Happy 30th, Fresh Air!
Today (May 11) is Fresh Air’s 30th anniversary of being a daily, national program. That’s amazing. That also means Terry has been doing this longer than I’ve been alive.
Like a lot of people my age, my first memories of NPR were in the backseat of my parents’ car. It wasn’t long before I became a fan myself. The road trip from my hometown in Massachusetts to Philadelphia, where I went to college, was about 5 Fresh Air interviews long. I distinctly remember picking out interviews with Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jack Black and loading them onto my pink iPod mini.
After I graduated and was miserable working in restaurants and retail, Terry’s interviews kept me sane. She kept me company during a time in my life when I felt lost and directionless. I remember Caitlin Moran, Lena Dunham, and Matt Weiner, to name a few.
I started at Fresh Air in May of 2013. I co-write the Fresh Air webpages on NPR.org with the lovely Bridget Bentz, run the social media, and handle the podcast.
In the spirit of our anniversary, I thought I’d mention a few of my favorite interviews since I’ve been here, behind-the-scenes.
- John Waters: I have listened to this interview so many times, I practically have it memorized. I love how hard he makes Terry snort-laugh with gems like, “In Baltimore, if you’re hitchhiking, you’re a hooker that doesn’t have the Internet.”
- Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber: Some of my favorite interviews are ones where I’ve never heard of the guest before and then they totally blow me away. Pastor Nadia started a church for outsiders (junkies, drag queens, comedians) and has a really original and inclusive philosophy about faith.
- Joaquin Phoenix: I have a special place in my heart for this interview, because the day it aired was the day I was introduced in the credits for the first time. This show was completely bonkers. He was unpredictable and bizarre, but we were all having so much fun listening in while the interview was taping.
- Lynsey Addario: While working as a bad-ass photojournalist in a war zone, Addario was kidnapped with two of her journalist colleagues. She talks about that harrowing experience in this interview. It’s riveting. Plus, as a web producer, putting together a slideshow of her work was a real joy.
- Michael K. Williams: Williams, known for playing Omar on The Wire, was a dream guest (open, funny, thoughtful) I love when he called Terry “T,” and talks about how the Rhythm Nation music video inspired him to pursue a career in the arts. His kindness radiates through the speakers.
I’m sure I’m forgetting tons of other favorites, but those are the ones that came to mind.
We’ve got plenty of exciting things coming down the pike. Thanks for listening, reading, following the show! We can’t wait to see what you pick as your favorite interviews with the hashtag #freshair30.
–Molly Seavy-Nesper, associate producer at Fresh Air