Podcast

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.

Episodes

  • Best Of: Dave Grohl / Will Smith

    Nov 27 2021

    Grohl talks about his journey from playing small punk clubs to giant stadiums in his new memoir, 'The Storyteller.' He reflects on how he taught himself drums, his friendship with Kurt Cobain, and reinventing himself after Cobain's death with Foo Fighters.Also, Justin Chang reviews the new Jane Campion movie 'The Power of the Dog.' And Smith speaks with guest interviewer Tonya Mosley about how he crafted a joyful image to cover up for a trauma that happened when he was 9. He saw his father beat ...more

  • Stanley Tucci / Julia Child

    Nov 26 2021

    With Thanksgiving, the season of cooking, eating, and getting together has begun. Tucci has published two cookbooks and hosted a CNN series about regional cuisine in Italy. Now he has a new memoir, 'Taste,' about his experiences with good food and cooking. Also, the one and only Julia Child, recorded in 2009.Finally, Justin Chang reviews the new Paul Thomas Anderson movie 'Licorice Pizza.'

  • Sir Paul McCartney

    Nov 25 2021

    Paul McCartney talks about his life through some of his songs. His new two-volume book collects his lyrics and the stories behind them. We'll also talk about the new documentary, 'Get Back,' which has previously unseen footage from the period The Beatles wrote, rehearsed and recorded the songs on their album 'Let it Be.' The album was released just after The Beatles broke up.

  • Dave Grohl On Nirvana & Foo Fighters

    Nov 24 2021

    Grohl talks about his journey from playing small punk clubs to giant stadiums in his new memoir, 'The Storyteller.' He reflects on how he taught himself drums, his friendship with Kurt Cobain, and reinventing himself after Cobain's death. "I was heartbroken," he says. "I didn't really know if I ever wanted to play music again, until I realized that music was the one thing that had healed me my entire life." Grohl joined us from his studio, and also played a few songs.

  • Remembering 'Schoolhouse Rock!' Songwriter Dave Frishberg

    Nov 23 2021

    Frishberg was a prolific jazz composer, lyricist, and vocalist, best known for his songs on the series 'Schoolhouse Rock!,' such as "I'm Just a Bill." He died Nov. 17 at age 88. Many of his songs were witty, including "I'm Hip" and "My Attorney Bernie." But he also wrote beautiful ballads, like "Heart's Desire" and "You are There." Frishberg came to the 'Fresh Air' studio in 1998 to play some of his songs and talk about them.

  • Former Gun Industry Insider On His Battle Against The NRA

    Nov 22 2021

    'Gunfight' author Ryan Busse was once a rising star in the gun industry. But he became disillusioned after Columbine when, he says, the NRA began to use "fear and conspiracy and hatred" to bolster sales. Busse talks about turning points within the NRA and his career, and the state of the industry today. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Sinner and the Saint,' a new book about experiences in Dostoyevsky's life that led to his classic novel 'Crime and Punishment.'

  • Best Of: Dogsledder Blair Braverman / '1619 Project' Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones

    Nov 20 2021

    Writer Blair Braverman takes us inside the world of dog mushing. Braverman and her racing partner / husband Quince Mountain have a book, 'Dogs on the Trail,' that profiles their team of Alaskan huskies. We talk about the Iditarod race and her experience on the Discovery reality show 'Naked and Afraid.'We also talk with Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the '1619 Project,' marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, when a ship carrying enslaved Africans landed in the Briti...more

  • Choreographer Twyla Tharp / Photographer Gordon Parks

    Nov 19 2021

    Twyla Tharp is one of the most celebrated and innovative dancers and choreographers of our time. Her work combines ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, and other dance forms in a way that was initially considered radical. She's the subject of a recent PBS 'American Masters' documentary. Also, we revisit our interview with Gordon Parks, the photographer who chronicled the Black experience in 'Life' magazine. He also was the first Black director of a Hollywood film. He's the subject of a new documenta...more

  • Why The Autocrats Are Winning

    Nov 18 2021

    Historian and 'Atlantic' journalist Anne Applebaum talks about how authoritarian rulers have joined together, creating a network of economic and political support that counteracts the impact of sanctions, while suppressing the spread of democracy. Also, John Powers reviews HBO Max's comedy series 'Sort Of.'

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones On 'The 1619 Project'

    Nov 17 2021

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says the contributions of Black people are often left out of the American story. Her mission, with 'The 1619 Project,' is to reframe U.S. history through the lens of slavery. She spoke with contributor Arun Venugopal about the project, the term "woke," and how she handles the backlash to her work. David Bianculli reviews the IFC documentary 'Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time.'

  • Dogsledder Blair Braverman

    Nov 16 2021

    Braverman says you never ask a musher how many dogs they have, because between puppies, fosters and retirees, you'll never get a straight answer. "The secret" she says, "is to ask, 'How many dogs are you feeding?'" For Braverman, that number right now is 24. Braverman and her racing partner / husband Quince Mountain have a book, 'Dogs on the Trail,' that profiles their team of Alaskan huskies. We talk about the Iditarod race, her dogs' personalities, and her experience on the Discovery reality s...more

  • Dawn Turner On Race, Fate & Sisterhood

    Nov 15 2021

    How do two sisters, just 3 years apart, take extremely divergent paths in life? That's the story Dawn Turner tells in her new memoir, 'Three Girls of Bronzeville.' Turner grew up to be an author and a columnist at The 'Chicago Tribune.' Her sister Kim died of chronic alcoholism at age 24. Turner's childhood best friend Debra was convicted of murder and served over 20 years in prison. Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Belfast,' Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical film about growing up in Nor...more

  • Best Of: Andie MacDowell / Gary Shteyngart

    Nov 13 2021

    Actor Andie MacDowell co-stars opposite her daughter Margaret Qualley in the Netflix series 'Maid.' We talk about how her own mother's struggle with alcohol addiction and mental illness helped her understand her character, as well as her early films, like 'Groundhog Day' and 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape.'Maureen Corrigan reviews Louise Erdrich's new book, 'The Sentence.' Gary Shteyngart's new novel, 'Our Country Friends,' is about a group of eight friends who hole up in the country home of a Russia...more

  • Remembering Vietnam Veteran & Former Senator Max Cleland

    Nov 12 2021

    We remember former Georgia senator Max Cleland, the Vietnam War vet and triple amputee who rebuilt his life after the war, but later lost his Senate seat when Republicans, led by Karl Rove, questioned his patriotism. Cleland died Tuesday at the age of 79.Also, we talk about the battle to keep independent local journalism alive in small-town America. A new PBS documentary profiles 'The Storm Lake Times,' which serves a rural community in northwest Iowa. We hear from the editor, Art Cullen.Justin ...more

  • A Marine Reflects On War, Love & Finding Purpose

    Nov 11 2021

    Elliot Ackerman served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which time, he says, he witnessed the absolute worst — as well as the absolute best — that human beings are capable of. Ackerman is also a journalist, novelist, memoirist and National Book Award nominee. This Veterans Day we talk about the lure of war, how war gave him a sense of purpose, the fear and heartbreak that went along with it, and the search for meaning when he stopped fighting. His Silver Star is for leading a platoon i...more

  • Will Smith

    Nov 10 2021

    The blockbuster movie star, comedian and musician spoke with guest interviewer Tonya Mosley about how he crafted a joyful image to cover up for a trauma that happened when he was 9. He saw his father beat his mother. He reflects on how that moment has impacted his life, how he and his family have worked through this history, and his own parenting style. He has a new memoir called 'Will.' Also, podcast critic Nick Quah reviews Spotify's 'Music + Talk.'

  • The Impact Of Trump's 3 Supreme Court Picks

    Nov 09 2021

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse says the new Court has given conservatives less than they'd hoped for, though critical cases on abortion and other issues are still pending. Her book is 'Justice on the Brink.'Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Louise Erdrich's new novel, 'The Sentence.'

  • Andie MacDowell

    Nov 08 2021

    MacDowell co-stars opposite her daughter Margaret Qualley in the Netflix series 'Maid.' We talk about how her own mother's struggle with alcohol addiction and mental illness helped her understand her character, her early films (like 'Groundhog Day' and 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape'), and embracing her wrinkles and gray hair. Also, David Bianculli reviews 'Dexter: New Blood' on Showtime.

  • Best Of: Paul McCartney / Filmmaker Edgar Wright

    Nov 06 2021

    Paul McCartney talks about his life through some of his songs. His new two-volume book collects his lyrics and the stories behind them. We'll also talk about the new documentary, 'Get Back,' which has previously unseen footage from the period The Beatles wrote, rehearsed and recorded the songs on their album 'Let it Be.' The album was released just after The Beatles broke up.TV critic David Bianculli reviews the revival of Dexter, called 'Dexter: New Blood.'Edgar Wright, director of 'Baby Drive...more

  • British Actor Terence Stamp

    Nov 05 2021

    Terence Stamp, who became an icon in London in the 1960s, is now in the film 'Last Night in Soho,' a ghost story that takes place, in part, in '60s swinging London. Stamp grew up in poverty in London and was one of the first working class British actors to make it in theatre. He's known for his film roles in 'Billy Budd,' 'Far From the Madding Crowd,' and 'The Collector,' as well as '90s films like 'The Limey' and 'Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.' Terry Gross talked with him in 200...more

  • Before, During & After The Jan. 6 Attack On The Capitol

    Nov 04 2021

    Why did our intelligence agencies — the FBI, the Capitol Police, the Secret Service — all fail to protect the Capitol from being attacked on January 6th? We talk with Carol Leonnig, a 'Washington Post' National Investigative Correspondent, who contributed to this week's three part series in the 'Post' investigating what happened before, during and after the Capitol siege. She'll tell us how Trump froze in place key federal agencies whose job it was to investigate and stop threats to national se...more

  • Paul McCartney

    Nov 03 2021

    The 1969 film 'Let It Be' created the impression that McCartney was responsible for The Beatles' disbanding. Now, the forthcoming Disney+ documentary 'Get Back' revisits the same time — and tells a different story. McCartney spoke with Terry Gross about his songwriting process with John Lennon, the early years of Beatlemania, and how the band broke up. He also has a new book called 'The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present.'

  • Gary Shteyngart On His Pandemic Novel

    Nov 02 2021

    There's the saying "write what you know," and Gary Shteyngart did just that. His new novel, 'Our Country Friends' is about a group of eight friends who hole up in the country home of a Russian-born writer. He drew on his experience of his pandemic pod for the book. We'll also talk about his work as a consultant on the HBO series 'Succession,' and the botched circumcision that left him with debilitating pain. Maureen Corrigan reviews 'My Monticello' by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.

  • Filmmaker Edgar Wright On 'Last Night in Soho'

    Nov 01 2021

    Wright's new movie, 'Last Night in Soho,' centers on a young woman who is transported in her dreams into the swinging '60s of London: "The film is sort of about having nostalgia for a decade that you never lived in." Wright spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger about the soundtrack, his vision of the '60s, and working with late actress Diana Rigg. Justin Chang reviews 'The Souvenir Part II.'

  • Best Of: Oscar Isaac / Katie Couric

    Oct 30 2021

    Oscar Isaac stars in the latest Paul Schrader movie, 'The Card Counter,' co-starred with Jessica Chastain in HBO's limited series 'Scenes from a Marriage,' and now is one of the stars of 'Dune.' We'll talk about growing up in an evangelical Christian family that was preparing for the apocalypse and how the death of his mother was quickly followed by the birth of his first child. John Powers reviews the new documentary 'The Velvet Underground.'Former 'Today Show' anchor Katie Couric spoke with Te...more

  • Ricky Jay / Remembering Peter Scolari

    Oct 29 2021

    This week Sotheby's auctioned off The Ricky Jay collection — a portion of the rare books, posters, and objects chronicling the world of magic, carnivals and eccentric characters — which the master sleight-of-hand artist had collected over his life. We're revisiting portions of our interviews with Ricky Jay. Also, we remember comic actor Peter Scolari, best-known for his roles in the 1980s TV sitcoms 'Bosom Buddies,' opposite Tom Hanks, and 'Newhart,' with Bob Newhart. Scolari died last week at t...more

  • The Capitol Insurrection & Why Our Democracy Is In Peril

    Oct 28 2021

    Robert Costa's book 'Peril,' which he co-wrote with Bob Woodward, goes inside Trump's "war room" on the eve of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Costa reports on Trump's calls to his team, the tension between Pence and the president, and the ongoing threat to our democracy. The strategy of calling for an alternate slate of electors didn't work in January, but next election it might. "Imagine if in January 2025 Republicans are much more organized and they have alternate slates of electors ready in many st...more

  • Inside The Attica Prison Uprising

    Oct 27 2021

    A new documentary goes behind the walls of the deadly 1971 uprising. More than a thousand prisoners organized to overtake the notorious prison, hold guards hostage, and use them as a bargaining chip to get better living conditions. Filmmaker Stanley Nelson and former prisoner Arthur Harrison reflect on the five-day revolt, and its lasting legacy. The film is 'Attica.' Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Skyline,' an album featuring trio Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jack DeJohnette and Ron Carter.

  • Katie Couric

    Oct 26 2021

    The former 'Today Show' anchor spoke with Terry Gross about her early career in news, the allegations against her former co-anchor Matt Lauer, and why she's done trying to appeal to everyone. "My goal in life isn't to please people anymore. ... I think if you're just likable, you're not very interesting," she says. Her new memoir is 'Going There.' Also, Ken Tucker reviews a new collection of Beach Boys tracks called 'Feel Flows.'

  • Actor Jonathan Majors

    Oct 25 2021

    Majors was nominated for an Emmy this year for his role in the HBO series, 'Lovecraft Country.' He co-starred in 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco,' the Spike Lee film 'Da 5 Bloods,' and the Marvel TV series 'Loki.' Now, he's starring in the Jay-Z-produced Western, 'The Harder They Fall,' featuring an all-Black cast. Majors talks with NPR's Audie Cornish about being raised by a single mother who was a preacher, what he learned studying Shakespeare and August Wilson, and his thoughts on two be...more

  • Best Of: Billy Porter / Cynthia Erivo

    Oct 23 2021

    Billy Porter has an Emmy for his starring role on 'Pose,' and a Tony for his lead role in the Broadway musical 'Kinky Boots.' Fourteen years after his initial diagnosis, Porter announced publicly that he is HIV-positive. He says being open about his health status felt like a rebirth: "I set myself free, honey. No more secrets." His new memoir is 'Unprotected.'Cynthia Erivo was nominated for an Oscar for playing Harriet Tubman in the film 'Harriet.' She played Aretha Franklin in the series 'Geniu...more

  • Lenny Kravitz On His Early Years

    Oct 22 2021

    Kravitz talks about growing up the son of a Jewish father and Black mother, finding his musical style, and how Lisa Bonet changed him as a songwriter. His memoir about his life up until his breakout album is 'Let Love Rule.'Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Dune.'

  • Oscar Isaac

    Oct 21 2021

    The actor is now starring in 'Dune,' 'The Card Counter' and 'Scenes from a Marriage.' We talk about his latest projects, grief and fatherhood, and his evangelical Christian upbringing. "We grew up with a very, very real sense of the impending doom of the apocalypse," he says.

  • Remembering YA Author Gary Paulsen

    Oct 20 2021

    The Newbery Award-winning author, who died Oct. 13, wrote over 200 books, many of which were tales of adventure aimed at young adults. In 1994, Paulsen talked about Alaska's Iditarod dog sled race.Also, John Powers reviews Todd Haynes' documentary about The Velvet Underground.

  • Billy Porter On His New Memoir 'Unprotected'

    Oct 19 2021

    Porter has an Emmy for his starring role on 'Pose,' and a Tony for his lead role in the Broadway musical 'Kinky Boots.' Fourteen years after his initial diagnosis, Porter announced publicly that he is HIV-positive. He says being open about his health status felt like a rebirth: "I set myself free, honey. No more secrets." His new memoir is 'Unprotected.'

  • Actress And Singer Cynthia Erivo / Remembering Colin Powell

    Oct 18 2021

    Erivo was nominated for an Oscar for playing Harriet Tubman in the film 'Harriet.' She played Aretha Franklin in the series 'Genius: Aretha.' She won a Tony for her performance in 'The Color Purple.' Now she has a debut album, 'Ch. 1 Vs. 1.' "I sing often with a bit of a smile," she says.Also, we remember Colin Powell, who died Oct. 18 at age 84. Powell was the U.S.'s first Black national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state. He spoke with Terry Gross i...more

  • Best Of: Questlove / Tuba Player Richard Antoine White

    Oct 16 2021

    In his new book, 'Music is History,' Roots co-founder Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson moves year-by-year through his life, writing about memories and turning points, and the songs he was listening to at the time.Richard Antoine White spent his early childhood in poverty in Baltimore, at times sleeping in abandoned houses. He's now principal tubist in the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic. He recounts his triumph over adversity in a new memoir called 'I'm Possible.'

  • 'Maid' Author Stephanie Land

    Oct 15 2021

    Stephanie Land's memoir, 'Maid,' is about her struggle to make ends meet as a single mom while cleaning houses and relying on government assistance. Land, who left an abusive relationship and was homeless, talks about how she got out of poverty, went back to school and pursued writing. Her book was adapted into a Netflix series, streaming now.

  • Pandora Papers, Explained

    Oct 14 2021

    Dictators, oligarchs, drug traffickers, crooks, and others with ill-gotten fortunes can hide their money from public scrutiny, creditors, and from the law — while at the same time avoid paying taxes. How? By stashing the wealth in opaque, complicated financial instruments in other countries. It's called offshoring. We talk with 'Washington Post' reporter Greg Miller about what the some 12 million documents of the Pandora Papers tell us about these hidden assets.

  • Tubist Richard Antoine White's Unlikely Path To The Stage

    Oct 13 2021

    Richard Antoine White spent his early childhood in poverty in Baltimore, at times sleeping in abandoned houses. He's now principal tubist in the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic. He recounts his triumph over adversity in a new memoir called 'I'm Possible.'

  • Questlove On The Soundtrack Of His Life

    Oct 12 2021

    In his new book, 'Music is History,' Roots co-founder Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson moves year-by-year through his life, writing about memories and turning points, and the songs he was listening to at the time.

  • Inside The Thailand Cave Rescue

    Oct 11 2021

    In June 2018, the world held its breath for 18 days as a group of elite cave divers risked everything to rescue 12 boys and their coach from an underwater cave in Thailand. The Oscar-winning filmmakers ('Free Solo') Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi secured hours of never-before-seen footage from the underwater rescue. The filmmakers and diver Rick Stanton spoke about how an expert team of cave divers, Thai Navy SEALs and an international group of special service members and volunteers pulled off ...more

  • Best Of: The World Of Film Noir / Stanley Tucci

    Oct 09 2021

    Eddie Muller hosts the TCM series 'Noir Alley.' A new expanded edition of his book, 'Dark City,' chronicles film noir from the '40s and '50s. We talk about the sexiness of the genre and why film noir flourished in the post-WWII era.David Bianculli reviews the Sopranos prequel film, 'The Many Saints of Newark.'Stanley Tucci's entire world, since childhood, has revolved around food. The actor was devastated when treatment for cancer put him on a feeding tube for six months. Now cancer free, his se...more

  • Nick Lowe In Concert

    Oct 08 2021

    Lowe's 2001 album 'The Convincer,' considered by many fans and critics to be his best, has now been remastered and reissued. We listen back to his performances and interviews in our studio from 2001 and 2011. Lowe's best known songs include "Cruel To Be Kind" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" which Elvis Costello made famous.Critic Justin Chang reviews 'No Time to Die,' the fifth and final film starring Daniel Craig as James Bond.

  • Life In Afghanistan Now

    Oct 07 2021

    Award-winning Afghan British journalist Najibullah Quraishi is on the ground in Kabul where he has been interviewing Taliban leaders and fighters, women who have lost their rights, and citizens trying to escape. He believes that the country is on the brink of civil war. Quraishi is the correspondent for the forthcoming Frontline PBS documentary, 'Taliban Takeover.'

  • Fiona Hill, Former White House Russia Expert & Key Witness

    Oct 06 2021

    Hill was a key witness at President Trump's first impeachment hearing. Now she's warning about the threat to American democracy that comes from within. We talk about her testimony, advising Trump on calls with Putin, and why she believes America is headed towards autocracy. Her memoir is 'There is Nothing For You Here.'

  • Stanley Tucci

    Oct 05 2021

    Tucci's entire world, since childhood, has revolved around food. The actor was devastated when treatment for cancer put him on a feeding tube for six months. Now cancer free, his sense of small and taste is stronger than before. Tucci's new memoir about his life and food is 'Taste.' David Bianculli reviews the 'Sopranos' prequel, 'The Many Saints of Newark.'

  • The Lost World Of Film Noir

    Oct 04 2021

    Eddie Muller hosts the TCM series 'Noir Alley.' A new expanded edition of his book, 'Dark City,' chronicles film noir from the '40s and '50s. We talk about the femme fatale, the sexiness of the genre, and why film noir flourished in the post-WWII era. Kevin Whitehead reviews a live recording by jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan.

  • Best Of: Anita Hill / Ben Platt

    Oct 02 2021

    It's been 30 years since the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, where Anita HIll testified he'd sexually harassed her. We'll talk about the hearings, and how they changed her life.Her memoir is 'Believing.' Also we talk with Ben Platt, star of the hit broadway musical 'Dear Evan Hansen' and of the new film adaptation. Platt plays a high school senior overcome by his insecurities and social anxiety. We'll talk about going back to the role and separating his own anxieties from those plaguing h...more

  • Remembering Melvin Van Peebles, Godfather of Black Film

    Oct 01 2021

    Melvin Van Peebles, considered the Godfather of Black cinema, died last week. He's best known for his 1971 film, 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.' We listen back to archival interviews with Peebles and his son Mario. And we remember Bishop John Shelby Spong, who died earlier this month. In 1977, he became one of the first American bishops to ordain a woman into the clergy. In 1989, he was the first to ordain an openly gay man. David Bianculli reviews the new Netflix series 'Maid.'