Fresh Air

Peter Figen

On the next Fresh Air - for the July 4th holiday, we go deep in our archive for some great American roots music.  We’ll listen back to a 1988 interview with the revered folk and bluegrass guitarist and singer, the late Doc Watson.  And we’ll hear his 1989 Fresh Air concert.


On the next Fresh Air  - Terry talks with rapper, producer, screenwriter and film director Boots Riley.  He’s the son of grassroots activists, and frontman for The Coup, a hip hop band whose members describe themselves as “a revolutionary music collective.”  Riley’s new film Sorry to Bother You, starring Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield, is a social satire inspired by his time as a telemarketer.

Jim Cole / AP

On the next Fresh Air, we remember former Poet laureate Donald Hall, who died Saturday at the age of 89.  Many of his poems were about his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, and his sense of loss when she died. We'll listen back to an excerpt of Terry’s interview with Kenyon and Hall, as well as excerpts of later interviews with Hall, after her death.

Host Terry Gross talks with journalist Alissa Quart, author of the new book Squeezed.  And we hear from Frank Newsome, who sings acapella hymns in a style that’s one of the oldest American music traditions. He’s a former Virginia coal miner who now has black lung disease. Join us. 

Detroit Free Press

On the next Fresh Air the ongoing crisis with contaminated water and lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan. Terry Gross talks with pediatrician and public health advocate Mona Hanna Attisha, about the research that led her to sound the alarm back in 2015.  Nearly three years later, she still doesn’t drink tap water there.  She’s now the director of an initiative to deal with the crisis.

On the next Fresh Air - The secret doomsday plans in case of nuclear attack to maintain the continuity of government.  Terry Gross talks with Garret Graff, author of the book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S, Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die.  It’s now out in paperback.

Terry Gross talks with Vanity Fair writer Emily Jane Fox, who spent the past year investigating Ivanka Trump and her siblings.  Her book Born Trump:  Inside America’s First Family, includes intimate portraits of Trump’s older children, who didn’t expect their father to win the 2016 election.  

On the next Fresh Air – writer Stephen McCauley will talk with Terry about his new novel My Ex Life. It’s a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended 30 years ago when the husband came out of the closet. They pick up their friendship as her marriage crumbles and his boyfriend has left him. Join us.


John Prine talks with Terry about his life and music. His new album, The Tree of Forgiveness, is his first in 13 years.  Prine’s first album came out in 1971, when he was just 24 and working as a mailman.  Several of those songs became classics, including Angel from Montgomery, Sam Stone and Paradise.

Geneva Heffernan /

On the next Fresh Air, Terry interviews Jonathan Olshefski, the director of the documentary Quest, and Chris Rainey, whose family story is told. The film follows Chris and his wife Christina’s lives for nearly a decade. Chris runs a hip-hop studio in their basement in north Philadelphia. Christina worked for years at a homeless shelter. There’s been a lot of shootings in their neighborhood—their daughter got shot in the eye. Quest will be shown on PBS stations on Monday. Join us.

On today’s Fresh Air, sports journalist Howard Bryant. He is a senior writer for, and ESPN the Magazine. He's also a correspondent for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.  His new book is The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.  In light of the current debate over African-American athletes, like Colin Kaepernick, who refuse to stand for the national anthem, Bryant examines the long tradition of athlete-activism that goes back to Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell, Muhammed Ali and others.   Interview by Dave Davies.

New York Times science columnist Carl Zimmer is the author of the new book, She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.   He writes the Matter column for the Times.  He won the Online Journalism Award in 2017 for his series of articles in which he explored his genome.  He is the author of 13 books including, A Planet of Viruses. 

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

On today’s Fresh Air, actor Nick Offerman.  He's co-starring in the new film Hearts Beat Loud, playing a single father who starts a band with his daughter before she heads off to college.  Offerman became well known for his role as Ron Swanson, the macho libertarian on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which he received the Television Critics Association Award for individual achievement in Comedy.   He also had a part in the film The Founder, and played Karl Weathers in the FX series Fargo.  Offerman is married to actress Megan Mullally who co-stars in Will & Grace.

On today’s Fresh Air, Clint Watts worked for the US Army and the FBI in counterintelligence but says he’s done some of his best work as a private citizen, on social media with a home computer and credit cards. He’s tracked jihadists and Russian actors meddling in American politics, and he testified to Congress on how to strengthen American Democracy.

His book is called Messing with the Enemy.

Andre Chung /

On today’s Fresh Air, former White House staffer Ben Rhodes.  He was a speechwriter, and deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He’s written a memoir about his eight years in the White House called The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House. He talks about some intense moments with the President including the response to the Arab Spring and the controversy surrounding the Bengazi attack. He also talks about the 2016 election and President Obama’s reaction to Donald Trump’s victory.

Ben King / Courtesy of HBO

Novelist Tom Perrotta’s book Mrs. Fletcher, now out in paperback, is about how a single mother and her son are both transformed when he goes off to college. Perrotta’s previous novels Election and Little Children were both adapted to film.  His book The Leftovers, about the people left behind after many others have instantly disappeared in what may or may not be the Rapture, was adapted into a popular HBO series.

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.  

Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.  

Hear Fresh Air weekdays at 4:00 pm on KRCB-FM. (Fresh Air also repeats Tuesday through Friday at 12:00 am!)