Terry Gross Terry Gross is the host and executive producer of NPR's Fresh Air.
Terry Gross square 2017
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Terry Gross

WHYY
Terry Gross
WHYY

Terry Gross

Host, Fresh Air

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gross, who has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in greater Philadelphia, isn't afraid to ask tough questions. But Gross sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrendering them. What often puts those guests at ease is Gross' understanding of their work. "Anyone who agrees to be interviewed must decide where to draw the line between what is public and what is private," Gross says. "But the line can shift, depending on who is asking the questions. What puts someone on guard isn't necessarily the fear of being 'found out.' It sometimes is just the fear of being misunderstood."

Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. There she hosted and produced several arts, women's and public affairs programs, including This Is Radio, a live, three-hour magazine program that aired daily. Two years later, she joined the staff of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia as producer and host of Fresh Air, then a local, daily interview and music program. In 1985, WHYY-FM launched a weekly half-hour edition of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which was distributed nationally by NPR. Since 1987, a daily, one-hour national edition of Fresh Air has been produced by WHYY-FM. The program is broadcast on 566 stations and became the first non-drive time show in public radio history to reach more than five million listeners each week in fall 2008, a presidential election season. In fall 2011, Fresh Air reached 4.4 million listeners a week.

Fresh Air with Terry Gross has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award in 1994 for its "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insight." America Women in Radio and Television presented Gross with a Gracie Award in 1999 in the category of National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, she received the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow Award for her "outstanding contributions to public radio" and for advancing the "growth, quality and positive image of radio." In 2007, Gross received the Literarian Award. In 2011, she received the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community.

Gross is the author of All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists, published by Hyperion in 2004.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gross received a bachelor's degree in English and M.Ed. in communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Gross was recognized with the Columbia Journalism Award from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Princeton University in 2002. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993 and Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007, both from SUNY–Buffalo. She also received a Doctor of Letters from Haverford College in 1998 and Honorary Doctor of Letters from Drexel University in 1989.

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Story Archive

'Fresh Air' Commemorates The 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11's Moon Landing

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Journalist Digs Into Years Of Corruption, Dysfunction At Border Protection Agency

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Satirist Randy Rainbow Uses Show Tunes And Pop Songs To Lampoon Trump

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Remembering Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

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Emily Nussbaum received the most hate mail of her career after she panned season 1 of HBO's True Detective. "Most of it was handwritten," she says. C. Clive Thompson/Penguin Random House hide caption

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We All Watch In Our Own Way: A Critic Tracks The 'TV Revolution'

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Remembering 'Larry Sanders Show' Actor Rip Torn

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Remembering Major League Pitcher Jim Bouton, Author Of 'Ball Four'

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Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof' Is A 'Dream Come True' For Lead Actor

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Rulings On Gerrymandering And The Census Could Define The Political Future

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Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of "fiery" or "electrical" pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit. Stockbyte/Getty Images hide caption

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Motorcycle Crash Shows Bioethicist The Dark Side Of Quitting Opioids Alone

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Willie Nelson: The 'Fresh Air' Interviews

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Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church play divorced parents on the HBO comedy series Divorce. Craig Blankenhorn/HBO hide caption

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Sarah Jessica Parker On 'Sex,' 'Divorce,' Marriage And #MeToo

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For Facebook Content Moderators, Traumatizing Material Is A Job Hazard

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Marchers at a candlelight vigil in San Francisco, Calif., carry a banner to call attention to the continuing battle against AIDS on May 29, 1989. The city was home to the nation's first AIDS special care unit. The unit, which opened in 1983, is the subject the documentary 5B. Jason M. Grow/AP hide caption

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1st AIDS Ward '5B' Fought To Give Patients Compassionate Care, Dignified Deaths

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Ramy Youssef is the co-creator and star of the semi-autobiographical Hulu series Ramy. "From the onset ... we really wanted to challenge our main character," he says. Hasan Amin/Hulu hide caption

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Comic Ramy Youssef On Being An 'Allah Carte' Muslim: 'You Sit In Contradictions'

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