Fresh Air

Weekdays at noon and midnight

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

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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." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

After 28 years of hosting late-night shows, O'Brien is moving to HBO. He spoke to Fresh Air in 2019 about getting his start and how late-night TV has changed over the years.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Editor's note: This interview mentions suicidal ideations.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

As coronavirus cases continue to surge both in the U.S. and around the world, there's promising news on the vaccine front.

Hookworm is an intestinal parasite often associated with poor sewage treatment and the developing world. It was long thought to have been eradicated from the United States — until a 2017 study revealed otherwise.

According to the study, more than one in three people in Alabama's Lowndes County tested positive for hookworm infection.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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:

Steve McQueen has made searingly powerful films about historical injustice, from slavery in the American South to a 1981 hunger strike in a Northern Irish prison. But only now has he dramatized the experiences of Black women and men in the U.K., specifically the West Indian neighborhoods of London where he grew up. He clearly has a lot to say: His anthology Small Axe, which he directed and co-wrote, consists of five dramatic films, each one telling a different story set between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Former President Barack Obama still has faith in the American system. Even as his successor, Donald Trump, refuses to acknowledge defeat in the recent presidential election, Obama maintains: "I don't believe democracy's broken."

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Books have always gone to war, serving as comfort and distraction. And oftentimes, the most unexpected books have struck a chord in wartime.

For instance, who would've guessed that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith's 1943 semi-autobiographical novel, would become one of the most popular books among servicemen in World War II, who received it as part of a massive book distribution program?

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Actor Gillian Anderson says lying about her age helped her land the role that first made her famous. Anderson was just 24 — but claimed to be 27 — on her initial audition for the role of Dana Scully, a doctor investigating paranormal phenomena on The X-Files.

"I had no experience whatsoever. I had only ever done a couple of plays and scenes in college," Anderson says. "If [Scully] comes across as being a little bit cocky and at the same time green, it's all real. It's me trying to pretend like I know that I am the person that I say I am."

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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:

Back in 2017, the English writer and director Francis Lee made a wrenching drama, called God's Own Country, that I wish more people had seen. It told the story of two isolated young men on the rugged moors of North Yorkshire, tending a flock of sheep and falling passionately in love — sort of like a British Brokeback Mountain, only a lot more explicit and with a much happier ending.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Presidents typically reserve their most controversial decisions for their last weeks in office, writes my guest, journalist Garrett Graff. He says, so imagine what might happen in a post-election period when Donald Trump, a president who has spent four years demonstrating his lack of interest in norms and practices of a democracy, retains all the powers and authority of the presidency and officially has nothing left to lose.

The poet W.H. Auden once wrote:

Private faces in public places

Are wiser and nicer

Than public faces in private places.

If any TV show bears that out, it's surely The Crown, the endlessly enticing Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II now entering its fourth season.

Food science writer Harold McGee was in the middle of writing Nose Dive, his book about the science of smell, when he woke up one morning and realized that he couldn't smell his own coffee.

Loss of smell has since become associated with COVID-19. In McGee's case, it was the byproduct of a sinus infection. McGee remembers feeling panicked.

Eleven years ago, when she was 24, Katherine Standefer was working as a ski instructor and a climbing teacher in Jackson, Wyo., when she suddenly passed out in a parking lot. She later learned that she has long QT syndrome, a genetic heart condition in which the heart can suddenly quiver instead of rhythmically pumping blood.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the 2019 Women's World Cup finals, when the final whistle blew and the U.S. team stormed the field in celebration, thousands of fans chanted, "Equal pay! Equal Pay!"

The U.S. Women's National Team, co-captained by Megan Rapinoe, has been a symbol of gender equality ever since they filed a lawsuit in March 2019 against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging pay discrimination.

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:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Our guest today, jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant, is one of this year's recipients of a MacArthur Fellowship. She was cited for, quote, "using manifold powers of interpretation to infuse jazz standards and original compositions with a vibrant, global, Black, feminist sensibility," unquote. Her repertoire ranges from jazz standards to forgotten old songs and includes show tunes and originals.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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