948 episodes

Fresh Air

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On the morning of Feb. 20, 1962, about 100,000 spectators gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the launch of the Friendship 7, the United States’ first mission to put an astronaut in orbit around the Earth. Historian Jeff Shesol says there was real fear that astronaut John Glenn wouldn’t survive the day. We talk with Shesol about the early days of NASA, and how the Cold War pushed the U.S. space program to its limits. His book is ‘Mercury Rising.’

David Bianculli reviews the Disney+ series ‘Loki’ starring Tom Hiddleston.

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Jun 08, 2021

Race, Sexuality & The Deadly ‘Kissing Bug’

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When Daisy Hernández was 5, her aunt in Colombia came down with a mysterious illness that caused her large intestine to swell. Hernandez details her aunt’s story — and her own — in a new memoir.

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Jun 07, 2021

Rita Moreno

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Moreno moved to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico as a child. She says her ‘West Side Story’ role is “the only part I ever remember where I represented Hispanics in a dignified and positive way.” We talk about some of the racism and sexism she experienced in Hollywood, her relationship with Marlon Brando, and why she’s happier than ever now at 89 years old. Moreno is an EGOT, a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

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In 1990, Yusef Salaam was one of the five boys wrongly convicted in the so-called Central Park jogger case. Salaam spent nearly seven years behind bars and wasn’t exonerated until 2002, when a serial rapist confessed to the crime. Salaam tells his story in his memoir ‘Better, Not Bitter.’

Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews ‘Black to the Future’ by Shabaka Hutchings and the Sons of Kemet.

In ‘How the Word is Passed,’ writer and poet Clint Smith visits eight places central to the history of slavery in America, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation and Louisiana’s Angola prison. “This history that we are told was so long ago wasn’t, in fact, that long ago at all,” he says.

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Jun 04, 2021

Producing The Philly Sound

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We hear from songwriter, arranger and producer Thom Bell. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records. Among the songs he arranged were Joe Simon’s “Drowning in the Sea of Love,” and “Back Stabbers” by The O’Jays. Bell is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He also wrote and arranged for The Stylistics, The Spinners, and The Delfonics. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2006.

Also, Justin Chang reviews the horror movie ‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ the sequel to John Krasinski’s 2018 film.

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‘Time’ investigative correspondent Simon Shuster says that Andriy Derkach, a seven-term member of the Ukrainian parliament, and widely believed to be a Russian agent, gave misleading information to Rudy Giuliani to discredit Biden during the 2020 campaign. Derkach and Giuliani are both under investigation by federal prosecutors in the U.S.

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Jun 02, 2021

The Racist Roots Of The 2nd Amendment

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Carol Anderson says the Second Amendment was designed to ensure slave owners could quickly crush any rebellion or resistance from those they’d enslaved. “One of the things that I argue throughout this book is that it is just being Black that is the threat. And so when you mix that being Black as the threat with bearing arms, it’s an exponential fear,” she says. “This isn’t an anti-gun or a pro-gun book. This is a book about African Americans’ rights.” Anderson’s new book is ‘The Second.’

Ken Tucker reviews the album ‘Outside Child’ by Allison Russell.

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Jun 01, 2021

Reckoning With The History Of Slavery

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In ‘How the Word is Passed,’ writer and poet Clint Smith visits eight places central to the history of slavery in America, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation and Louisiana’s Angola prison. “We are taught that the history of slavery is something that happened almost like when there were dinosaurs,” he says. But Smith notes that his grandfather’s grandfather was enslaved — and that “this history that we are told was so long ago wasn’t, in fact, that long ago at all.”

Maureen Corrigan reviews two thriller novels: Chris Power’s ‘A Lonely Man’ and Jean Hanff Korelitz’s nightmare of a thriller ‘The Plot.’

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4.6
Total: 5
KH
Kellie Harper
Dec 26, 2019

Nice job! It was really cool story!

DT
Doron Tamari
Dec 19, 2019

LW
Leah Weiss
Dec 16, 2019

AR
Alan Ragus
Dec 12, 2019

MG
Michael Goland
Dec 09, 2019

The guest are awesome and diverse. Even if you haven't listened in a while, you can always go back through their catalog of episodes and find a good interview.

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.