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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.