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Fresh Air

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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.
62 Episodes
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Trauma surgeon Dr. David Nott has spent decades volunteering in war and disaster zones all over the world. Now he's advising doctors on how to treat COVID-19. He spoke with Terry Gross about how fighting the pandemic is similar to working in a war zone, and shares harrowing stories from his time in the field. His book is 'War Doctor.'
Two years ago, 'Atlantic' science writer Ed Yong predicted a new global pandemic and how we might be caught unprepared. Now that so much of what he warned about in his reporting has come true, he's been covering how and why we failed to stop the spread of COVID-19, why the virus has been so successful in spreading, how the pandemic might end, and what the aftermath might be.
Religion scholar Bart Ehrman says the notion of eternal rewards and punishments isn't found in the Old Testament or in the teachings of Jesus. Ehrman traces the origin of these ideas in his new book, 'Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.'
In 'The Splendid And The Vile,' author Erik Larson details Winston 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 to resist. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Glass Hotel' by Emily St. John Mandel.
Comic and 'WTF' podcast host Marc Maron named his new Netflix stand-up special 'End Times Fun' before the COVID-19 pandemic started — but now the title feels eerily apt. He talked with Terry Gross about how he's handling the crisis as a "recovering hypochondriac." Hank Azaria plays a colorful baseball announcer in the IFC comedy series 'Brockmire,' which is now in its 4th and final season. Azaria spoke with Dave Davies about the series, and why he doesn't voice the Indian American convenience store owner Apu on 'The Simpsons' anymore.
Sondheim, who turned 90 on March 22, composed the music and wrote lyrics for 'Sweeney Todd,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Company' and other Broadway shows. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2010 about his career in musical theater. (Part 1 of this interview was released on March 20.)
Journalist Benjamin Wittes spoke with Terry Gross about how President Trump has changed the presidency fundamentally — and how we're seeing the impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is the author, with Susan Hennessey, of 'Unmaking the Presidency.'We remember Broadway playwright Terrence McNally, who died March 24 due to complications related to COVID-19. He won Tony awards for 'Kiss of the Spider Woman,' 'Ragtime' and 'Master Class.' He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1993.
'Omnivore's Dilemma' author Michael Pollan talks about his audiobook, 'Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Created the Modern World.' He describes caffeine as the world's most widely-used psychoactive drug. (Originally broadcast Feb. 2020)Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from guitarist Jeff Parker.
Author Max Brooks became an expert on disaster preparedness — from pandemics to nuclear war — through researching for his books, 'World War Z,' 'Germ Warfare' and the forthcoming 'Devolution.' He spoke with Terry Gross about how the federal government is designed to respond to crises like COVID-19 — and what is preventing the tasks forces from being deployed. He'll also explain why "panic is not preparation," and how to have good "fact-hygiene."
Maron named his new Netflix comedy special 'End Times Fun' before the COVID-19 pandemic started — but now the title feels eerily apt. He talked with Terry Gross about how he's handling the crisis as a "recovering hypochondriac," and what he's doing to pass the time in isolation. Maron co-stars in the Netflix series 'GLOW' and hosts the interview podcast 'WTF.'
Octavia Spencer stars in the new Netflix limited series 'Self Made' as Madam C.J. Walker, America's first black, female, self-made millionaire. She sold hair and makeup products to black women in the early 1900s. John Powers reviews the Hulu series 'Little Fires Everywhere,' starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.The Philadelphia Orchestra has shuttered its doors in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin reflects on their final performance in an empty concert hall, which was livestreamed for more half a million viewers at home.
Broadway is dark because of the virus, but that doesn't need to stop us from celebrating the 90th birthday of Broadway's best living composer and lyricist—and one of the best in the history of Broadway, Stephen Sondheim. His 90th birthday is Sunday. We're listening back to our interview from 2010, which we recorded on the occasion of his 80th birthday. He wrote the songs for 'Sweeney Todd,' 'Follies,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Sunday in the Park with George' and 'Merrily We Roll Along.' Revivals of two of his shows had to go dark because of the virus: 'West Side Story,' for which he wrote the lyrics, and 'Company.'
The Philadelphia Orchestra has shuttered its doors in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin reflects on their final performance in an empty concert hall, which was livestreamed for more half a million viewers at home. He spoke with Terry Gross about the unusual performance and how music comforts us in troubling times. Also, we'll hear an excerpt of our interview with the conductor from last year.
Jesse Wegman, author of 'Let the People Pick the President,' says the Electoral College's winner-take-all rule is not mandated by the Constitution: "There's nothing keeping us from changing it." Wegman talks about how winner-take-all came to be, attempts to change it, and how the Electoral College disproportionately affects people of color.
Azaria plays a colorful baseball announcer in the IFC comedy series 'Brockmire,' which is now in its 4th and final season. Azaria spoke with 'Fresh Air' about sobriety, his flamboyant character in 'The Birdcage,' and why he doesn't voice the Indian American convenience store owner Apu on 'The Simpsons' anymore.Also, John Powers reviews the Hulu series 'Little Fires Everywhere,' starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.
Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

2020-03-1649:372

Spencer stars in the new Netflix limited series 'Self Made' as Madam C.J. Walker, America's first female self-made millionaire. She sold hair and makeup products to black women in the early 1900s. Spencer talks about Walker's legacy, playing a maid in'The Help,' and learning to speak up for better pay in Hollywood. Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the K-pop group BTS' new album 'Map of the Soul.'
James McBride's new novel, 'Deacon King Kong,' takes place in 1969, in a Brooklyn housing project similar to the one he grew up in. "In this book and in this community, people generally love each other," he says.RuPaul describes his drag persona as "one-part Cher, two-parts David Bowie, one-part Diana Ross and two heaping spoonfuls of Dolly Parton." The reality show he hosts and created, 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' is now in its 12th season on VH1.
Roth's 2004 novel, 'The Plot Against America,' is an alternative history which imagines Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh beats FDR in the 1940 presidential election and the U.S. sides with the Germans in WWII. We'll listen back to Terry Gross' interview with Roth about the novel, and TV critic David Bianculli will review the new HBO miniseries that's based on the book. Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always' about a teenage girl in small-town Pennsylvania who decides to have an abortion.
​Politico reporter Dan Diamond says dysfunction within the White House, infighting and the need to flatter Trump have caused distractions that have slowed the response to the new pandemic.​
'New York Times' Beirut Bureau Chief Ben Hubbard says Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is full of contradictions: He ended a ban on women driving, but his agents also carried out the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Hubbard's book, 'MBS,' tells the story of the enigmatic leader. Hubbard says MBS could rule the country for the next 50 years.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Writers & Lovers' by Lily King.
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Comments (202)

Bea Kiddo

Wow, who knew Marc Maron would be on Fresh Air. You know you're someone when you're on Fresh Air. ✌

Mar 28th
Reply

sirenasd

I'm hooked on Comic Marc Maron On 'End Times Fun' on Castbox. Check out this episode! https://castbox.fm/vb/243195259 OMG listen to his description of his father and narcissism. I was like, I have said so many of those exact things. How does he know what I said? It's a great interview. Terri's first interview from home. I wonder if he left Highland Park. I lived near Oxy when he taped that show. Marc Maron is great.

Mar 24th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

the line of questions about the strangeness of playing in an empty hall was awkward. musicians play, rehearse, and record in empty halls all the time. Teri was after something but couldn't find the question to explore it.

Mar 22nd
Reply

Hessah

(A very Stable Genius) caught my attention and quite frankly, Trump doesn’t fail to disappoint with his antics while the Republicans continue to excuse all of his statements, the Christian way! Oh well !

Mar 21st
Reply

Christina Fordyce

wwoah. Don't get too far ahead of things - minute 38. I had to stop listening. Is there a specific reason for that prediction and down to the year?

Mar 12th
Reply

Zhenhui Lyu

Aidy B okurrrrrr

Mar 2nd
Reply

Philly Burbs

i bought the book 2 weeks ago. this stretching of the end is ridiculous. 1 chapter spread out over 3 episodes.

Feb 29th
Reply

John Buckner

Bridgett Davis is a great storyteller.

Feb 25th
Reply

Puyan RJ

Every other campaign operates the same way. Nothing new here.

Feb 18th
Reply

beth isaacs

v see

Feb 15th
Reply

Ang G

At the end, talking about diet and climate, Pollan says diet is one of the most important ways you can affect your carbon output, along with "how you heat your home and what car you drive." Interesting that he doesn't mention air travel. I suspect he flies a lot and prefers to ignore the carbon emissions from flying.

Feb 15th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

I recommend the podcast Scene on Radio. Season 4 as a companion piece to this episode. The writer mentions "more fragile democracies" elsewhere in the world. the ranking is of little importance. isn't genocide still genocide whether it's 200,000 people or 1 million people?

Feb 11th
Reply

Tom Hoover

A lot people knew how this book would end. Tomorrow on Fresh Air: I walked to work for three months. It really sucked.

Feb 11th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

great show! look forward to seeing the film. mostly because the filmmakers are such remarkable people.

Feb 4th
Reply

Paz Ibarra

Oh how sad. :(

Jan 31st
Reply

MatteoSD

This is NPR now....

Jan 30th
Reply (1)

Jason Johnson

Democrats are accusing Republicans of what they have been doing.

Jan 30th
Reply (9)

Tom Hoover

ok my dad is not president and probably won't ever be, but he would def ask regularly why he doesn't have as many nukes as previous commander n chiefs.

Jan 28th
Reply

SAW9

Learned SO much about the Perspective of German Side. Sad and a powerful lesson.

Jan 28th
Reply

John Reed

Just turned it off when I found out it was Washington post bs. Do better.

Jan 25th
Reply (1)
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