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Fresh Air

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Fresh Air
Running timec. 50 min.
Country of originUnited States
Home stationWHYY
SyndicatesNPR, WHYY
Hosted byTerry Gross
Tonya Mosley
Recording studioPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Original release1975 –
Audio formatStereophonic
WebsiteOfficial website

Fresh Air is an American radio talk show broadcast on National Public Radio stations across the United States since 1985. It is produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show's host is Terry Gross. As of 2017, the show was syndicated to 624 stations and claimed nearly 5 million listeners.[1] The show is fed live weekdays at 12:00 noon ET.[not verified in body] In addition, some stations carry Fresh Air Weekend, a re-programming of highlights of the week's interviews.[2][3] In 2016, Fresh Air was the most-downloaded podcast on iTunes.[4]


Terry Gross, host of the NPR radio program Fresh Air, in the WHYY studios in Philadelphia in 2004.

The show began in 1975 at WHYY (then called WUHY), with Judy Blank as host. In September of that year, Terry Gross took over as presenter and producer; over 45 years later she remains its chief presenter. In 1985, WHYY launched a weekly half-hour edition of Fresh Air, which was distributed nationally by NPR.[5] The show began daily national broadcasts in 1987.[5] The show is composed primarily of interviews with prominent figures in various fields, among them entertainment and the arts, culture, journalism, and global current affairs. This main segment is followed by shorter segments, most often comprising coverage and reviews of events and new releases in various cultural and entertainment spheres. The subjects of these shorter segments include movies, books, stage plays, television programs, as well as recordings of popular music, jazz, and classical music. The program also features commentary and interviews from a range of regular contributors, including Maureen Corrigan, David Bianculli, Dave Davies, Ken Tucker, Kevin Whitehead, John Powers, Lloyd Schwartz, Geoffrey Nunberg, Justin Chang, and Nick Quah.[6] Past contributors include Geoff Nunberg,[7] Milo Miles, and Ed Ward.[8] Tonya Mosley, who co-hosted WBUR's Here & Now, was named co-host of Fresh Air in 2023.[9] The show was formerly titled "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" but is now simply branded "Fresh Air".[10]

David Edelstein was let go from his position as film critic for the show on November 27, 2018, for comments made in the wake of Bernardo Bertolucci's death.[11]

The executive producer of Fresh Air is Danny Miller. The program is produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Ann Marie Baldonado, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Therese Madden, Seth Kelley, Thea Chaloner, and Susan Nyakundi. The show is directed by Roberta Shorrock. Audrey Bentham is the engineer. Molly Seavy-Nesper is the producer of Digital Media.[12]


The program's interviews are pre-recorded and edited, not broadcast live.[13] As with many such radio programs, guests are often not in the studio during recording, and often speak remotely from a local affiliate station, or a home studio.[14] When pressing news requires, the show has gone live, such as during the Soviet coup attempt of 1991, and in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 19, 2013.

Fresh Air interviews are generally first aired on the Monday through Thursday shows. The Friday shows are rebroadcasts of past interviews.

The show's theme song, a jazz piece called "Fresh Air", was composed for the program by Joel Forrester of The Microscopic Septet.

Controversial interviews[edit]

Fresh Air has become a premiere source of audio journalism. Politicians, public intellectuals, and celebrities (such as R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, pictured) are among those who have been interviewed by its host, Terry Gross.

In February 2002, when Gross interviewed Gene Simmons of Kiss, Simmons discussed his sexual experimentation with women of all age groups and propositioned Gross in demonstration; according to NPR's website, Simmons withheld permission to supply transcripts or audio of the interview on their website.[15][16][17]

In July 2010, Fresh Air was removed from Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio because of "recurring inappropriate content", shortly after the broadcast of an interview with comedian Louis C.K. in which he discussed his sex life.[18] By mid-2011, it had returned to the state network's evening line-up.[19]


In 1993, NPR, Fresh Air, and Gross were presented with the George Foster Peabody Award with praise for her "probing questions, revelatory interviews, and unusual insights".[20] The show was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.[21] The show also won an institutional Peabody in 2022.[22]

In 2004, Gross published a book of her favorite interviews from the show under the title All I Did Was Ask.[23]

In 2016, Gross received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, "For her artful probing of the human experience. Her patient, persistent questioning in thousands of interviews over four decades has pushed public figures to reveal personal motivations behind extraordinary lives—revealing simple truths that affirm our common humanity."[24]


  1. ^ "Fresh Air from WHYY: About the program". Fresh Air. NPR; WHYY-FM. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Fresh Air Weekend: Nina Totenberg; 'Watchmen' Writer Cord Jefferson". NPR.org. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  3. ^ "Fresh Air Weekend | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  4. ^ "Apple unveils Best of 2016 across apps, music, movies and more" (Press release). Apple Inc. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  5. ^ a b "Terry Gross". NPR. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  6. ^ "About 'Fresh Air'". NPR. May 10, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  7. ^ "'Fresh Air' Linguist Geoff Nunberg Dies At 75". NPR. August 13, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  8. ^ "'Fresh Air' Remembers Rock Historian Ed Ward". NPR. May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  9. ^ "'Fresh Air' welcomes new co-host Tonya Mosley". NPR. May 4, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  10. ^ "Fresh Air with Terry Gross". WYPR. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  11. ^ Sharf, Zack (November 27, 2018). "Film Critic David Edelstein Fired by NPR Over 'Last Tango in Paris' Rape Joke".
  12. ^ "About 'Fresh Air'". NPR. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  13. ^ Kerr, Jolie (November 17, 2018). "How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross". New York Times. Section ST. p. 4. Retrieved 28 July 2022. One thing she does not allow of her interview subjects, however, is input on the edit. "When the interview is over, you don't have a chance to call back and say, 'Well I like my answer to this, I don't like my answer to that, can you edit that out," she said.
  14. ^ Burton, Sarah (October 25, 2015). "How to Talk to Strangers". New York Times. Sunday Magazine. p. 34. Retrieved 28 July 2022. As a practicality, Gross performs most of her interviews long distance.
  15. ^ "Leader and Bassist of the Band Kiss, Gene Simmons". Fresh Air. NPR; WHYY. 2002-02-04. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  16. ^ Gene Simmons (4 February 2002). "Transcript of Gene Simmons and Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air". Fresh Air (Interview). Interviewed by Terry Gross. WHYY; NPR. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  17. ^ Gene Simmons (4 February 2002). "Listen to the Terry Gross and Gene Simmons Interview". Fresh Air (Interview). Interviewed by Terry Gross. WHYY; NPR. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  18. ^ O'Neal, Sean (2010-07-16). "Louis C.K. interview gets NPR's Fresh Air banned in Mississippi". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  19. ^ "MPB: Mississippi Public Broadcasting". Archived from the original on 21 June 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  20. ^ "The Peabody Award Winners Archive". The Peabody Award. Archived from the original on 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  21. ^ "Fresh Air". National Radio Hall Of Fame. 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "Fresh Air Receives Peabody Institutional Award". Peabody Awards. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  23. ^ Gross, Terry (2004). All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0010-3.
  24. ^ "At White House, a Golden Moment for America's Great Artists and Patrons". NPR. Retrieved 2017-08-28.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]