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, November 28 2014 11:25 AM

Naive, Yet Revolutionary: Ray Davies On 50 Years Of The Kinks

Thursday, November 27 2014 02:33 AM

"I think if I had been an accomplished songwriter I wouldn't have written 'You Really Got Me,' " Davies tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Four Holiday Goodies, Including 'Christmas At Downton Abbey'

Wednesday, November 26 2014 02:30 AM

It's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them.

Benedict Cumberbatch Lifts Above Biopic Formula In 'Imitation Game'

Wednesday, November 26 2014 02:30 AM

Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing in a film directed by Morten Tyldum and co-staring Keira Knightley as Turing's comrade in arms.

In 'Redeployment,' Former Marine Explores The Challenges Of Coming Home

Wednesday, November 26 2014 02:30 AM

Phil Klay served in Iraq from January 2007 to February 2008. He recently won a National Book Award for his collection of short stories.

Decades Later, Laurie Colwin's Books 'Will Not Let You Down'

Tuesday, November 25 2014 02:33 AM

A digital publisher has released a bounty of Colwin's books: four novels, three short-story collections and a collection of cooking essays. Colwin, who died in 1992 at age 48, had an "elusive magic."

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope

Tuesday, November 25 2014 02:33 AM

Hope was a comedy trailblazer, but in his twilight years he alienated young audiences with his political views. "He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long," says Hope biographer Richard Zoglin.

Fresh Air Weekend: Norman Lear, A Review Of Basement Tapes, Jon Stewart

Sunday, November 23 2014 02:33 AM

Lear, co-creator of All In The Family, talks about his new memoir; Ken Tucker reviews an album of musicians using Bob Dylan's lyrics; Stewart talks about his future hosting the Daily Show.

Fresh Air Remembers Film And Broadway Director Mike Nichols

Saturday, November 22 2014 02:33 AM

Nichols directed such movies as The Graduate and Birdcage and Broadway musicals such as Spamalot. He won nine Tony Awards. Nichols died Wednesday at 83. He talked with Terry Gross in 2001.

For Alan Cumming, Life Is (Once Again) A Cabaret

Saturday, November 22 2014 02:33 AM

This is the third time Cumming has starred in the musical. He talks about the new production — everything from his costume (which he calls a "Wonder Bra" for men) to the darker themes of the show.

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

Friday, November 21 2014 02:33 AM

In his short story collection, former Marine Phil Klay takes his experience in Iraq and clarifies it. On Wednesday, he won the National Book Award for fiction.

Sen. Mitch McConnell's Political Life, Examined, In 'The Cynic'

Friday, November 21 2014 02:33 AM

When journalist Alec MacGillis started looking into McConnell's early politics, he says he was "startled" by how moderate the Republican used to be. The book traces McConnell's shift to the right.

Bob Dylan's Atmosphere Captured In New Basement Tapes

Thursday, November 20 2014 02:33 AM

A batch of lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote in the late 1960s were given by Dylan to producer T-Bone Burnett, who came up with the idea to have some contemporary musicians set the words to music.

Bennett Miller On Making The True-Life Crime Film 'Foxcatcher'

Thursday, November 20 2014 02:33 AM

Foxcatcher is about wealthy heir John du Pont who hosted Olympic wrestlers on his estate. The director talks about casting Steve Carrell, the challenge of filming wrestling scenes and his film Capote.

Jon Stewart On The 'Daily Show': 'I'm Still Really Proud Of The Work We Do'

Thursday, November 20 2014 02:33 AM

Stewart talks about his future hosting the show known for its political satire. "It is unclear to me," he tells Fresh Air. "The minute I say I'm not going to do it anymore, I will miss it like crazy."

Norman Lear Looks Back On His Long Life In 'Even This I Get To Experience'

Wednesday, November 19 2014 02:33 AM

Lear, who co-created All In The Family, has written a new memoir at the age of 92. He tells Fresh Air about getting involved in politics and how his storylines addressed subjects like racism.

How A Feud Between Two Russian Companies Fueled A 'Spam Nation'

Wednesday, November 19 2014 02:33 AM

Brian Krebs' new book tells the story of how two companies groomed spammers, and then destroyed each other. In the process, Krebs got access to documents that illuminated how cybercriminals operate.

Holy Smokes 'Batman,' The '60s Series Is Out On DVD

Tuesday, November 18 2014 02:33 AM

Various rights issues kept the original Batman from home-video release until now. Young viewers may be surprised by its pop-art sensibility, vibrant colors — and that it was played for laughs.

An In-Depth Look At The U.S. Cyber War, The Military Alliance And Its Pitfalls

Tuesday, November 18 2014 02:33 AM

In the book @War, Shane Harris reports that U.S. intelligence agencies, sometimes aided by corporations, are trying to dominate cyberspace. It's "changing the Internet in fundamental ways," he says.

Fresh Air Weekend: Jon Stewart, Peter Mendelsund And A Review Of Bob Dylan

Sunday, November 16 2014 02:33 AM

Stewart talks about his debut film Rosewater; Mendelsund discusses how he designs book covers; Ed Ward reviews Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes.

'Foxcatcher': A Bloated True-Crime Story Based On Wealthy Heir John du Pont

Saturday, November 15 2014 02:34 AM

The film is based on du Pont's fraught relationship with two Olympic wrestlers. Wealth isn't enough — his identity hinges on winning. It's a fascinating case study, but as drama, it's one sick joke.

Eric Hofbauer Takes On Stravinsky, Messiaen

Saturday, November 15 2014 02:33 AM

The Boston jazz guitarist tackles the Rite of Spring and Quartet for the End of Time on a pair of new CDs.

'Getting On' With It: A New HBO Show Doesn't Tiptoe Around Death

Saturday, November 15 2014 02:33 AM

Set in the geriatric extended-care wing of a California hospital, Getting On is a different kind of workplace comedy. Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer adapted the show from a BBC series.

Jon Stewart's Debut Film Shows 'Humor Survives' In The Bleakest Conditions

Friday, November 14 2014 02:33 AM

Rosewater is based on Maziar Bahari's experience of being tortured in an Iranian prison. "His humor sustained him," the Daily Show host says. "And I found that incredibly empowering."

Bob Dylan's 'Basement Tapes' Formed A Legend

Thursday, November 13 2014 02:35 AM

During a hiatus, some tapes surfaced of new songs Bob Dylan been writing: the infamous Basement Tapes. These songs have been collected in a box set.

Author Richard Ford Says 'Let Me Be Frank' About Aging And Dying

Thursday, November 13 2014 02:33 AM

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's new book centers on Frank Bascombe, a 68-year-old man dealing with his aging body, a dying friend and his ex-wife, who has Parkinson's.

Oliver Lake: New Music Grounded In Old Truths

Wednesday, November 12 2014 08:19 AM

Since the 1970s, Lake has led numerous bands of his own, including an occasional big band, and an organ quartet. That organ group is one to watch.

Moral Injury Is The 'Signature Wound' Of Today's Veterans

Wednesday, November 12 2014 08:19 AM

Journalist David Wood says "almost everyone" in war has suffered a violation of their sense of right and wrong. As a result, Wood tells Fresh Air, veterans deal with grief, numbness or guilt.

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

Tuesday, November 11 2014 02:33 AM

In Richard Ford's brilliant collection of four short stories, protagonist Frank Bascombe returns to be "frank" about touchy topics. His awareness, particularly of mortality, is profound and hilarious.

Accordionist Interprets French Waltz Tradition In 'Musette Explosion'

Tuesday, November 11 2014 02:33 AM

Will Holshouser has played all kinds of music on the accordion, including Cajun, avant garde jazz and indie rock. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross in her studio to play features from his new album.

Fresh Air Weekend: Helene Cooper On Ebola, 'Interstellar' Review, Aasif Mandvi

Sunday, November 09 2014 02:33 AM

New York Times' Cooper talks about reporting on Ebola in Liberia; David Edelstein reviews Interstellar; Mandvi discusses his new essay collection No Land's Man.

Lee Ann Womack Scales Back And Goes Traditional And Moody

Saturday, November 08 2014 02:39 AM

Womack, who had the hit "I Hope You Dance," hasn't released a new album since 2008. The sound of her new album The Way I'm Livin' is different from the country music dominating the industry.

Anjelica Huston Tells Her 'Story' Of Growing Up With A Director Dad

Saturday, November 08 2014 02:38 AM

The actor's new memoir, A Story Lately Told, covers her early life growing up in Ireland, the daughter of director John Huston. In 1969, the two collaborated on a film, and it was disastrous.

In Liberia, Ebola Makes 'Pariahs' Out Of The Sick, Says NYT Reporter

Friday, November 07 2014 08:19 AM

Helene Cooper grew up in Liberia and still has family there. Reporting on the disease last month, she says when she saw a sick, little boy get out of an ambulance, she "completely lost it."

'Interstellar': A Good Old-Fashioned Chunk Of Sci-Fi Silliness

Thursday, November 06 2014 02:36 AM

Christopher Nolan's film stars Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut who takes his ship through a wormhole to another galaxy to find a home for earth's inhabitants. It's cool, awe-inspiring and goofy.

How Thousands Of Nazis Were 'Rewarded' With Life In The U.S.

Thursday, November 06 2014 02:36 AM

After World War II, thousands of Nazis became informants in the Cold War against the Soviet Union — and then got entry into the U.S. Eric Lichtblau's new book, The Nazi Next Door, tells the story.

'We Have Learned Absolutely Nothing': Tom Magliozzi On Decades Of 'Car Talk'

Wednesday, November 05 2014 02:33 AM

"People say, 'Tell us about radio!' " Magliozzi told Fresh Air in 2001. "We have no idea. We sit in front of the microphones and we know nothing about radio." The Car Talk co-host died Monday at 77.

Lazy About Your Online Passwords? Take Control With These New Tips

Tuesday, November 04 2014 02:34 AM

A couple of hours can go a long way toward making your data secure from criminals. It's a hassle, but you'll be forever safe from malicious forces.

Aasif Mandvi On Life As A 'No Land's Man' And Impressing Jon Stewart

Tuesday, November 04 2014 02:34 AM

The Daily Show correspondent was born in India, raised in England and moved to Florida as a teen. His new essay collection reflects on his acting career and his life as an immigrant.

Fresh Air Weekend: Jill Lepore, Amy Poehler And HBO's 'Olive Kitteridge'

Sunday, November 02 2014 01:33 AM

Lepore explains how Wonder Woman's creator led a secret life in The Secret History Of Woman Woman; Poehler discusses her memoir Yes Please; David Bianculli reviews the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.

In The Life Of 'Olive Kitteridge,' It's The Little Things That Add Up

Saturday, November 01 2014 01:37 AM

The HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand is based on a collection of stories about residents in a small town in Maine. It's about family, friends and the tenuous relationships that make up life.