author experimented with…
Lizzo
May 23 • 49 min
The flute-playing pop star celebrates self-love on her latest album, ‘Cuz I Love You.’ About 10 years ago, “I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body,” she says. Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism,…
The ‘Power Struggle’ Within The NRA
May 22 • 48 min
‘New York Times’ reporter Danny Hakim discusses conflicts within the NRA’s leadership, its lawsuit against its advertising and PR company, and what leaked documents reveal about the organization.Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews ‘The Secret…
A New Approach To Dementia
May 21 • 48 min
While caring for her mother, who had dementia, bioethicist Tia Powell began imagining a different way to approach the disease. Her new book, ‘Dementia Reimagined,’ looks at long-term care options and end-of-life decisions. Also, movie critic Justin Chang…
John Waters On Being A ‘Filth Elder’
May 20 • 49 min
The cult filmmaker, 73, has plenty of ideas about what older people should and shouldn’t do. “You can’t be trying too hard to rebel [when] you’re older,” Waters says. He talks about what he was like as a kid, why he’s done making movies, and what he wants…