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, December 07, 2018
Sheldon Harnick, John Russell and Steve Young discuss "industrial musicals," Broadway-style productions written and performed at the behest of corporations. Originally broadcast Nov. 5, 2013.
Thursday, December 06, 2018
Best known for his roles in Manchester by the Sea and Lady Bird, Hedges stars as a teenager in rehab for opioid addiction in Ben is Back. He's also nominated for a Golden Globe for Boy Erased.
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Hudson lived a double life as a Hollywood heartthrob and a closeted gay man. Biographer Mark Griffin says Hudson's death from AIDS in 1985 was a turning point in public awareness of the epidemic.
Monday, December 03, 2018
Cooper makes his directorial debut with a remake of the classic film about a doomed love affair. He hope his version presents a fuller portrait of the iconic characters.
Friday, November 30, 2018
Jay, who died Sunday, was an avid scholar of con games and could make cards disappear and reappear in ways that seemed impossible. He spoke to Fresh Air in 1987, 1998 and 2002.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
When Jonathan Santlofer's wife died five years ago, he was thrown into a "fugue state" of grief. Sketching her portrait from old photographs has helped him stay close to her.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
When Joseph Sakran was 17, he was shot in the throat after a high school football game. That experience inspired him to become a surgeon — and to speak out against gun violence.
Monday, November 26, 2018
Immunologist Daniel Davis says scientists are harnessing the power of the immune system to create new medications to fight cancer, auto-immune conditions and other diseases.
Friday, November 23, 2018
McLorin Salvant first studied classical voice, but turned to jazz because it offered her more range. "In jazz, I felt I could sing these deep, husky lows," she told Terry Gross in this 2015 interview.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Fulks and Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music. They shared songs and stories from their new album during this September 2018 interview.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Malek sang at the top of his lungs while playing Queen's iconic lead singer in the new biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Still, he says, "No one can sing like Freddie Mercury."
Monday, November 19, 2018
The Coen brothers pay homage to old Westerns with their new film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The movie is a collection of six stories that often subvert the expectations of the genre.
Friday, November 16, 2018
In 1978, more than 900 followers of the Rev. Jim Jones committed mass suicide in Guyana. Jeff Guinn explains how Jones captivated so many in The Road to Jonestown. Originally broadcast April 11, 2017.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
A new video series by New York Times reporter Adam Ellick explores Russia's role in spreading fake news, dating back to the '80s conspiracy theory that the AIDS virus was created by the U.S. military.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Sandi Tan was 19 when she wrote and starred in a film directed by her 40-year-old mentor. Then her mentor disappeared with the film footage. Twenty years later, Tan chronicles the mystery in Shirkers.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Karina Longworth's new book, Seduction, tells the story of 10 women who had sexual relationships with Hughes. "These things have always happened and they were never talked about publicly," she says.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
The Spider-Man and Hulk creator spoke to Fresh Air in 1991 about coming up with Spider-Man, inventing new sound effects for his comics and why superheroes have colorful costumes.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Ecologist Rob Dunn's new book describes the tiny life forms, helpful and risky, that live in different parts of the home, including on floors and in water faucets, basements and heating systems.
Friday, November 09, 2018
Brian May spoke to Fresh Air in 2010 about writing "We Will Rock You," recording the many vocals in "Bohemian Rhapsody" and getting a Ph.D. The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody details Queen's meteoric rise.
Thursday, November 08, 2018
In 2015, Saudi Arabia initiated a bombing campaign against Yemen that continues today. Journalist Robert Worth says the results have been devastating — and that the U.S. shares some of the blame.