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:

Punk Legend And Memoirist Viv Albertine On A Lifetime Of Fighting The Patriarchy

Monday, July 16, 2018

"What we conjured up ... was that we weren't going to try and be this constructed ideal of femininity," Albertine says of her band's approach. She recently released a memoir, To Throw Away Unopened.


Remembering 1950s Hollywood Heartthrob Tab Hunter

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hunter, who died Sunday, made more than 50 films, including Damn Yankees, Battle Cry and That Kind of Woman, before coming out as gay later in life. He spoke to Fresh Air in 2005.


'Fresh Air' Conversations With The Late Cartoonist John Callahan

Friday, July 13, 2018

Callahan was a paraplegic, recovered alcoholic who poked fun at people like himself. He died in 2010; the film Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot is based his life. First broadcast in '89 and '91.


Journalist Sees 'Almost No Daylight' Between Fox News And White House Agendas

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman says the president and Fox News host Sean Hannity "speak almost daily, after Hannity's show, sometimes before, and sometimes for up to an hour a day."


Once Militantly Anti-Abortion, Evangelical Minister Now Lives 'With Regret'

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

After decades working to block access to clinics, the Rev. Rob Schenck says he had a change of heart and sees abortion as an issue that should be resolved by "an individual and his or her conscience."


The Science — And Environmental Hazards — Behind Fish Oil Supplements

Monday, July 09, 2018

Author Paul Greenberg says the harvesting of tiny fish for omega-3 supplements is having a ripple effect, leading to less healthy and bountiful oceans. His new book is The Omega Principle.


Fresh Air Weekend: Rapper-Turned-Director Boots Riley; The Flint, Mich., Water Crisis

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Riley mines his experiences as a telemarketer in Sorry To Bother You. David Bianculli review's HBO's Sharper Things. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha raised the alarm about lead in the water in Flint, Mich.


How The 'Battling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast

Friday, July 06, 2018

Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles the contentious relationship between the brothers who created of Corn Flakes and other mass-produced boxed cereals. Originally broadcast Aug. 10, 2017.


Supreme Court Reporter: 'The Politics Of The First Amendment Have Completely Flipped'

Thursday, July 05, 2018

New York Times journalist Adam Liptak says the court's conservative justices have increasingly based their decisions on the foundation of free speech — including a case that dealt a blow to unions.


'Fresh Air' Celebrates July 4 With The Late Flat-Picking Guitar Player Doc Watson

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Watson, who died in 2012, was a pioneering bluegrass, country and folk guitarist and singer who changed the way people thought about mountain music. Originally broadcast in 1988 and 1989.


Former Ambassador To Russia Looks Ahead To Trump's Summit With Putin

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Michael McFaul, who sat in on meetings between Putin and Obama, warns that the Russian president "doesn't meet just for the sake of a meeting; he seeks to advance Russian interests."


Boots Riley Mines His Experiences As A Telemarketer In 'Sorry To Bother You'

Monday, July 02, 2018

The social satire takes aim at corporations that underpay and exploit workers. This is Riley's first film — he has a long career as a rapper — and his band, The Coup, plays on the film's soundtrack.


Remembering Former Poet Laureate Donald Hall

Friday, June 29, 2018

Hall, who died on Saturday, wrote about farm work and his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, in the 1993 memoir Life Work. He and Kenyon spoke to Fresh Air in 1996, and Hall was interviewed again in '02 and '12.


Reporter Covering Immigration Warns Government Is 'Ill Equipped' To Reunite Families

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New Yorker writer Jonathan Blitzer has been in El Paso, Texas, reporting on immigration and family separation. "I've been meeting women who are crying so violently they can barely speak," he says.


Comic W. Kamau Bell On The 'Shades Of America' And Not Feeling 'Black Enough'

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bell's new Netflix special is called Private School Negro. He says the word "negro" offends some people, but he has embraced it: "It takes me right back to the height of the civil rights movement."


'Squeezed' Explores Why America Is Getting Too Expensive For The Middle Class

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Author Alissa Quart writes that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans.


Pediatrician Who Exposed Flint Water Crisis Shares Her 'Story Of Resistance'

Monday, June 25, 2018

After warning of elevated lead levels in her patients in Flint, Mich., Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha faced a backlash: "The state said that I was an unfortunate researcher, that I was causing near-hysteria."


In The Event Of Attack, Here's How The Government Plans 'To Save Itself'

Friday, June 22, 2018

In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect government leaders and the roles for various agencies in the event of catastrophe. Originally broadcast June 21, 2018.


'Born Trump' Examines The 'Emotional Hold' The President Has On His Family

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Journalist Emily Jane Fox focused on Trump's three marriages and five children when writing her new book. "His presence is overwhelming," she says of the president's role in the family.


Novelist Stephen McCauley Embraces Life On A 'Small, Everyday Scale'

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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 — even for people who stay together," he says.