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

Ukrainian flags fly in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Oct. 19, marking the graves of soldiers killed in action following the Russian invasion earlier this year. Carl Court/Getty Images hide caption

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A journalist's plea to the West: 'Pay attention to Ukraine and its fate'

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'Armageddon Time' director explores how the world is ruined by 'well-meaning people'

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Singer Brandi Carlile talks ambition, avoidance and finally finding her place

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The 'Fresh Air' interview with 'Looney Tunes' animator Chuck Jones

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'Fresh Air' marks the centennial of Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown

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Mel Brooks says his only regret as a comedian is the jokes he didn't tell

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Simon & Schuster

A cell biologist shares the wonder of researching life's most fundamental form

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Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof' is a dream come true for its lead actor

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"I'm by nature actually a very shy person," Al Yankovic, shown here in 2014, says. "Being somewhat famous has helped me be more social and talk to people." Casey Curry/Invision/AP hide caption

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Casey Curry/Invision/AP

'Weird Al' Yankovic wants to 'bring sexy back' to the accordion

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Misty Copeland has been a principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre since 2015. She took a break from performing due to COVID-19 and the birth of her son in spring 2022, but she hopes to be back on stage in 2023. Drew Gurian/MasterClass hide caption

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'It chips away at you': Misty Copeland on the whiteness of ballet

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'Fresh Air' honors veterans with interviews with 2 men who served in WWII

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"I was a fearful kid, and my parents didn't quite know what to do with that," Steven Spielberg says. He's pictured above in New York City in March 2017. Mike Coppola/Getty Images hide caption

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Steven Spielberg was a fearful kid who found solace in storytelling

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'Fresh Air' remembers rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis

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Billy Porter makes peace with himself: 'I set myself free, honey. No more secrets'

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