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:

How A Rising Star Of White Nationalism Broke Free From The Movement

Monday, September 24, 2018

Derek Black once promoted a racist agenda by making speeches, hosting a radio show and starting a website. His change of heart is the subject of a new book, written by journalist Eli Saslow.


Muhammad Ali Biography Reveals A Flawed Rebel Who Loved Attention

Friday, September 21, 2018

"I don't think we do Ali any good by treating him as a saint," says biographer Jonathan Eig. "He was a human being, and he was deeply flawed." Originally broadcast Oct. 4, 2017.


Maggie Gyllenhaal Takes On The Power Imbalance Of Sex Work In 'The Deuce'

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When the creators of HBO's The Deuce approached Gyllenhaal about starring as a sex worker on the show, she accepted the role — but only if she could produce as well as act.


Manafort's Guilty Plea Details His Entanglement With Russian-Backed Oligarchs

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New York Times reporter Ken Vogel says that Paul Manafort engaged in illegal lobbying to burnish the image of Viktor Yanukovych, the authoritarian president of Ukraine.


Memoirist: Evangelical Purity Movement Sees Women's Bodies As A 'Threat'

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In Pure, Linda Kay Klein reflects on the "deep, long-lasting shame" caused by churches that claim women and girls are responsible for the sexual desires of men.


For Novelist John Green, OCD Is Like An 'Invasive Weed' Inside His Mind

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Turtles All The Way Down author says OCD "starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have." Originally broadcast Oct. 19, 2017.


Michael Che And Colin Jost On 'SNL,' Hosting The Emmys And Hating Twitter

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The SNL head writers have different attitudes toward co-hosting the Emmy awards Monday night. Jost admits to being nervous, but Che says, "It's comedy! ... There's nothing to be afraid of."


Claire Tomalin Moves 'Between The Trivial And The Tragic' In 'A Life Of My Own'

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

After writing biographies of Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft, Tomalin turned to memoir. Her new work tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life.


Bob Woodward: 'People Need To Wake Up' To What's Happening Under Trump

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The veteran journalist was shocked by the tactics White House staff use to circumvent Trump: "I've never heard in any way of staff going around a president this way." Woodward's new book is Fear.


After Hurricane Maria, Chef José Andrés Had A 'Crazy Dream' To Feed Puerto Rico

Monday, September 10, 2018

The James Beard award-winning chef started out preparing food for doctors and nurses. Then calls started pouring in from across the island. The message was clear, he says: "The island is hungry."


Long Haul Trucker Was 'Completely Seduced' By The Open Road

Friday, September 07, 2018

Finn Murphy has logged over a million miles hauling people's belongings across the country. He describes life on the road as a "reaction against regimentation." Originally broadcast Feb. 14, 2018.


'Fresh Air' Remembers Film Star Burt Reynolds

Friday, September 07, 2018

Reynolds, who died Thursday, appeared in scores of films, including Deliverance and Boogie Nights. He spoke to Terry Gross in 1994 about growing up the son of a sheriff in a small Florida town.


Obama's Former Ethics Czar Discusses Trump, And The Global Threat To Democracy

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Norm Eisen's new book, The Last Palace, tells the story of the mansion he lived in as America's ambassador to the Czech Republic and of Europe's ongoing struggle between democracy and illiberalism.


John Kerry Reflects On Smear Campaigns And Not Taking Anything For Granted

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

During the 2004 presidential election, opponents used falsehoods to attack Kerry's military record. He reflects on that campaign — and on the current state of American politics — in a new memoir.


Her Father Gave Her The Courage To Speak Out Against 'Honor Killings'

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Khalida Brohi grew up in tribal Pakistan, where her 14-year-old cousin was murdered by an uncle after she refused an arranged marriage. Her new memoir is I Should Have Honor.


Trevor Noah Says He Grew Up 'In The Shadow Of A Giant' (His Mom)

Monday, September 03, 2018

The host of the Emmy-nominated Daily Show revisits his childhood in apartheid-era South Africa in the memoir, Born a Crime. Originally broadcast Nov. 22, 2016.


'Awkward' And 'Insecure' Get To The Root Of Writer Issa Rae's Humor

Monday, September 03, 2018

A self-described "awkward black girl," Rae is now nominated for an Emmy for her starring role on Insecure, the HBO series she created. Originally broadcast Nov. 8, 2016.


'Fresh Air' Remembers Choreographer Paul Taylor

Friday, August 31, 2018

Taylor, who died Wednesday, began dancing when he was 22 and worked with some of the world's most renowned choreographers before establishing his own dance troupe. Originally broadcast in 1987.


Alec Baldwin On Career Highs And Lows And Playing A 'Larger Than Life' Trump

Friday, August 31, 2018

Baldwin is nominated for an Emmy for playing the president on SNL. In 2017, he told Fresh Air that he plays the character in a exaggerated way: "It's kind of the Macy's Day Parade [version] of Trump."


Actor Brian Tyree Henry On Fame, Authenticity And 'Atlanta'

Friday, August 31, 2018

Henry is nominated for an Emmy for his role as Alfred, aka the rapper "Paper Boi," on the FX series Atlanta. Originally broadcast April 18, 2018.