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'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.

Shows:

Terry Gross appears in the following:

For Novelist John Green, OCD Is Like An 'Invasive Weed' Inside His Mind

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have," Green says. His new novel, Turtles All The Way Down, is about a teenage girl with OCD.

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'I Am Full Of Contradictions': Novelist Amy Tan On Fate And Family

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In Where the Past Begins, Tan connects her experience with spirituality to that of her parents and grandmother. "I don't consider myself any religion," she says. " ... I have an amalgam of beliefs."

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Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life 'In An Underslept State'

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," says sleep scientist Matthew Walker. His new book is Why We Sleep.

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Jimmy Fallon On The School Of 'SNL' And His Tendency To Smile Too Much

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"There was a report card from kindergarten and the comment from the teacher was, 'Jimmy smiles too much,' " Fallon says. "I think I would smile even when I was getting yelled at."

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Noah Baumbach Explores Love, Resentment And Anger In 'The Meyerowitz Stories'

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Baumbach's new film mixes comedy with deep emotional pain. It revolves around three adult siblings whose father is a self-absorbed sculptor. Baumbach's previous films include The Squid and the Whale.

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Tom Petty To 'Fresh Air': 'The Songs Mean A Lot To People, And It Means A Lot To Me'

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Petty, who died Monday night, spoke with Terry Gross in 2006 about the seeds of his Hall Of Fame career: "We always wanted very much to create our own sound."

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Cartoonist Roz Chast Draws A 'Love Letter' To New York City, Cockroaches And All

Monday, October 02, 2017

The New Yorker cartoonist channels her affection for the city into a new tongue-in-cheek guidebook, Going Into Town. "It's just fun," Chast says of New York. "Everything seems to suggest stories."

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Hugh Hefner On Early 'Playboy' And Changing America's Values

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In 1999, Hefner told Fresh Air that his magazine was a reaction to his own upbringing. "I believe and hope that Playboy [has] played some small part in changing the values ... of our time," he said.

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'Deuce' Creators Capture The Birth Of America's Billion-Dollar Porn Industry

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

David Simon and George Pelecanos' new show depicts the growth of porn from illegal enterprise to full-fledged industry. Since then, Simon says, "the 'pornographication' of America has been profound."

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A Former Speechwriter Looks Back On His 'Hopey, Changey' Years With Obama

Monday, September 25, 2017

David Litt says writing speeches and jokes for former President Obama was often a delicate task: "There's a whole industry of people trying to take your words out of context."

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In 'Vietnam War,' Ken Burns Wrestles With The Conflict's Contradictions

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Burns says he and co-director Lynn Novick initially thought they understood the Vietnam War. But when they started putting together their new PBS series, they realized, "We knew nothing."

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Clinton Won't Rule Out Questioning 2016 Election, But Says No Clear Means To Do So

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hillary Clinton tells Fresh Air the mechanism for such a challenge does not exist in the U.S. "and usually we don't need it." She also says she is "optimistic about our country, but I am not naive."

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Reporter Katy Tur Shares Her 'Front-Row' View Of The Trump Campaign

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tur was at a rally in South Carolina when Trump called her name and pointed at her from the podium. Then, she says, "The entire place turns and they roar as one ... like a giant, unchained animal."

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Sept. 11 First Responder Fights On Behalf Of Others Who Rushed To Help

Monday, September 11, 2017

Demolition supervisor John Feal was working at ground zero 16 years ago when an 8,000-pound piece of steel crushed his foot. After being denied medical compensation, he became an advocate for others.

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Director Mike White Unpacks The Impulse To Compare In 'Brad's Status'

Thursday, September 07, 2017

In White's new film, a father starts to experience status anxiety while taking his son on a college tour. White says it's a universal situation, "but it's definitely a waste of time and energy."

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Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own 'Legacy' Of Spying

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The 85-year-old novelist worked for MI5 and MI6 early in his career. "I felt I had to suppress my humanity," he says of those years. His new novel is called A Legacy of Spies.

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Jerry Lewis On His Borscht Belt Childhood And The Lonely Work Of Comedy

Monday, August 21, 2017

In 2005, Lewis told Fresh Air about his partnership with singer Dean Martin and how he honed his comic skills while working as a busboy. The comedian, actor and director died Sunday at the age of 91.

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'Cabaret Hurricane' Bridget Everett Moves To The Big Screen In 'Patti Cake$'

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.

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Novelist Max Brooks On Doomsday, Dyslexia And Growing Up With Hollywood Parents

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.

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Poet Imagines Life Inside A 1910 Institution That Eugenics Built

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.

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