“Is there anyone that Terry has been really wanting to interview, but can’t get them to do it?” a Reddit visitor asked “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” associate producer Melody Kramer during a recent Q-and-A.
“We’ve been after Howard Stern for a while…” Kramer typed.
Now seems the perfect time to bring Stern and Gross together since they were both just tapped for Radio Hall of Fame induction.
I sent the Kramer’s email address to Howard Stern newsman Jon Leiberman and wrote that Stern “would be great w/Terry. You should prod him.” Leiberman replied: “Let me see what I can do. …will do my best.”
Some other tidbits from the Kramer Q-and-A:
How much time does Terry Gross spend researching interviewees beforehand, and how much of the research is done by others at Fresh Air?
So the associate producers here (John, John, Heidi, Yowei) do a ton of research on each guest and then give Terry the stack of research. She goes home and reads all of that, plus a book (if it’s an author) or watches a movie (if it’s a movie person) or a TV series (you get the gist.)
But she reads every word of everything. She works until 10-11 most nights…
How much, if any, editing is needed for each show? Do we hear the complete unedited interview, or just the highlights?
We edit every interview, usually for time. (They tape for around 75 minutes. We air anywhere between 20-45 minutes.) Usually it’s for clarity/time. Occasionally it’s because we have a review that must air and therefore the interview needs to be cut down.
Is Terry Gross as nice in real life as she is on the radio?
She’s phenomenal and a pleasure to work with and for. She has no ego. She deflects everything. It’s really nice writing with someone like Terry.
Another excellent interview transcript: Alec Baldwin’s chat with David Letterman.
Letterman recalls when he worked for news-talk radio WNTS in Indianapolis:
It was Watergate, and people assumed, ‘Well, the guy’s got a talk show on the radio; I bet he knows everything there is to know about Watergate,’ and I knew nothing. People wouldn’t call in, and I’d have to read endless pages of wire copy. I remember reading a story about Gordon Strachan. His name kept coming up. ‘Special Counsel so-and-so Gordon Strachan, advisor to the White House, Gordon Strachan.’ Finally the phone light up, and I’m, ‘Thank God!’ I say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘It’s not /Strah-chen/. It’s /Strahn./ You’re mispronouncing the guy’s name.’ I said, ‘Okay, thanks. Do you have a question?’ ‘No.’ Click, buzz, so there you go.
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