A New Online Archive Lets You Listen to 40 Years Worth of Terry Gross’ Fresh Air Interviews: Stream 22,000 Segment Online

As the weath­er grows cold­er, we look for rea­sons to stay inside, snug­gled up under a blan­ket, steamy mug in hand.

Or some­times we look for an incen­tive to bun­dle up and go for a long freez­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al.

Either way, 40 years’ worth of Fresh Air, Peabody award-win­ning radio jour­nal­ist Ter­ry Gross’ inter­view show, is just the tick­et.

A com­plete dig­i­tal data­base of over 22,000 seg­ments is now avail­able for your lis­ten­ing plea­sure.

Feel­ing over­whelmed?

Scroll down on the home page to delve into a recent episode.

Or dial it back to one of the ear­li­est extant install­ments.

(In the first decade of the show’s his­to­ry, many episodes went untaped or got record­ed over.)

The mas­sive data­base, cre­at­ed with help from library sci­en­tists at Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty, is also search­able by guest and top­ic.

If you feel like hand­ing over the con­trols, home sta­tion WHYY in Philadel­phia has some sug­gest­ed col­lec­tions—Jazz Leg­endsSat­ur­day Night LiveHow the Brain Works

If you’re open to any­thing, try the wild card option at the bot­tom of the screen. Click play for a ran­dom episode.

Or try typ­ing one of your inter­ests into the search bar.

“Cats” yield­ed 1713 results, from a chat with author John Brad­shaw on the evo­lu­tion of house cats to an inter­view with zool­o­gist Alan Rabi­nowitz on endan­gered large cats to some train­ing tips, cour­tesy of feline behav­ior spe­cial­ist Sarah Ellis.

Of less direct rel­e­vance, but of no less inter­est, are:

A review of Iran­ian direc­tor Bah­man Ghobadi’s film No One Knows about Per­sian Cats, which net­ted the 2009 Spe­cial Jury Prize at Cannes.

A review of Mar­garet Atwood’s 1989 nov­el Cat’s Eye.

A His­to­ry of Catskills resorts.

A post-mortem with come­di­an (and avowed cat per­son) Mark Maron fol­low­ing then-Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s 2015 appear­ance on his WTF pod­cast (an occa­sion which required Maron’s house cats to be cor­ralled in his bed­room).

The Coen Broth­ers on writ­ing The Big Lebows­ki and the dif­fi­cul­ties of wran­gling Inside Llewyn Davis’s feline per­former:

Gross: So how do you cast a cat for your film?

One Coen broth­er: Ooh, that was hor­ri­ble. We just used on the advice of the trainer—the ani­mal train­er, kind of an orange, kind of a mar­malade tab­by cat, just because they are, you know, com­mon, and so easy to dou­ble, triple, quadru­ple. There were, you know, many cats play­ing the one cat and, you know, the whole thing is actu­al­ly pret­ty, it comes across well in the movie, but the whole exer­cise of shoot­ing a cat is pret­ty night­mar­ish because they don’t care about any­thing; they don’t want to do what you want them to do. As the ani­mal train­er said to us, a dog wants to please you; a cat only wants to please itself. It was just long, painstak­ing, frus­trat­ing days shoot­ing the cat.

Oth­er Coen broth­er: What you have to do is basi­cal­ly find the cat that’s pre­dis­posed to doing what­ev­er par­tic­u­lar piece of action it is that you have to film. So you find the cat that can—isn’t afraid to run down a fire escape or this, you know, the cat that’s very docile and will let the actor just hold them for extend­ed peri­ods of time with­out being fid­gety. And then you want the fid­gety cat—the squir­re­ly cat—for when you want the cat to run away and you just keep swap­ping them out—depending on what the task at hand is.

If some­thing real­ly catch­es your fan­cy, you can add it to a playlist to share via social media or email.

Read­ers, what would you have us add to ours?

Begin your explo­ration of Fresh Air’s archive here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Hap­pens When a Ter­ry Gross/Fresh Air Inter­view Ends: A Com­ic Look

Mau­rice Sendak’s Emo­tion­al Last Inter­view with NPR’s Ter­ry Gross, Ani­mat­ed by Christoph Nie­mann

Lis­ten to Ira Glass’ 10 Favorite Episodes of This Amer­i­can Life

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Decem­ber 9 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates Dennison’s Christ­mas Book (1921). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (5)
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  • Ben V Hoff says:

    I was expect­ing there to be a charge of some kind. This is real­ly inter­est­ing.

  • Bill Reger-Nash says:

    Impres­sive col­lec­tion. Thank you for this resource.

  • Cindy Fetch says:

    Fresh Air is my go-to in the car. Nobody inter­views like Ter­ry! Thank you for this!

  • Prem Kishore says:

    My dad bought a radio when I was 16 and in my first year in col­lege. He thought I would fill my head with filmy roman­tic Hin­di songs on the radio and wait­ed till he thought I was mature enough to han­dle a love lyric.I was liv­ing in Chen­nai India. A small radio and just one sta­tion Local.
    I heard my first pro­gram on radio at the house of my aunt.An Eng­lish Teatime pro­gram .Soft gen­tle West­ern music.But it was the voice of the announc­er that enthralled me.An unknown per­son weav­ing a spell with words and play­ing a selec­tion of music.I knew I had to be on radio.In col­lege I found my first job while study­ing Lit­er­a­ture in col­lege Late .Sun­day evenings found me n the radio sta­tion car­ry­ing vinyl LPs stag­ger­ing into the stu­dio .That was my job.But I was thrilled.Carrying 30 music records through long cor­ri­dors , sit­ting in a stu­dio enter­ing reg­is­ters with music details and immers­ing myself in a live musi­cal experuence.Heaven . After car­ry­ing the 39 music records back to the Duty Room and despite not being in front of a mike I was fulfilled.Outside my pro­tec­tive father wait­ed to escort me home as it was 9 pm and no girl. Would be out at that late hour.
    I did become a radio host , pro­gram exec­u­tive , got a pro­duc­tion schol­ar­ship at BBC pro­gram , moved to Dubai host­ed. a radio music pro­gram and then migrat­ed to the US where I now host a 70’s music show online on Sat­ur­day after­noons rememberthenradio.com
    In between I lec­tured in colleges.authored two books worked for a Senior Hous­ing project had grand­chil­dren and after retir­ing
    I find myself in radio.
    Play­ing music I love with gratitude.As some­one said ..Music gives us what we want on good or bad days.
    The imme­di­a­cy and inti­ma­cy of radio is so pow­er­ful which brings me to the inim­itable Ter­ry Gross.
    I have heard Ter­ry Gross over the years on radio and always felt elat­ed to find a soul sparked with pas­sion and desire to make peo­ple come alive through her deep con­nec­tion and curios­i­ty of peo­ple I applaud and revere her com­mit­ment to radio and feel a kin­ship with her bridg­ing coun­tries race and history..So excit­ed and thank­ful about the archive Open Cul­ture.

  • Thank you for shar­ing this per­son­al radio his­to­ry, Prem!

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