Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Scanning the dial...

As much as I love to hate NPR, I have to admit that if I need a break from music, I do occasionally turn the dial over to 91.5 to hear who the guest is on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I don't listen on a regular basis, but every once in a while Gross pulls out some great interviews with cult favorites of mine like Stephen Colbert (The Daily Show), Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) and Jim Jarmusch (Down By Law, Coffee & Cigarettes, etc.). For a woman in her 50's, she seems to have a really hip sense of humor and culture. This week, I've got to give Terry even more mad props for her "hip-hop week" feature on Fresh Air. Every day this week she is playing back interviews she's had over the years with some of the top names in biz, with a seeming emphasis on the genre's founders and innovators. So far, she's featured such icons as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Russell Simons, Chuck D, Ice-T and Ice Cube. Not surprisingly, there are a few unintentionally humourous moments as an older white woman from public radio talks scholarly about hip-hop with the likes of a Kool Herc, but overall Gross holds her own and the interviews are quite interesting. Above all, you've got to applaud her for interviewing such a wide range of artists over the years and for taking an entire week to highlight the important artistic contributions that hip-hop has made to our culture. Perhaps most importantly, Gross has brought some much needed flava to the stuffy NPR line-up. Fresh Air is heard locally on WBEZ-FM 91.5 every weekday at 11am


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