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

Friday

Remembering Robert MacNeil, longtime host of PBS 'NewsHour'

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Remembering documentary filmmaker Eleanor Coppola

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Wednesday

Remembering acclaimed artist and quilter Faith Ringgold

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Tuesday

Salman Rushdie says writing Knife allowed him to change his relationship to the attack. "Instead of just being the person who got stabbed, I now see myself as the person who wrote a book about getting stabbed," he says. Rachel Eliza Griffiths/Penguin Random House hide caption

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Rachel Eliza Griffiths/Penguin Random House

Two nights before the attack, Salman Rushdie dreamed he was stabbed onstage

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Friday

A look back at how Godzilla and King Kong first roared onto screen

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Wednesday

An American hauls in a HA-19 Japanese submarine following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Submarine warfare would prove crucial during WWII. Penguin Random House hide caption

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Penguin Random House

Seizures, broken spines and vomiting: Scientific testing that helped facilitate D-Day

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Monday

Andrew Scott, above, says he tried to "unlearn the stuff" he knew from previous adaptations of the Highsmith novel, including the 1999 film adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon. Philippe Antonello/Netflix hide caption

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Philippe Antonello/Netflix

Don't call him a sociopath: Here's how Andrew Scott humanizes 'Ripley'

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Friday

A 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' appreciation, as the series comes to an end

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Tuesday

'Our kids are not OK,' child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz says

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Monday

Women's college basketball is hot, says now-retired WBNA player Sue Bird (shown here in 2022). "If you liked us in college, why didn't you follow us to the WNBA? It is probably one of the more interesting and maybe more difficult questions to answer." Steph Chambers/Getty Images hide caption

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Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Why haven't NCAA fans always followed the WNBA? Sue Bird has her theories

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Friday

Rhiannon Giddens and the Carolina Chocolate Drops put a modern twist on tradition

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Thursday

Pegasus Books

'Women Behind the Wheel' explains how cars became a gendered technology

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Thursday

How the Chinese mafia came to control much of the illicit marijuana trade in the U.S.

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Wednesday

Catherine Coldstream spent 12 years in a Carmelite monastery. Her new memoir is Cloistered. Keiko Ikeuchi/MacMillan hide caption

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Keiko Ikeuchi/MacMillan

A former nun explains why she ran away from her 'Cloistered' life

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Tuesday

For Christine Blasey Ford, the fallout of the Kavanaugh hearing is ongoing

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Friday

Remembering longtime magazine editor William Whitworth

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Thursday

'How to Win an Information War' details fighting with — and against — propaganda

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Tuesday

Jenny Slate's latest stand-up special is Seasoned Professional. Amazon Prime Video hide caption

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Amazon Prime Video

As a 'Seasoned Professional,' Jenny Slate now finds strength in her sensitivity

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Monday

Julio Torres attends a screening of Problemista in New York on Feb. 27. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images hide caption

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

In 'Problemista' Julio Torres spins immigration stress into satire

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Friday

How 'Poor Things' actor Emma Stone turns her anxiety into a 'superpower'

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Tuesday

Rod Nordland looks at the Istanbul old city from Galata Tower on Nov. 20, 2016. Nordland was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer, in 2019. Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images

After years in conflict zones, a war reporter reckons with a deadly cancer diagnosis

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Friday

Remembering Richard Lewis, a veteran stand-up comedian with a caustic wit

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Thursday

Tracing the rise of Christian nationalism, from Trump to the Ala. Supreme Court

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Monday

Cognitive neuroscientist Charan Ranganath says the human brain isn't programmed to remember everything. Rather, it's designed to "carry what we need and to deploy it rapidly when we need it." Bulat Silvia/iStock / Getty Images Plus hide caption

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Bulat Silvia/iStock / Getty Images Plus

When is forgetting normal — and when is it worrisome? A neuroscientist weighs in

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