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.

Shows:

Terry Gross appears in the following:

'Oscar Wars' spotlights bias, blind spots and backstage battles in the Academy

Monday, February 19, 2024

From relentless campaigning to snubs and speeches, the Academy Awards have often reflected a cultural conflict zone. Michael Schulman discusses the controversies. Originally broadcast Feb. 22, 2023.

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'Rustin' star Colman Domingo says the civil rights activist has been a 'North Star'

Friday, February 16, 2024

Domingo is nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Bayard Rustin, an activist who was forced into the background because he was gay. Originally broadcast Dec. 11, 2024.

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Sterling K. Brown recommends taking it 'moment to moment,' on screen and in life

Friday, February 16, 2024

Brown won Emmys for his roles in The People v. O.J. Simpson and This is Us. Now he's nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar for American Fiction. Originally broadcast Jan. 4, 2024.

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Remembering Bob Edwards, Peabody Award-winning broadcast journalist

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Edwards, who died Feb. 10, was the first and longest-serving host of NPR's Morning Edition, from the show's inception in 1979 until 2004. Originally broadcast in 1993 and 2004.

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Remembering Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in 'Rocky'

Friday, February 09, 2024

Weathers, who died Feb. 1, was a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders before becoming an actor. His credits included Action Jackson, Arrested Development and Happy Gilmore. Originally broadcast in 1988.

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Remembering guitarist Wayne Kramer, founder of the MC5

Friday, February 09, 2024

The Detroit-based band, which Kramer founded in the 1960s, is considered a forerunner of punk rock. Kramer, who died Feb. 2, spoke to Fresh Air in 2002 about the early days of the MC5.

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MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid revisits the legacy and marriage of Medgar and Myrlie Evers

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Reid's new book, Medgar and Myrlie, tells the stories of the civil rights leader from Mississippi and his wife, who became a civil rights activist after Medgar's 1963 assassination.

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'Like it or not, we live in Oppenheimer's world,' says director Christopher Nolan

Friday, February 02, 2024

Nolan's film, which is nominated for 13 Academy Awards, tells the story of Robert Oppenheimer, the man who spearheaded the development of the atomic bomb. Originally broadcast Aug. 14, 2023.

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'New Yorker' writer traces the current U.S. boarder crisis back to the Cold War

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly from Central America, arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border each year. In Everyone Who is Gone is Here, Jonathan Blitzer examines the historical roots of the crisis.

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Remembering Mary Weiss, lead singer of The Shangri-Las

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Shangri-Las mixed a tough image with songs about teen love. Weiss, who died Jan. 19, left the group in the late '60s, and released her fist solo album in 2007. Originally broadcast in 2007.

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Remembering Peter Schickele, the satirical composer behind P.D.Q. Bach

Friday, January 26, 2024

Claiming to be a musicologist, the composer and arranger performed premieres of "newly unearthed" works by the nonexistent Bach. Schickele died Jan. 16. Originally broadcast in 1985.

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How the war between Israel and Hamas widened into a regional conflict

Thursday, January 25, 2024

New York Times correspondent David Sanger says that Iran and its proxies are posing new challenges: "We're seeing outbreaks of low-level but highly damaging conflict all over the region."

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Talking 'Succession' with Jesse Armstrong, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen

Friday, January 19, 2024

The HBO series recently won six Emmy awards. We talked about the show with head writer/creator Armstrong in 2023, plus we listen back to conversations with Cuklin and Macfadyen from 2021 and 2022.

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Remembering Tom Shales, a TV critic with a biting wit

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Known for his strong opinions, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post critic also reviewed films on Morning Edition for two decades. Shales died Jan. 13. Originally broadcast in 1989.

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Remembering Tom Smothers, TV pioneer and satirist

Friday, January 05, 2024

Tom Smothers, who died Dec. 26, was one half of the comedy duo The Smothers Brothers. We listen back to an interview with Tom and Dick Smothers from 1985, and an interview with just Tom in 1997.

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Barbra Streisand shares her secret for keeping performances honest

Monday, January 01, 2024

When she was starring in Funny Girl on Broadway, Streisand says she'd alter the music slightly each night. Her new memoir is My Name is Barbra. Originally broadcast Nov. 8, 2023.

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Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Russell plays tracks from 'The Returner'

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Russell talks and sings about the physical and sexual abuse she endured from her racist adoptive father — and about how she learned she was worthy of being loved. Originally broadcast Sept. 27, 2023.

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'Fresh Air' presents: Christmas with Questlove

Monday, December 25, 2023

Roots cofounder Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson shares his Christmas playlist, which includes songs by DRAM, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Originally broadcast Dec. 21, 2022.

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A roots and rockabilly holiday concert with JD McPherson and his band

Monday, December 25, 2023

McPherson never thought he'd make a Christmas album. Then, he says, "I got a bug in my ear." He and his band perform live in studio from Socks. Originally broadcast Dec. 11, 2018.

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Remembering Andre Braugher, star of 'Homicide' and 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Braugher, who died Dec. 11, trained at Julliard and performed in many Shakespeare productions. He won Emmy Awards for Homicide: Life on the Street and Thief. Originally broadcast in 1995 and 2006.

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