Terry Gross is the host and an executive producer of Fresh Air, the daily program of interviews and reviews. It is produced at WHYY in Philadelphia, where Gross began hosting the show in 1975, when it was broadcast only locally. She was awarded a National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2016. Fresh Air with Terry Gross received a Peabody Award in 1994 for its “probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insight.” America Women in Radio and Television presented her with a Gracie Award in 1999 in the category of National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, she received the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow Award for her “outstanding contributions to public radio” and for advancing the “growth, quality and positive image of radio.” Gross is the author of All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists, published by Hyperion in 2004. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and received a bachelor’s degree in English and M.Ed. in communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, NY.
Apocalyptic novelist Max Brooks is something of an expert on planning for pandemics and other disasters. The author, whose books include World War Z, Germ Warfare and the forthcoming Devolution, has toured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has reviewed government response plans related to various emergency situations — all in the course of research.
Concert halls and music venues around the world have been shuttered due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but before closing its doors, the Philadelphia Orchestra gave one last performance on March 12 — to an empty concert hall. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin describes the experience of playing in a vacant hall and hearing silence at the end of each piece. And we listen to a 2019 interview with Yannick.
In his new book, Let the People Pick the President, Jesse Wegman makes a case for abolishing the Electoral College. He notes that the winner-takes-all model means that millions of voters become irrelevant to a presidential election that is often decided by voters in key "battleground" states.
Growing up, actor Octavia Spencer remembers being inspired by the story of Madam C.J. Walker, one of America's first black, female, self-made millionaires. Born on a plantation in 1867, Walker eked out a living washing clothes for white families before building an empire selling hair care and makeup products to women of color.