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's interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by host and executive producer Terry Gross' unique approach. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says The San Francisco Chronicle.
Gross isn't afraid to ask tough questions, but she sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrender 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. But the line can shift, depending on who is asking the questions," observes Gross. "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 Airhas been produced by WHYY-FM; it now airs on more than 450 stations. Compilation CDs of Fresh Air are available in the NPR Shop.
Gross's book All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists was published by Hyperion in 2004.
In addition to her work on Fresh Air, Gross has served as guest host for the weekday and weekend editions of NPR's All Things Considered. Her appearances include a spot as co-anchor of the PBS show, The Great Comet Crash, produced by WHYY-TV, a short series of interviews for WGBH-TV/Boston, and an appearance as guest-host for CBS Nightwatch.
In 1994, Fresh Air received a Peabody Award, which cited Gross for her "probing questions and unusual insights." In 1999, America Women in Radio and Television gave Gross a Gracie Award in the category of National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, Gross received the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for advancing the "growth, quality and positive image of radio." She has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Haverford College and Drexel University. She received a bachelor's degree in English and an M. ED. in Communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her alma mater awarded her an honorary degree in 2007 and a 1993 Distinguished Alumni Award. Gross was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Terry Gross appears in the following:
Thursday, August 17, 2017
The comic and cabaret performer says she's had audience members walk out of her raunchy live act. In her new film, she plays a washed-up local rock star whose daughter is an aspiring rap artist.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Brooks' stable childhood with parents Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft stands in contrast to the wild stories he tells in novels like World War Z and Minecraft: The Island.
Monday, August 14, 2017
Molly McCully Brown, who has cerebral palsy, says that if she'd been born in a different era, she might have been sent to the "Virginia State Colony," an early landmark of the U.S. eugenics movement.
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, author of Extreme Measures, discusses the ethics of using medical assistance to hasten death. Zitter is the subject of the Netflix documentary Extremis.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
A century ago, two brothers took the world by storm with their mass-produced boxed cereal. Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles the contentious relationship between the creators of Corn Flakes.
Monday, August 07, 2017
Science journalist and author Robert Wright says that Buddhist enlightenment might help counteract our natural tendency towards unhappiness. His new book is Why Buddhism is True.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
"I have no illusions about the possibility of changing Donald Trump's mind," he says. Instead, the former vice president wants to build bipartisan consensus to address the crisis.
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Ariel Levy was five months pregnant and alone in a hotel room in Mongolia when she gave birth. Her son lived only 10 minutes. Afterward, Levy was haunted by the notion that she had caused his death.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Moreau pursued acting despite her father's disapproval. She told Fresh Air, "I led a double life. ... He discovered it when he saw my picture on the front page." Moreau died Monday at the age of 89.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Mrs. Fletcher tells the story of Eve, a single mother whose only child, Brendan, has left for college. Perrotta says the book was inspired by the upheaval he experienced when his own kids moved out.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Williams joined The Daily Show when she was 22. She says, "I was younger and I was black and I was a woman, so ... I'm like, I have something to prove." She now stars in The Incredible Jessica James.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The singer describes skiffle as "a bunch of British school boys in the mid '50s playing Lead Belly's repertoire ... on acoustic guitars." Bragg's new book is Roots, Radicals And Rockers.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Author Joshua Green says that although Steve Bannon was instrumental to Donald Trump's election, it now appears that the president lacks the ability to implement Bannon's nationalist vision.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Romero was known for graphic horror films like Night of the Living Dead, which showed corpses rising up to feast on the living. He spoke to Fresh Air in 1988.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Comic Kumail Nanjiani remembers the first time he thought of marrying then-girlfriend Emily V. Gordon: when he saw her in a coma. Now the couple has co-written a romantic comedy based on their story.
Monday, July 10, 2017
Wendy Whelan feared she would never dance again after undergoing hip surgery. The documentary Restless Creature chronicles her recovery and final performance with the New York City Ballet.
Thursday, July 06, 2017
"Professional Muslim" Haroon Moghul says, "Every time something bad happens you're called upon to apologize. ... Your entire identity is pegged to events in other parts of the world."
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a catastrophe. One Cold War-era plan put the post office in charge of cataloging the dead.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Alexie is excited for a new generation of Native American writers to come on the scene, "so I don't have to answer all the questions," he says. His new memoir is You Don't Have to Say You Love Me.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least." The moment she realized she "never want to write about fatness" was the same moment she knew this was a memoir she had to write.