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.

Story Archive

'American Dream' documentary examines George Carlin's triumphs and demons

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After a stroke blinded one eye, Frank Bruni focused on the future

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Angela Davis is escorted by two FBI agents after her arrest in New York on Oct. 13, 1970. She was taken from FBI headquarters to the Women's House of Detention. David Pickoff/AP hide caption

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David Pickoff/AP

This forgotten women's prison helped cement Greenwich Village's queer identity

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Anthony Roth Costanzo nearly lost his voice to cancer. Now he's back as 'Akhnaten'

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder continues the fight for voting rights

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Rosie Perez says she has everything she ever wanted in life: "Everyone thinks it's the fame and the fortune. It's not. It was love and stability." HBO Max hide caption

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HBO Max

More than fame and success, Rosie Perez found what she always wanted — a stable home

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Pamela Adlon says 'Better Things' has been an exaggerated version of her life

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Journalist says Britain has become a safe deposit box for oligarchs' ill-gotten gains

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Alexander Skarsgård is on a quest to avenge his father's murder in The Northman. Focus Features hide caption

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Focus Features

Alexander Skarsgård lost his voice — and found catharsis — as a Viking berserker

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Republicans suggested invoking the 25th Amendment after Jan. 6 — but failed to act

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A teacher walks through an empty classroom at Hazelwood Elementary School in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 11. Jon Cherry/Getty Images hide caption

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How social-emotional learning became a target for Ron DeSantis and conservatives

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Amy Schumer, left, creator, executive producer and star of Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, comedian Bridget Everett, center, and author and comedian Jessi Klein attend the show's 3rd season premiere party in New York City in April 2015. Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central hide caption

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Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central

Comedy writer Jessi Klein reflects on the disorienting experience of new motherhood

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For classical pianist Jeremy Denk, life is like a series of music lessons

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Rupert Murdoch speaks in San Francisco in 2011. Murdoch's media empire has included News Corp, Fox News, Fox Sports, 21st Century Fox, HarperCollins, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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In the Murdoch family succession battle, Fox News and democracy hang in the balance

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Fairport Convention band cofounder Richard Thompson looks back on his life in music

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