Fresh Air

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  • Hosted by Terry Gross

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

Fresh Air's Terry Gross
Credit Will Ryan

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.

Past occupants of the White House have placed their business holdings into a blind trust. Not President Trump.

Forbes magazine investigative journalist Dan Alexander has pored over business records, mortgage documents and government reports — and even staked out some Trump properties — to assemble a detailed picture of the president's business interests. He says the president has broken a number of pledges he made about how he would conduct business while in office.

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. The Emmy Awards are this Sunday. The TV series nominated for the most Emmys this year, 26 of them, is the HBO drama series "Watchmen." Our guest today, Cord Jefferson, is one of the show's writers and is nominated for an Emmy for writing Episode 6. Terry interviewed Cord Jefferson last month, and I'll let her take it from here.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

The Devil All the Time, now streaming on Netflix, has enough awful characters, festering secrets and dead bodies to furnish a whole TV series, though I'm not sure I'd want to see a longer version of this story. The movie is based on a densely plotted 2011 novel by the Ohio-born author Donald Ray Pollock, and it's grim in ways that can be both exciting and a little wearying: so many twists and betrayals, so many horrific acts of violence.

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 is country artist Marty Stuart, who's just been selected for the Country Music Hall of Fame. His induction is scheduled to take place next year. In Rolling Stone, Marty Stuart was described as, quote, "one of the last remaining links to traditional country, roots music and the generation of greats like George Jones and Hank Williams," unquote.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

As the fall semester kicks into gear, college campuses have become the pandemic's newest hot spots. The New York Times reports there are more than 88,000 coronavirus cases at the nation's colleges and universities.

Scott Carlson, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, isn't surprised by those numbers.

Decades before Google or Facebook existed, a Madison Avenue advertising man started a company called Simulmatics based on a then-revolutionary method of using computers to forecast how people would behave.

Formed in 1959, Simulmatics charged clients a hefty fee to access its "people machine" — a computer program that drew on polling information and behavioral science to predict mathematically the impact of an advertising pitch or political message.

I've been reading and reviewing Sue Miller's novels ever since her debut, The Good Mother, became an instant bestseller in 1986. And for all those many years, I've been frustrated by Miller because her novels are so hard to do justice to in a review, especially on radio.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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:

Author Yaa Gyasi Says Writing Can Be 'An Act Of Love And Justice': Gyasi's debut novel, Homegoing, won a PEN/Hemingway Award. Her follow-up, Transcendent Kingdom, draws on Gyasi's life as the daughter of immigrants from Ghana.

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli in for Terry Gross. Last year, the Hulu streaming service premiered a very unusual, very daring and very funny comedy series. It was called "PEN15," was set at a middle school in the year 2000 and starred the show's creators, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. They play seventh graders who are navigating everything from romantic crushes and puberty to peer pressure and the general awkwardness of adolescence. A second season of "PEN15" begins next Friday on Hulu.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

Today's first guest is author Donald Ray Pollock whose novel "The Devil All The Time" has just been made into a new Netflix movie premiering next Wednesday. It stars Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson, and here's a taste. In this clip, a young boy has just watched his father pulverize two guys after they made lewd comments about the father's wife, the son's mother. Afterward, the father gives his son some advice.

When Allied troops entered Germany at the end of World War II, they were astounded to learn that more than 6 million people had been stranded in the fallen Reich after the war.

"The number of homeless, shelterless, starving civilians [in Germany] was overwhelming," historian David Nasaw says.

Author Yaa Gyasi's family emigrated from Ghana to the United States when she was 2, but it wasn't until she was 9 and her family moved to Huntsville, Ala., that she began to feel like she didn't fit in.

"In every other place that we had lived, there was a decent sized West African immigrant community," Gyasi says. "But when we got to Huntsville, there was, like, one other family in Meridianville that was Ghanaian and that was it."

Here's a beaut of a sentence, one of many, from Lisa Donovan's new memoir, Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger: "[I]f someone values you only when you're about to walk out the door, you should definitely keep walking."

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

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, in for Terry Gross. We're continuing our salute to some of this year's Emmy Award nominees by featuring group RuPaul, who is up for two Emmys as host and executive producer of "RuPaul's Drag Race" on VH1. He won in both categories last year. RuPaul became the most famous drag queen in the world after bringing drag into the mainstream with his reality competition series. It premiered in 2009 and completed its 12th season on VH1 this May. The series is now televised and popular in countries around the world.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The Primetime Emmy Awards are September 20. Today and tomorrow, we're featuring interviews with some of the nominees. Next, we'll hear from Ramy Youssef. He's nominated for two Emmys for the second season of his semi-autobiographical Hulu comedy series "Ramy" for outstanding lead actor and for directing. Youssef is a stand-up comic who often surprises people when he tells them he believes in God - or as he puts it, God God, not yoga.

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