Fresh Air

Weekdays from 3pm to 4pm and repeated at 10pm
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Fresh Air is the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues from NPR hosted by Terry Gross. Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights."

When writer Philip Connors was in his 20s, he received a call from his mother that later haunted him: "You know, I spoke to your brother and he's been having trouble with his girlfriend — he sounded really down ... you should really call him."

"And when I hung up the phone, I thought to myself: 'Yeah, yeah, kid brother and his silly troubles with women, I'll get around to calling him. I'll call him in a few days, or maybe next week,' " Connors tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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A climb "to the top of a greasy pole" are the immortal words coined by 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to describe his rise to political power. Disraeli was two-time prime minister under Queen Victoria, as well as a novelist and famous wit whose way with a catchy phrase was rivaled in the 19th century only by his younger admirer, Oscar Wilde. But when he entered politics in the 1830s, Disraeli was burdened by debt and, even more seriously, by his Jewish parentage.

David Treuer's latest novel Prudence follows a young man who returns home to visit his family on an Ojibwe reservation before he joins the war as a bombardier. It's the 1940s and a prison camp for Germans captured during World War II has been set up across the river.

Treuer bases the camp on a real-life one that existed near the village of Bena, Minn., on the Leech Lake Reservation where he grew up. The camp was on the shores of Lake Winnibigoshish — the German prisoners used to cut down trees to make roads.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNSHINE, LOLLIPOPS AND RAINBOWS")

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Larry Wilmore has been consumed with making his new late-night show prime viewing. And he wants to make one thing clear: He has "no desire" to host The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves later this year.

"I'm doing my show right now," Wilmore tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm very happy doing it."

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When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."

Richard Price used a pseudonym for his new novel, The Whites, but in retrospect, he wishes he hadn't. "It was going to be different from my other books and I wanted to signal that," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But by the time he realized it was just "another damn book by me" it was too late to withdraw the pen name.

Price is the author of Clockers, the novel about police detectives and drug dealers that Price and Spike Lee adapted into a film. He also wrote for the HBO series The Wire, which was about police detectives and drug dealers.

Paramount Records, founded in 1917 by a furniture company in Wisconsin, found itself in a curious position by the mid-1920s: it was the leading blues label in America, and selling lots of records. J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, the first black record executive in America, had used his street smarts to attract a number of artists, and his best-seller was Blind Lemon Jefferson. Then, suddenly, Williams quit in 1927. But Paramount's greatest moments were yet to come.

The act, which turned 50 last year, ended the era of legal segregation in public accommodations, like restaurants and hotels. Author Todd Purdum talks about the battles that surrounded it.

Originally broadcast Jan. 20, 2014.

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Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do': Lynsey Addario was taken captive in 2011 while covering Libya's civil war. With a gun to her head, she says she was thinking, "Will I ever get my cameras back?"

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Among the best loved recordings from the 1950s were 15 LPs of Haydn string quartets played by the Schneider Quartet. They originally appeared on the Haydn Society label, but were never reissued on CD until now. Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz has a review.

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In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

"Does this obituary make me look fat?"

David Axelrod recalls the first time he met Barack Obama in 1992 when they had lunch: "I was really impressed by him," he says.

The veteran political consultant was struck that Obama, who had been the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and was highly sought after by big law firms, instead decided to put together a voter registration drive and practice civil rights law at a little firm in Chicago.

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In the existential comedy Birdman, Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a washed-up, insecure actor looking for a second shot at fame and success. He's entirely focused on himself. Keaton says this sort of narcissism — "that constant neediness and insecurity and whininess and me, me, me" — didn't come easily to him.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Lawyer Saul Goodman knows how to bend the law, or break it, depending on his clients' needs. Odenkirk talks about playing the comedic character, and the origins of Saul's comb-over.

Originally broadcast Aug. 6, 2013.

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