Fresh Air : About

Airs Monday through Thursday at 2pm on 93.9 FM; Airs Monday through Friday att 9pm on AM 820 and NJPR

"If you want to understand a political conflict, it helps to understand the culture in which that conflict is taking place," says host Terry Gross. Fresh Air is one of the most popular programs on public radio, breaking the "talk show" mold, and Gross is known for her fearless and insightful interviews with prominent figures in American arts, politics, and popular culture. "When there is a crisis in a foreign country, we sometimes call up that country's leading novelist or filmmaker to get the cultural perspective." Fresh Air features daily reports and reviews from critics and commentators on music, books, movies, and other cultural phenomena that invade the national psyche.

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  • Terry Gross

    Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air's interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by host and executive producer Terry Gross' unique approach.

Latest Stories from Fresh Air

Last updated: Friday, October 31 2014 12:07 PM

Taylor Swift: The Peppiest Pop Star We Have Right Now

Friday, October 31 2014 01:33 AM

1989 sidesteps country music entirely to become Swift's first pure pop album.

Funny, Dirty, Sad: The 'Holy Trinity' For 'Transparent' Creator Jill Soloway

Friday, October 31 2014 01:33 AM

When writer Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman, Soloway says, it was a huge relief. And it helped her create the series Transparent about "boundaries, legacy, gender, family."

The Incredible Story Of Chilean Miners Rescued From The 'Deep Down Dark'

Thursday, October 30 2014 01:37 AM

Hector Tobar had exclusive access to the 33 miners to report his new book detailing the claustrophobic horror they faced when they were trapped for 69 days in 2010. The result is a doozy.

With New Campaign Finance Rules, You Can't Really Follow The Money

Thursday, October 30 2014 01:36 AM

Campaign finance rules allow some groups to not disclose their donors. The New York Times' Nick Confessore says there could be "influence peddling ... because we can't see the money changing hands."

The Mysterious Case of Arthur Conley, Otis Redding's Protege

Wednesday, October 29 2014 01:33 AM

Singer Conley had a number of hits before disappearing in the '70s, a few years after his mentor Redding died in a plane crash. So where did he go? To Europe, where he changed his name.

A Candid Memoir From Comedian Amy Poehler? 'Yes Please'

Wednesday, October 29 2014 01:33 AM

Poehler joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about fighting the body image "demon," being a "world-class snooper" and how she was once told that she had a "great face for wigs."

The Man Behind Wonder Woman Was Inspired By Both Suffragists And Centerfolds

Tuesday, October 28 2014 01:33 AM

Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, had a secret life: He had a wife and a mistress and fathered children with both of them. Jill Lepore explains in The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

Fresh Air Weekend: Ed Norton, Nostaglic DVD Releases, America's Test Kitchen

Sunday, October 26 2014 01:33 AM

Norton talks about making Birdman; new box-set DVD releases are aimed at baby boomers and Gen X-ers; The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book gives tips on how to shop for, store, season and cook meat.

'Citizenfour': A Paranoid Conspiracy Documentary About Edward Snowden

Saturday, October 25 2014 01:33 AM

Laura Poitras' new film isn't artfully shaped like her other documentaries. But she captures scenes as history is being made — and it will make you look both ways when you're on the street.

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Saturday, October 25 2014 01:33 AM

Ann Patchett got married and divorced young. To her second husband, she said: "I'll be true, I'll be faithful ... but I don't want to live together." Her book is This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage.

You'll Want To Accept The Dinner Invitation To 'The Immortal Evening'

Friday, October 24 2014 01:33 AM

On a cold evening in London in 1817, painter Benjamin Haydon hosted a dinner with the likes of Keats and Wordsworth. Critic Stanley Plumly recreates the crackling conversation about art and science.

'Test Kitchen': How To Buy The Safest Meat And Make The Juiciest Steaks

Friday, October 24 2014 01:33 AM

The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book gives tips on how to shop for, store, season and cook meat. Why shouldn't you pack your burgers too tight? Two America's Test Kitchen editors explain.

Ben Bradlee On Journalism: Be 'Fair' And 'Honest,' But Don't 'Back Down'

Thursday, October 23 2014 01:33 AM

Bradlee was the executive editor for the Washington Post from 1968 to 1991. He published the Pentagon Papers and covered Watergate. Bradlee, who died Tuesday at 93, talked with Terry Gross in 1995.

Disappearing Religions Charted In 'Heirs To Forgotten Kingdoms'

Thursday, October 23 2014 01:33 AM

When Gerard Russell was a diplomat in the Middle East, he met followers of ancient religions facing extinction. His new book includes the origins of the Yazidis, who are fleeing the Islamic State.

Nostalgia, Now Out On DVD, With 'Wonder Years' And 'Pee-wee' Releases

Wednesday, October 22 2014 01:33 AM

In what may be a last gasp for DVD collections, some of the new box-set releases are aimed at baby boomers and Gen X-ers with favorites like The Wonder Years and Pee-wee's Playhouse.

Ed Norton On 'Birdman,' Wes Anderson And Why $40 Makes Him Proud

Wednesday, October 22 2014 01:33 AM

Making Birdman "was one of the most creatively satisfying experiences I've had," Norton says. He also talks about why Anderson's films are deep and getting royalties for the music in Death to Smoochy.

Ex Hex's 'Rips' Does What It Says On The Cover

Tuesday, October 21 2014 01:33 AM

The initial triumph of Rips is that nearly every one of its songs is sing-along-catchy, immediately memorable.

One Lawyer's Fight For Young Blacks And 'Just Mercy'

Tuesday, October 21 2014 01:33 AM

When police pulled a gun on Bryan Stevenson as he was sitting quietly in his car in Atlanta, he knew he had to effect change. His memoir describes his attempts, including freeing men on death row.

Fresh Air Weekend: Neil Patrick Harris, Two New Prince Albums, Justin Simien

Sunday, October 19 2014 01:33 AM

Neil Patrick Harris talks about his new memoir Choose Your Own Autobiography; Ken Tucker reviews two new Prince albums; film director Justin Simien discusses his racial satire Dear White People.

'Birdman' Follows A Film Actor Frantic To Prove Himself Onstage

Saturday, October 18 2014 01:33 AM

The choreography by Alejandro Iñárritu, who directed 21 Grams and Babel, will wow you. But the story about a washed-up actor about to bring off his Broadway debut is an "empty masterwork."

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Brings Lessons From Space Down To Earth

Saturday, October 18 2014 01:33 AM

The former International Space Station commander achieved Internet stardom with his in-space rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." His new book is An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

The Jacket Designer's Challenge: To Capture A Book By Its Cover

Friday, October 17 2014 01:33 AM

Peter Mendelsund has designed hundreds of book covers, including two new ones of his own: Cover and What We See When We Read. He talks about his process and why "dead authors get the best" covers.

'Dear White People' Is A Satire Addressed To Everyone

Friday, October 17 2014 01:33 AM

Justin Simien's film is funny, but it pushes viewers to think seriously about race and stereotypes in their own lives. Tongue-in-cheek title aside, he says the film speaks to the "human experience."

'The Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher' And Other Stories From Hilary Mantel

Thursday, October 16 2014 01:33 AM

Heads tend to roll, figuratively and otherwise, in Mantel's writing. Critic Maureen Corrigan says this new short story collection — about grotesque characters in the modern world — is breathtaking.

Tove Lo Chronicles Three Stages Of A Love Affair

Thursday, October 16 2014 01:33 AM

The Swedish pop singer-songwriter has a knack for capturing the thoughts of the romantic mind in a delightfully wordy.

'Why Kids Sext' Describes Nude Photos As 'Social Currency' Among Teens

Thursday, October 16 2014 01:33 AM

Teenage girls explained to writer Hanna Rosin that boys collect sexts like baseball cards or Pokemon cards. "There's so much free porn out there that these pictures serve a different role," she says.

An Unofficial Memorial For Jazz Greats Jim Hall And Charlie Haden

Wednesday, October 15 2014 01:36 AM

Hall and Haden performed as a duo at a concert in Montreal in 1990. Plans to release the album, Charlie Haden - Jim Hall, were in place before both artists passed away within the last year.

Journalist Talks Confidential Sources, Getting Subpoenaed And His New Book

Wednesday, October 15 2014 01:36 AM

James Risen could face prison for refusing to reveal his source for a story about a botched CIA operation intended to sabotage Iran's nuclear weapons program. His new book is Pay Any Price.

What's It Like To Be Neil Patrick Harris? He Gives You Options

Tuesday, October 14 2014 01:33 AM

The actor says he's been able to do a lot of different things in his life, including his role as Doogie Howser. So when he sat down to write a memoir, he made it a "Choose Your Own Adventure."

Fresh Air Weekend

Sunday, October 12 2014 07:15 AM

Fresh Air Weekend

Inconsistent Memories Are Revisited In 'The Affair,' A Captivating New Drama

Saturday, October 11 2014 07:15 AM

The Showtime show is about two people who betray their spouses and fall into a relationship. It's told from more than one perspective, and the actors are so likable, you forgive them their trespasses.

In 'Whiplash,' A Young Drummer Plays Till He Bleeds

Saturday, October 11 2014 07:15 AM

Director Damien Chazelle's second film centers on the agony of a drummer in a high-powered music school. The movie ties you into knots: The fear of failure is omnipresent. So is the jazz vibe.

'You Can't Be This Furry' And Other Life Lessons From Gary Shteyngart

Saturday, October 11 2014 07:15 AM

In Little Failure, the novelist recounts his emigration from the USSR to the U.S. when he was 7. For the first few years, he says, he would sit alone in the cafeteria, talking to himself in Russian.

Art In The Age Of Prince

Friday, October 10 2014 01:33 AM

Prince has released two new albums simultaneously: Art Official Age appears under his own name, and PlectrumElectrum is the debut record of a Prince back-up band called 3rdEyeGirl.

'Bad Paper' Explores The Underworld Of Debt Collection

Friday, October 10 2014 01:33 AM

In his new book, Jake Halpern looks at the industry, where having a criminal background is no barrier to entry. He explains debt buying and how little regulation gave rise to a chaotic marketplace.

The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

Thursday, October 09 2014 01:33 AM

Nobody knows what was in the president's cup when he saluted the Marines last month, but it became known as the "latte salute." Do people still use "red" and "blue" when discussing a cultural divide?

The Toil And The Oil That Fueled The Bakersfield Country Scene

Thursday, October 09 2014 01:33 AM

Bakersfield, Calif., has become famous for its own brand of country music. It evolved through a music scene that was wild and wide-open during the 1950s and '60s.

A Mortician Talks Openly About Death, And Wants You To, Too

Thursday, October 09 2014 01:33 AM

"You're never going to be completely comfortable with it," says mortician and author Caitlin Doughty. "But it's an important process." Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is her new memoir.

One Final Offering From John Coltrane

Wednesday, October 08 2014 01:31 AM

Eight months before he died of cancer, John Coltrane played a concert at Temple University in Philadelphia that proved too much for some listeners.

The Great Bluff That Led To A 'Magical' Pill And A Sexual Revolution

Wednesday, October 08 2014 01:31 AM

In the '50s, four people collaborated to create a pill so women could enjoy sex. They fibbed about their motivations and skirted the law. Jonathan Eig details the history in The Birth of the Pill.