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:
Friday, April 20, 2018
Anderson, who died April 16, began his career as a street performer specializing in elaborate pranks. He spoke to Fresh Air in 1989 about an illusion in which he pretended to chop off his own hand.
Friday, April 20, 2018
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker, who died on April 13, spoke to Fresh Air in 1994 about growing up in the former Czechoslovakia, first under the Gestapo, then under communist rule.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Journalist Robert Draper says "no one understands Trump's base" better than White House social media director (and former caddie) Dan Scavino.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Henry plays Alfred, aka the rapper "Paper Boi'," on the FX series Atlanta. As his character becomes more successful, Henry says, he's getting "a little further away from the essence of who [he] is."
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
The former first lady, who died Tuesday, told Terry Gross in 1994 that she grew up thinking she'd be a nurse. "But then I met that marvelous George [H.W.] Bush and the nursing went out the window."
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
The former FBI director tells Terry Gross that he wants to sound the alarm about the "forest fire" of the Trump presidency — and also to defend the FBI against charges of partisanship.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Former FBI Director James Comey's book, A Higher Loyalty, comes out Tuesday. Terry Gross of WHYY's Fresh Air talked to Comey about his tell-all memoir a day before it published.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Bon Jovi spoke to Fresh Air in '09 about growing up, getting his first single on the radio and having group therapy with his bandmates. He'll be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute. "Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty," he says.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Author Robert Kuttner says the decline of social contracts in Western democracies has led to the rise of right-wing populism. His new book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
A harrowing accident left Brady Jandreau with a skull and brain injury — but he refused to quit riding. He plays himself in director Chloé Zhao's slightly fictionalized retelling of his story.
Monday, April 09, 2018
Todd Purdum's new book, Something Wonderful, is about the creative partnership and strained personal relationship behind such hit shows as Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific and The Sound of Music.
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
During a recent hiatus from music, Eels founder Mark Oliver Everett got married, got divorced and, at the age of 54, had a son. His latest album, The Deconstruction, is a reflection of it all.
Tuesday, April 03, 2018
The former secretary of state describes President Trump as "the most anti-democratic leader that I have studied in American history." Albright's new book is Fascism: A Warning.
Monday, April 02, 2018
Bochco, who died Sunday, created numerous series, including Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. TV Critic David Bianculli looks back on Bochco's impact, then we listen to his 1989 Fresh Air interview.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Alyssa Mastromonaco worked in the West Wing for six exhilarating and exhausting years, which she describes in her memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? She spoke to Fresh Air in 2017.
Friday, March 30, 2018
In 2012, Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader told Fresh Air that watching old films as a child sparked his interest in Hollywood. His latest project is the HBO series Barry.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick explains the connection between the Mueller Investigation and efforts by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to influence U.S. international policy.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Sara Saedi was two when her parents fled Iran to California. Her new memoir describes her 18-year-long path to citizenship, and the lingering anxiety of being undocumented.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Neidlinger, who died March 16, was a child prodigy on the cello who went on to perform in the New York Philharmonic and also as a studio and jazz musician. Originally broadcast in 1989.