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Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America's housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a "state-sponsored system of segregation."

The government's efforts were "primarily designed to provide housing to white, middle-class, lower-middle-class families," he says. African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Ford, has written a memoir in which he does the eloquent version of what we all try to do, at least those of us who have grown up with our parents, to reflect on their lives, take their measure and attempt to understand how our parents shaped us and how our arrival transformed their marriage and their lives. Ford says he also wanted to reconcile his self back then when his parents were alive and his self now, decades after they've died.

My timing has always been a little off with Elizabeth Strout. I've read and pretty much admired everything she's written, but, for whatever reason, the books of hers I've picked to review have been the good ones, like her debut Amy and Isabelle and The Burgess Boys, rather than the extraordinary ones, like Olive Kitteridge, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.

Comic W. Kamau Bell has spent much of his life feeling awkward. A self-described "tall, rangy black dude," Bell was often mistaken for a basketball player growing up — except that serious asthma and allergies meant he spent the bulk of his childhood indoors watching TV.

He says, "There was this weird sense of guilt about the fact that I wasn't using the physical shell that God had given me, and that I wasn't taking advantage of my physical gifts."

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

'Veep' Executive Producer On Making A Show About The 'Craven Desire For Power': The HBO series is now in its sixth season. Producer Frank Rich also writes a column for New York magazine about the intersection of politics and popular culture.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Jonathan Demme, whom David just saluted, won an Oscar for directing "Silence Of The Lambs" and also directed "Philadelphia," which starred Tom Hanks as a lawyer with AIDS and won Hanks an Oscar. We'll conclude today's show with a short excerpt from Demme's FRESH AIR interview with contributor Dave Davies from 2009.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

When mentally ill inmates in New York City's Rikers Island jail become too sick, violent, delusional or suicidal for the jail to handle, they're sent to Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward for treatment.

The inmates in Bellevue are awaiting trial for a variety of offenses, ranging from sleeping on the subway to murder. But for Dr. Elizabeth Ford, a psychiatrist who treats them, the charges against her patients are secondary.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Our guest Rick Ankiel is a former major league ballplayer with an unusual story. He entered the big leagues in 1999 as an extraordinarily gifted pitcher. Then one day, suddenly, mysteriously lost that gift. He felt fine but couldn't control his pitches, sending them over batters' heads or in the dirt nowhere close to the plate. He battled the problem for years, pitching in minor league parks where fans showed up in hard hats to mock him because his throws could go anywhere.

Dani Shapiro's new memoir, Hourglass, opens on a scene from a marriage: On a winter's day, Shapiro looks out a window of her old house in Connecticut, and spots her husband. Now pushing 60, he is standing in the driveway in his bathrobe, his pale legs stuffed into galoshes, aiming a rifle at the woodpecker, who for months has been jackhammering holes into the side of their house.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

'I Basically Ran On Adrenaline': A Staffer Remembers Obama's White House: Alyssa Mastromonaco worked in the West Wing for six exhilarating and exhausting years. She describes that era in her new memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

As the first American president to be elected with no prior political or military experience, Donald Trump has had to adapt quickly to the responsibilities of public office.

"The magnitude of the job is sinking in for him," White House correspondent Maggie Haberman says. "The degree to which whatever he does is going to impact millions of people — and the responsibility of that — is slowly settling in."

In 2017 alone, Merriam-Webster added more than 1,000 words to its dictionary.

The 1996 Coen Brothers movie Fargo was so good, and so original, that when the FX cable network announced it was making a new version for television, I expected it to be awful — especially since the creator of the adaptation was Noah Hawley, a writer-producer who hadn't really done much.

Former Obama staffer Alyssa Mastromonaco is well acquainted with the privilege — and sleeplessness — of working in the White House: "I basically ran on adrenaline, almost, for six years," she says.

Mastromonaco began as President Obama's director of scheduling and advance, then became his deputy chief of staff for operations. Her responsibilities ran the gamut from overseeing the confirmation process for Cabinet secretaries to managing the president's daily schedule and foreign travel.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE MENZINGERS SONG, "LIVIN' AIN'T EASY")

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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