Terry Gross Terry Gross is the host and executive producer of NPR's Fresh Air.
Terry Gross square 2017
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Terry Gross

WHYY
Terry Gross
WHYY

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 interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gross, who has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in greater Philadelphia, isn't afraid to ask tough questions. But Gross sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrendering 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," Gross says. "But the line can shift, depending on who is asking the questions. 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 Air has been produced by WHYY-FM. The program is broadcast on 566 stations and became the first non-drive time show in public radio history to reach more than five million listeners each week in fall 2008, a presidential election season. In fall 2011, Fresh Air reached 4.4 million listeners a week.

Fresh Air with Terry Gross has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award in 1994 for its "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insight." America Women in Radio and Television presented Gross with a Gracie Award in 1999 in the category of National Network Radio Personality. In 2003, she received the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow Award for her "outstanding contributions to public radio" and for advancing the "growth, quality and positive image of radio." In 2007, Gross received the Literarian Award. In 2011, she received the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community.

Gross is the author of All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists, published by Hyperion in 2004.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gross received a bachelor's degree in English and M.Ed. in communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Gross was recognized with the Columbia Journalism Award from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Princeton University in 2002. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993 and Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007, both from SUNY–Buffalo. She also received a Doctor of Letters from Haverford College in 1998 and Honorary Doctor of Letters from Drexel University in 1989.

Story Archive

Remembering Victor Navasky, longtime editor and publisher of 'The Nation'

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Novelist Julie Otsuka draws on her own family history in 'The Swimmers'

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An artisanal miner carries a sack of ore at the Shabara artisanal mine near Kolwezi, DRC, on Oct. 12, 2022. Junior Kannah /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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How 'modern-day slavery' in the Congo powers the rechargeable battery economy

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"I was much less self-assured now that I was a patient myself," says neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. "I suddenly felt much less certain about how I'd been [as a doctor], how I'd handled patients, how I'd spoken to them." Image Source/Getty Images hide caption

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After cancer diagnosis, a neurosurgeon sees life, death and his career in a new way

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Remembering David Crosby, the outspoken co-founder of Crosby, Stills & Nash

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Celebrating the centennial of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips

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How will the hard-right Republicans in Congress wield their newfound power?

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Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2022 in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images hide caption

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The U.S. faces 'unprecedented uncertainty' regarding abortion law, legal scholar says

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Remembering Russell Banks, a novelist who depicted working-class life

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Revisiting Larry Sultan's 'Pictures from Home,' a photo memoir of post-WWII life

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) sits next to Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri during a weekly cabinet meeting on Jan. 8, 2023. Ronen Zvulun /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Journalist says Netanyahu's new government is a 'threat to Israeli democracy'

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Lauren Fleshman's memoir, Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man's World, is a memoir and a critique of how the sports world treats female athletes. Ryan Warner/Oiselle hide caption

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The sports world is still built for men. This elite runner wants to change that

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'If I Survive You' author grew up feeling judged — and confused — by race

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'Fresh Air' remembers an icon of Philly sound, music producer Thom Bell

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