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.


Terry Gross appears in the following:

'Reluctant Psychonaut' Michael Pollan Embraces 'New Science' Of Psychedelics

Friday, May 24, 2019

Author Michael Pollan experimented with mushrooms, LSD and other psychedelics while researching his latest book, How to Change Your Mind. Originally broadcast May 15, 2018.


Lizzo On Feminism, Self-Love And Bringing 'Hallelujah Moments' To Stage

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The flute-playing pop star celebrates self-acceptance on her latest album, Cuz I Love You. "About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body," she says.


Journalist Chronicles The 'Power Struggle' Within The NRA

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New York Times reporter Danny Hakim discusses conflicts within the NRA's leadership, its lawsuit against its advertising and PR company, and what leaked documents reveal about the organization.


'Dementia Reimagined' Asks: Can There Be Happiness For Those With Memory Loss?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

While caring for her mother, who had dementia, bioethicist Tia Powell began imagining a different way to approach the disease. Her new book looks at long-term care options and end-of-life decisions.


'Filth Elder' John Waters Says There Are Still 'Plenty Of Rules' Left To Break

Monday, May 20, 2019

The cult filmmaker, 73, has plenty of ideas about what older people should and shouldn't do. "You can't be trying too hard to rebel [when] you're older," Waters says. His new book is Mr. Know-It-All.


Novelist Stephen McCauley Embraces Life On A 'Small, Everyday Scale'

Friday, May 17, 2019

McCauley's novel, My Ex-Life, is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay. "All relationships evolve," he says. Originally broadcast June 20, 2018.


Howard Stern On 'Fresh Air': Part 2

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

In the second half of our two-part interview, Stern talks about his 2017 cancer scare, his thoughts on retirement and his mother's depression. His new book is Howard Stern Comes Again.


'Fresh Air' Remembers Hollywood Legend Doris Day

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The singer and actor, who died May 12, made nearly 40 movies over the course of her career. In 1968, Day walked away from performing and began rescuing animals. Originally broadcast in 2012.


Howard Stern Tells Terry Gross His 'Pure Id' Days Are Behind Him

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Stern says he's not the raunchy shock jock he once was. "If I hadn't grown and evolved and changed ... I don't know that I could still be on the radio." His new book is Howard Stern Comes Again.


'Fleabag' And 'Killing Eve' Creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge Is Full Of Surprises

Monday, May 13, 2019

Waller-Bridge writes female characters who are flawed and unpredictable. Her Fleabag character struggles to maintain a facade of confidence, while her characters on Killing Eve hide other secrets.


'Fresh Air' Celebrates 'Veep,' A Comedy Series Skewering Presidential Politics

Friday, May 10, 2019

As the HBO series Veep concludes its seventh and final season, we listen back to archival interviews with showrunner David Mandel and shows stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale.


Eugenics, Anti-Immigration Laws Of The Past Still Resonate Today, Journalist Says

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Daniel Okrent, author of The Guarded Gate, draws a parallel between the eugenics movement, which helped shape U.S. immigration in the early 20th century, and President Trump's hard-line stance today.


'No Visible Bruises' Upends Stereotypes Of Abuse, Sheds Light On Domestic Violence

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

An average of four women are killed by their partners every day in America. Crisis center CEO Suzanne Dubus and writer Rachel Louise Snyder talk about how to help women leave abusive relationships.


'Fresh Air' Remembers 'Boyz N The Hood' Director John Singleton

Friday, May 03, 2019

Singleton, who died April 29, spoke to Fresh Air in 1991 about his semi-autobiographical movie, which centered on kids growing up surrounded by drug addiction and gang violence in South Central L.A.


Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser, Wife Of 'Guys And Dolls' Creator Frank Loesser

Friday, May 03, 2019

Jo Sullivan Loesser, who died April 28, married Frank Loesser after starring in his Broadway show, The Most Happy Fella. After Frank died in 1969, she helped preserve his legacy.


Journalist Explains John Bolton's Push For 'Aggressive Use' Of American Power

Thursday, May 02, 2019

New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins says President Trump's current national security adviser is a hawk who sees America as "a colossus operating anywhere it wants."


How Drug Companies Helped Shape A Shifting, Biological View Of Mental Illness

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Mind Fixers, by historian Anne Harrington, takes a hard look at the ways the marketing of a new pill to treat a mental disorder can change the way the condition is defined and treated.


'Moneyland' Reveals How Oligarchs, Kleptocrats And Crooks Stash Fortunes

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Journalist Oliver Bullough runs kleptocracy tours in London, in which he points out mansions bought by corrupt foreign leaders and oligarchs. Moneyland describes their secretive transnational world.


David Carr's Daughter On The 'Grand Caper' Of Life, And The Grief Of Loss

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Erin Lee Carr says her father's death "is the most profound loss I will ever experience." Carr's new memoir about family, addiction, mentorship and memory is called All That You Leave Behind.


Patricia Arquette Explores The 'Toxic Codependency' Of Munchausen By Proxy

Monday, April 29, 2019

Arquette plays a Missouri woman who falsely convinced the world that her child was seriously ill, in the Hulu series The Act. She says it was "very weird" getting into the character's head.