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:
Monday, July 15, 2019
New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum won't appear on panels pitting TV against movies or books. "Everything is valuable in its own way and they don't need to be in tension with one another," she says.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Torn, who died Tuesday, won an Emmy Award for playing the gruff producer Artie on The Larry Sanders Show. In 1994, he told Fresh Air that he based his character on Johnny Carson's long time producer.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Bouton, who died Wednesday, spoke to Fresh Air in 1986 about his 1970 tell-all memoir, in which he drew on his seven years with the New York Yankees to offer an insider's guide to baseball.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
A new Yiddish language production of the musical is currently running off-Broadway. Steven Skybell, who plays Tevye, and Joel Grey, who directs the show, explain why the play still resonates.
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman says recent Supreme Court decisions on redistricting and the 2020 census citizenship question will help determine which party is in power in the next decade.
Monday, July 08, 2019
When medical bioethicist Travis Rieder tried to taper off pain medication after a roadway accident, he was disappointed by his doctors' reaction: "Everybody had a reason to send me to somebody else."
Friday, July 05, 2019
Nelson, now 86, spoke to Fresh Air in 1996 and again in 2006 about music and why he never quite fit in as a country star. Plus, Ken Tucker reviews Nelson's new album, Ride Me Back Home.
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
On Sex and the City, Parker famously explored the nuances of single life. Now, in the HBO comedy series Divorce, she plays a mother of two navigating the dissolution of her marriage.
Monday, July 01, 2019
Verge journalist Casey Newton investigated working conditions for the people who determine what material can be posted to Facebook. Many are traumatized by the images of hate and violence they see.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
A new documentary tells the story of America's first inpatient unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
In the semi-autobiographical show, Ramy, Youssef plays a practicing Muslim who's torn between his faith and his desire to fit in. "Everyone has a code," he says of the compromises his character makes.
Monday, June 24, 2019
"I felt like everything that had mattered to me was gone," Amber Scorah says of her decision to leave the Jehovah's Witness community she grew up in. Her new memoir is Leaving the Witness.
Friday, June 21, 2019
The singer, songwriter and guitarist was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In '18 Prine described how his voice changed after surgery: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier."
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Hader co-created and stars as a hitman who enrolls in acting classes in the dark comedy series. In the second season, Barry struggled to express himself as an actor — while keeping his past a secret.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
DuVernay's Netflix series, When They See Us, tells the story of how five black and brown teenagers were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit.
Monday, June 17, 2019
Physician Louise Aronson treats patients who are in their 60s — as well as those who are older than 100. She writes about changing approaches to elder health care in her book Elderhood.
Friday, June 07, 2019
New Orleans musician Mac Rebennack, A.K.A. Dr. John, died Thursday at 77. He was known for his raspy voice and hits such as "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Such A Night." Originally broadcast in '86.
Thursday, June 06, 2019
New York Times correspondent David Kirkpatrick says the UAE ruler has convinced President Trump to take an aggressive position against his enemies, including Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Applegate stars in the new Netflix series as a woman mourning the sudden death of her husband. "I've been there," she says of her character's "messy" and "unapologetic" grief.
Tuesday, June 04, 2019
Jim DeRogatis recounts his 19-year investigation into the singer in a new book, Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly. "It all happened as everybody watched and nobody did anything," he says.