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

Tuesday

Friday

In 'Problemista' Julio Torres spins immigration stress into satire

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Monday

In 1981, this Sondheim musical flopped. Now 'Merrily We Roll Along' is a hit

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Friday

For 'Such Kindness' novelist Andre Dubus III, chronic pain is a fact of life

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Wednesday

Yo-Yo Ma performs in Washington, D.C., on June 25, 2018. Larry French/Getty Images North America hide caption

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Larry French/Getty Images North America

Yo-Yo Ma on ‘touching infinity’ through his nearly 300-year-old cello, Petunia

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Friday

A look back at Stax Records with Steve Cropper, Booker T. and Isaac Hayes

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Remembering alto saxophonist David Sanborn

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Friday

Remembering filmmaker Roger Corman, king of B-movies

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Wednesday

Gaza will be 'one big displacement camp' for the foreseeable future, journalist says

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Friday

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses 'The Sympathizer' and his escape from Vietnam

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Thursday

Remembering rock and roll guitarist Duane Eddy

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Remembering minimalist painter and sculptor Frank Stella

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Tuesday

Griner competes for Team USA on Aug. 8, 2021, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Griner won gold medals in both Tokyo and in Rio de Janeiro. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Brittney Griner reflects on 'Coming Home' after nearly 300 days in a Russian prison

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Friday

Remembering novelist, screenwriter and memoirist Paul Auster

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Monday

Jon Bon Jovi, shown here in 2011, says the band's 1986 hit "Livin' on a Prayer" has "touched more lives than I could have ever dreamt." David Bergman/Hulu hide caption

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David Bergman/Hulu

'I can only give the best': Bon Jovi on vocal surgery and the road to recovery

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Friday

Novelist John Green says OCD is like an 'invasive weed' inside his mind

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Tuesday

"Music has given me my whole life," St. Vincent says. "It was hard work, but it's worth it because every night you get to spend 90 minutes with people and go someplace completely out of this world." Alex Da Corte/Nasty Little Man hide caption

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Alex Da Corte/Nasty Little Man

St. Vincent offers tension, release and sonic 'jump scares'

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Monday

A voter leaves a voting booth in Concord, N.H., the during primary election on Jan. 23, 2024. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

How the Founding Fathers' concept of 'Minority Rule' is alive and well today

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Friday

Remembering documentary filmmaker Eleanor Coppola

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Remembering Robert MacNeil, longtime host of PBS 'NewsHour'

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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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