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Fresh Air

Podcasts | Fresh Air

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 5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 624 NPR stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network. In 2015, Fresh Air was the No. 1 most downloaded podcast on iTunes.

Fresh Air latest podcasts.

Best Of: Novelist Rumaan Alam / 'My Octopus Teacher' Filmmaker

Listen to Best Of: Novelist Rumaan Alam / 'My Octopus Teacher' FilmmakerRumaan Alam's novel, 'Leave the World Behind,' centers on two families — one Black and one white — who are sharing a vacation home during a mysterious disaster. It explores issues of race and class, fear, and how we respond to crisis.

Ken Tucker reviews a new deluxe edition of Prince's masterpiece 'Sign O' The Times.'

Craig Foster spent a year diving — without oxygen or a wetsuit — into the frigid sea near Cape Town, South Africa. One octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster watched. He documents their unlikely friendship in 'My Octopus Teacher,' now on Netflix.

SCOTUS Correspondent Nina Totenberg

Listen to SCOTUS Correspondent Nina TotenbergNina Totenberg is widely regarded as the dean of legal journalists. She started covering the Supreme court in 1971 and became NPR's legal correspondent in 1975. We talk about breaking the Anita Hill story, her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her early career as a pioneer for women in journalism. This conversation was recorded from a live Zoom event for WHYY.

Novelist Sigrid Nunez

Listen to Novelist Sigrid NunezNunez's new novel, 'What Are You Going Through,' is about facing mortality and the relationship between a writer dying of cancer and the friend she asks to stay with her.

Lloyd Schwartz reviews a collection of performances by Leontyne Price, the first Black soprano to have a major career at the Metropolitan Opera. And John Powers reviews the Netflix miniseries 'The Queen's Gambit.'

Free Speech In The Age Of Disinformation

Listen to Free Speech In The Age Of Disinformation'New York Times Magazine' writer Emily Bazelon talks about how the lies and conspiracy theories sweeping through American media are leading some scholars to question our faith in free speech and in minimal government regulation of speech. Bazelon says false content moves through the Internet unchecked — undermining the political process along the way.

Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'El Duelo.'

John Brown, Abraham Lincoln & The Fight To End Slavery

Listen to John Brown, Abraham Lincoln & The Fight To End SlaveryHistorian H.W. Brands' new book, 'The Zealot and the Emancipator' looks at two very different 19th century leaders, John Brown and Abraham Lincoln. Brown was a militant abolitionist who embraced violence and was hanged after he tried to spark an insurrection at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. President Lincoln resisted conflict as long as possible, hoping laws and reason would keep Southern states in the Union, and eventually bring an end to human bondage.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Martin Eden,' an adaptation of the Jack London novel.

Best Of: Broadway Stars Danny Burstein & Rebecca Luker / 'Nice White Parents' Creator

Listen to Best Of: Broadway Stars Danny Burstein & Rebecca Luker / 'Nice White Parents' CreatorMarried Broadway stars Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker both contracted COVID in the spring, just as theaters went dark. Burstein was starring in 'Moulin Rouge' at the time. Burstein's case was severe and he nearly died. Luker's case was mild, but it came soon after she had been diagnosed with ALS. They talk with Terry Gross about how their illnesses have changed their lives and careers, and their hopes for the future.

Also, John Powers reviews 'David Byrne's American Utopia' on HBO, directed by Spike Lee.

'This American Life' producer Chana Joffe-Walt says progressive white parents may say they want their kids to go to diverse schools — but the reality tells a different story. "I think white parents are pretty savvy at evading the explicit conversation around race, although it's clearly shaping our thoughts about schools." She examines the complicated history of gentrification in a Brooklyn school in her new podcast, 'Nice White Parents.' It's a production of 'Serial' and 'The New York Times.'

How Women Have Been Left Out Of The Constitution / Remembering MLB's Joe Morgan

Listen to How Women Have Been Left Out Of The Constitution / Remembering MLB's Joe MorganAs a teen, Heidi Schreck debated the Constitution in competitions. Later she realized it had failed to protect four generations of women in her family. "I believed it was perfect. I believed it was a tool of justice. I did not realize as a 15-year-old girl how profoundly I had been left out of it. I didn't realize that it didn't protect me," Schreck says. Her award-winning Broadway play, 'What the Constitution Means to Me,' is now streaming on Amazon.

Also, we remember Joe Morgan, one of the few second-basemen to make it into baseball's Hall of Fame. He died Oct. 11 at the age of 77. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1993.

'My Octopus Teacher' Filmmaker

Listen to 'My Octopus Teacher' FilmmakerCraig Foster spent a year diving — without oxygen or a wetsuit — into the frigid sea near Cape Town, South Africa. One octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster watched. He documents their unlikely friendship in 'My Octopus Teacher,' now on Netflix.

Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the Netflix film, 'The Trial of the Chicago 7,' written by Aaron Sorkin.

2 Broadway Stars Grapple With Illness And Uncertainty

Listen to 2 Broadway Stars Grapple With Illness And UncertaintyMarried Broadway stars Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker both contracted COVID in the spring, just as theaters went dark. Burstein was starring in 'Moulin Rouge' at the time. Burstein's case was severe and he nearly died. Luker's case was mild, but it came soon after she had been diagnosed with ALS. They talk with Terry Gross about how their illnesses have changed their lives and careers, and their hopes for the future.

Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World

Listen to Lessons For A Post-Pandemic WorldCNN host and 'Washington Post' columnist Fareed Zakaria says COVID-19 presents a chance to make positive changes: "We could well look back on these times 10 or 20 years from now and say, 'This was the turning point.'" His new book, 'Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World' examines the way COVID-19 will change everything from our trust in government to our relationship with technology.

Also, John Powers reviews 'David Byrne's American Utopia' on HBO, directed by Spike Lee.

How 'Nice White Parents' Can Undermine School Integration

Listen to How 'Nice White Parents' Can Undermine School Integration'This American Life' producer Chana Joffe-Walt says progressive white parents may say they want their kids to go to diverse schools — but the reality tells a different story. "I think white parents are pretty savvy at evading the explicit conversation around race, although it's clearly shaping our thoughts about schools." She examines the complicated history of gentrification in a Brooklyn school in her new podcast, 'Nice White Parents.' It's a production of 'Serial' and 'The New York Times.'

Also, Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Private Lives' from Philly band Low Cut Connie.

Best Of: Ethan Hawke / Lenny Kravitz

Listen to Best Of: Ethan Hawke / Lenny KravitzEthan Hawke plays 19th-century abolitionist John Brown in the seven-part Showtime series, 'The Good Lord Bird.' He says Brown's story feels particularly relevant today, as America confronts systemic racism and the legacy of slavery. Also, Justin Chang reviews the film 'The Forty-Year-Old Version.' Lenny Kravitz talks about growing up the son of a Jewish father and Black mother. His new memoir about his life up until his breakout album is 'Let Love Rule.'

Remembering MLB Pitcher Bob Gibson

Listen to Remembering MLB Pitcher Bob GibsonWe remember Bob Gibson, one of baseball's most intimidating pitchers. He dominated hitters from the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s and '70s and he holds the record for most strikeouts — 17 — in a World Series game. Gibson died last week at the age of 84. First we'll listen back to Terry's 1994 interview with Gibson when he had just published his memoir. Then, in our 2009 interview with Gibson and Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson, we hear him talk about the classic confrontation between the player at the plate and one on the mound.

Justin Chang reviews two new documentaries, 'Totally Under Control' and 'Time.' The former is about the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic; the latter chronicles the impact of long-term incarceration on one family.

The State Of The Affordable Care Act

Listen to The State Of The Affordable Care ActAs President Trump recovers from COVID-19 and candidates debate the issue of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, we take stock of the nation's health care system. We talk with the 'New York Times' health policy reporter Sarah Kliff about the state of the Affordable Care Act, after 10 years of legal assaults and attempts in Congress to repeal the law. "Republicans have been trying to drive a stake into the heart of Obamacare pretty much since it was passed," Kliff says.

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'General Semantics,' by the trio Geof Bradfield, Ben Goldberg and Dana Hall.

Novelist Rumaan Alam

Listen to Novelist Rumaan AlamAlam's novel, 'Leave the World Behind,' centers on two families — one Black and one white — who are sharing a vacation home during a mysterious disaster. It explores issues of race and class, fear, and how we respond to crisis. We'll also talk about Alam's upbringing as the son of Bengali immigrants and why he has hope about his children's generation.

Lenny Kravitz

Listen to Lenny KravitzKravitz 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 new memoir about his life up until his breakout album is 'Let Love Rule.'

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Searcher,' a suspenseful crime novel by Tana French.

Ethan Hawke

Listen to Ethan HawkeHawke plays 19th-century abolitionist John Brown in the seven-part Showtime series, 'The Good Lord Bird.' He says Brown's story feels particularly relevant today, as America confronts systemic racism and the legacy of slavery. We also talk about 'Training Day,' collaborating with filmmaker Richard Linklater, and how stage fright made him a better actor.

Best Of: What If Trump Contests The Election? / Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson

Listen to Best Of: What If Trump Contests The Election? / Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson'Atlantic' staff writer Barton Gellman says if President Trump claims mail-in votes are fraudulent and contests the results, Republican legislatures might then try to ignore their states' popular votes and send Trump representatives to the Electoral College. His latest article is 'The Election That Could Break America.'

Kevin Whitehead reviews the first album from an all-star band of jazz women, called Artemis.

After filmmaker Kirsten Johnson's father started showing signs of dementia, she had a hard time accepting that his death was getting closer. Her new Netflix film, 'Dick Johnson is Dead,' enacts his death from a series of imagined accidents.

A Cave Diver On The Thrill & Terror Of Going 'Into The Planet'

Listen to A Cave Diver On The Thrill & Terror Of Going 'Into The Planet'Diver and photographer Jill Heinerth shares some of her most dangerous and exhilarating experiences underwater — like getting trapped inside an iceberg in Antarctica. Heinerth also explains how she stays calm when things go wrong: "I take a really deep breath and try and slow my heart, slow my breathing, and then just focus on pragmatic small steps," she says. Her book is 'Into the Planet.'

David Bianculli reviews the Showtime documentary series 'The Comedy Store,' about the iconic comedy club.

What Happens If Trump Contests the Election?

Listen to What Happens If Trump Contests the Election?'Atlantic' writer Barton Gellman says the 2020 election could trigger a constitutional crisis, and if the election is close, it could take weeks to determine the results in key battleground states as mail-in ballots are scrutinized for technical flaws and counted. If President Trump cries fraud and his supporters take to the streets, state legislatures could resolve to set aside the popular vote in their states and choose their own partisan delegations to the Electoral College. "This is not going to be a normal election. ... Preserving its legitimacy is going to take extra effort," he says.