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

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.

More from Fresh Air

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Jason Rezaian speaks during the inauguration of the Washington Post headquarters on Jan. 28, 2016. Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images

Journalist Recounts The Absurdity And Torture Of 544 Days In Iran's Evin Prison

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/687375297/687521211" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. On DNA Testing And Finding His Own Roots

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/686531998/687199517" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Fresh Air' Marks The 20th Anniversary Of The Premiere Of 'The Sopranos'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/684435199/684515758" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Actor and comedian Kevin Hart speaks onstage at the Academy Awards in 2016. Hart was slated to host the 2019 Oscars but withdrew after he was criticized for controversial jokes he made in 2010. Kevin Winter/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Kevin Hart Says Comedy's Full Of 'Flawed But Funny' People, Himself Included

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/683598263/684037565" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Then-President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew wave to the crowd at the Republican National Convention in 1972. Agnew would resign a year later. AP hide caption

toggle caption
AP

'Bad Behavior By People In High Office': Rachel Maddow On The Lessons Of Spiro Agnew

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/683414660/683664869" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Paul Dano and Benicio del Toro play inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt in Escape at Dannemora. Wilson Webb/Showtime hide caption

toggle caption
Wilson Webb/Showtime

Ben Stiller Unlocks An 'Old-Fashioned' Prison Break In 'Escape At Dannemora'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/683192524/683290860" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Hillary Frank is the creator of the podcast The Longest Shortest Time. Her new book is Weird Parenting Wins. Richard Frank/Penguin Random House hide caption

toggle caption
Richard Frank/Penguin Random House

Childbirth Injury Led A New Mom To Start A Parenting Podcast 'To Feel Less Alone'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/682861330/683012641" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Remembering Israeli Author And Peace Activist Amos Oz

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/682168487/682264270" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney in Vice. The film, which was written and directed by Adam McKay, has been nominated for six Golden Globe Awards. Greig Fraser/Annapurna Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Greig Fraser/Annapurna Pictures

'Vice' Traces Dick Cheney's Ascent From Yale Dropout To Political Power Player

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/681880599/681992530" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Punishment Without Crime' Highlights The Injustice Of America's Misdemeanor System

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/681606995/681735572" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'You Better Own This': How Rami Malek Came To Embody Freddie Mercury

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680667744/681429976" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'In The Moment, You Just Fly': Jon Batiste Lets Loose At The Piano

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680666330/681233835" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'A Distinctive Voice': Tracey Thorn Goes On 'Record'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680467864/680720328" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Director Bo Burnham On Growing Up With Anxiety — And An Audience

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680356663/680495788" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Reluctant Psychonaut' Michael Pollan Embraces 'New Science' Of Psychedelics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/680162831/680226347" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript