On May 11, 1987, NPR first broadcast a program that has become synonymous with public radio: "Fresh Air." Or rather, "Fresh Air" as we know it today.
The interview and commentary show originally ran as a live, three-hour weekday broadcast, hosted by Terry Gross and airing only in Philadelphia. While "Fresh Air" is still produced by Philadelphia member station WHYY, NPR now syndicates it in a daily, one-hour national edition. According to WHYY, 6 million listeners tune in each week on more than 646 NPR stations across the country and in Europe. And in the age of streaming and downloading, "Fresh Air" is NPR’s most downloaded podcast for two years in a row.
The anchor of this iconic show is, without a doubt, Terry Gross. Gross published her book “All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists” in 2004. While she is famous for asking sometimes intimate but always respectful questions of her guests, Gross is not accustomed to being asked questions of herself. Yet that is exactly what happened when Lois Reitzes interviewed Terry Gross about her book in 2005 for the WABE program "Between the Lines."
In honor of today’s 30th anniversary broadcast of "Fresh Air," WABE presents that interview as it was originally heard on the air in 2005.