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.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

In the late 2000s, Robert Pattinson began playing vampire Edward Cullen in the film adaptations of the Twilight novels. "It was so sudden, it didn't feel real to me at all," he says of the fame. Fadel Senna /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Fadel Senna /AFP via Getty Images

Robert Pattinson Does Not Want To Play An English Prince, Thank You Very Much

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/780437800/780494243" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

"I will be a storyteller 'till the day I die," Reese Witherspoon says. "It's really what I was born to do." Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner Image hide caption

toggle caption
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner Image

'From Book To Script To Screen,' Reese Witherspoon Is Making Roles For Women

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/778863995/779374393" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How Internet Trolls And Online Extremists Are 'Hijacking' American Politics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/778502116/778567269" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Filmmaker Judd Apatow describes his mentor, the comedian Garry Shandling (above), as a perfectionist: "He just could not just be chill and make it easy on himself. He wanted everything to be amazing." Bonnie Schiffman/HBO hide caption

toggle caption
Bonnie Schiffman/HBO

After Comic Garry Shandling's Death, Judd Apatow Found Zen In His Diaries

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/778130375/778289653" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How The Fugitive Slave Act Paved The Way For The Civil War

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/777212545/777664095" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Amid Heightened Partisanship, A War Brews Between Trump And Congress

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/777197508/777280014" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Saeed Jones has served as BuzzFeed's LGBT editor and culture editor, and is the author of Prelude to Bruise. Courtesy of Saeed Jones hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Saeed Jones

'We're All Struggling': Writer Saeed Jones Reflects On Identity And Acceptance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/776747102/776853480" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Allison Moorer's music has been nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and an Academy of Country Music Award. Heidi Ross/Da Capo Press hide caption

toggle caption
Heidi Ross/Da Capo Press

Years After Her Parents' Murder-Suicide, Musician Allison Moorer Finds Healing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/775990825/776131572" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Punk Icon And Memoirist Viv Albertine On A Lifetime Of Fighting The Patriarchy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/775362224/775455361" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Remembering Robert Evans, Producer Of 'The Godfather' And 'Chinatown'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/775364522/775455353" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail says portraying Elliot (Rami Malek) in a hooded sweatshirt was a deliberate choice: "That hoodie made us closer to who Elliot was." Elizabeth Fisher/USA Network hide caption

toggle caption
Elizabeth Fisher/USA Network

'Mr. Robot' Creator Says His Own Anxiety And Hacking Helped Inspire The Show

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/774691659/774804787" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Kevin Wilson's previous books include The Family Fang, Perfect Little World and Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine. Leigh Anne Couch/Ecco hide caption

toggle caption
Leigh Anne Couch/Ecco

For Author Kevin Wilson, Writing Offers A Brief Reprieve From Tourette's

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/774349430/774459150" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Prince performs during the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show in Miami, Fla. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prince Wanted To 'Break The Mold Of The Memoir,' Says His Co-Writer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/773398141/774144305" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tom Perrotta Shares 'Post-Parental' Reflections From An Empty Nest

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/773371999/773448767" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Booker T. Jones Reflects On His Life in Music

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/773374901/773448770" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript