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:

Rep. Adam Schiff weighs in on the raid at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Schiff reflects on the significance of the top-secret documents seized from Trump's residence. He led the first impeachment and serves on the House's committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.


'Fresh Air' remembers Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier

Friday, August 12, 2022

Dozier and his songwriting partners Brian and Eddie Holland wrote the Motown hits "Stop in the Name of Love," "Baby Love" and "You Can't Hurry Love." He died Aug. 8. Originally broadcast in 2003.


How the Trump White House misled the world about its family separation policy

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Atlantic's Caitlin Dickerson spent 18 months filing lawsuits for documents to put together the story of the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant families at the border.


How the Republican Party came to embrace conspiracy theories and denialism

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank examines how the GOP got to where it is today, with some elected leaders and candidates still endorsing the lie that Trump won. His book is The Destructionists.


Remembering NBA legend Bill Russell

Friday, August 05, 2022

Russell, who died July 31, led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA titles. He was also the first Black head coach in the NBA and a civil rights activist. Originally broadcast in 2001.


Remembering Irish musician and folklorist Mick Moloney

Friday, August 05, 2022

Moloney recorded or produced more than 70 albums of Irish music and is credited with bringing traditional Irish music to a wider audience. He died July 27. Originally broadcast in 2006 and 2009.


Undercover journalist in Afghanistan finds Taliban are abducting, imprisoning women

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Filmmaker Ramita Navai has seen girls and women forced to marry Taliban members or arrested for violating the morality code. Her new PBS Frontline documentary is Afghanistan Undercover.


College is increasingly out of reach for many students. What went wrong?

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Journalist Will Bunch says instead of opening the door to a better life, college leaves many students deep in debt and unable to find well-paying jobs. His new book is After the Ivory Tower Falls.


Remembering alternative radio pioneer Larry Josephson

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Josephson, who died July 27, started out in 1966 as the host of a free-form morning show on WBAI in New York He later hosted shows and told jokes on many public radio stations.


New book chronicles how America's opioid industry operated like a drug cartel

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Two Washington Post journalists say pharmaceutical companies collaborated with each other — and with lawyers and lobbyists — to create laws to protect the industry. Their new book is American Cartel.


For Oscar Isaac, life — and acting — is all about impermanence

Friday, July 29, 2022

Isaac says the bonds he makes on set are both meaningful and transient. The actor is nominated for an Emmy for his role in Scenes from a Marriage. Originally broadcast Oct. 21, 2021.


'Stop the Steal' has moved beyond Trump. Now it's threatening future elections

Thursday, July 28, 2022

New York Times journalist Charles Homans says scores of groups at the state and local levels, with the help of right wing media figures and activists, are taking aim at the electoral system.


A brain injury cut short Briana Scurry's soccer career. It didn't end her story

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

After a traumatic brain injury left her in terrible pain and unable to work, the legendary goalkeeper had to pawn her Olympic medals. Scurry charts her road to recovery in My Greatest Save.


As 'Better Call Saul' wraps, Bob Odenkirk reflects on his life-changing heart attack

Monday, July 25, 2022

Odenkirk's near-fatal heart attack halted the production of the series' final season. Showrunner Peter Gould says Odenkirk's return to set was was "one of the most hopeful things imaginable."


On HBO's 'Barry,' Bill Hader asks, 'Can you change your nature?'

Friday, July 22, 2022

Hader plays a hitman who enrolls in acting classes in the dark comedy, which he co-created. He's been nominated for Emmy Awards for both acting and directing Barry. Originally broadcast June 2019.


Actor Henry Winkler reflects on his career, from the Fonz to 'Barry'

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Emmy-winning actor talks about struggling with typecasting after Happy Days, his family's immigration story and finding out in his 30s that he had dyslexia. Originally broadcast April 11, 2019.


How the CPI became the most powerful messaging force in the MAGA universe

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Journalist Maggie Severns explains how the Conservative Partnership Institute helped push the Republican party further to the right and became what she calls a "clubhouse" for insurrectionists.


Remembering sculptor Claes Oldenburg, who made monumental everyday objects

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Works by the Swedish-born artist include an oversized rubber stamp in Cleveland, a clothespin in Philadelphia and a flashlight in Las Vegas. Oldenburg died July 18. Originally broadcast in 1992.


'A Strange Loop' writer and composer started out on Broadway as an usher

Monday, July 18, 2022

Michael R. Jackson's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is about a young Black gay musical theater writer named Usher, who works as an usher at a Broadway show — just like Jackson once did.


Singer-songwriter Geoff Muldaur performs jazz and blues from the '20s and '30s

Friday, July 15, 2022

Muldaur's new double CD, His Last Letter, traces the musical influences of his life, and is arranged for, and performed with, Dutch chamber musicians. Originally broadcast December 2009.