National Public Radio listeners have long enjoyed the program Fresh Air, in which interviewer Terry Gross conducts wide-ranging conversations with artists, writers, and intellectuals. Less well known and appreciated is Boston public radio’s answer to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air: Tommy Duggan’s Air Freshenah.
Air Freshenah was born when, in a technological glitch, Boston public radio interrupted Boston sports talk radio for forty five minutes in 1987. In a fit of rage and inspiration, Boston’s own Tommy Duggan decided to pursue what became a short-lived foray into public broadcasting.
Air Freshenah ran from February 1988 to June 1988. Instead of Gross’s probing and thoughtful questions, interviewees were subject to Duggan’s deep and frequent sighing, as well as the following questions and feedback:
“What are you going to do with that?”
“Oh, you do, huh?”
“Am I supposed to like that?”
“I don’t like it.”
“Sounds like something queers like.”
“I wouldn’t give you a nickel for that.”
“Never heard of it.”
“I don’t understand a word you’re saying.”
“We pay taxes for that?”
“That’s the gayest thing I’ve ever heard.”
While the above is not an exhaustive list of Duggan’s on-air questions and commentary, it does encompass the range and depth of Duggan’s repertoire.