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:
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a catastrophe. One Cold War-era plan put the post office in charge of cataloging the dead.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Alexie is excited for a new generation of Native American writers to come on the scene, "so I don't have to answer all the questions," he says. His new memoir is You Don't Have to Say You Love Me.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least." The moment she realized she "never want to write about fatness" was the same moment she knew this was a memoir she had to write.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Joe Biden became a senator at 30 and this is the first time in 44 years that he hasn't been in office. He talks with Terry Gross about patterns in U.S. politics and his hopes for the Trump presidency.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The SNL veteran used to ruminate over shows that didn't quite hit the mark; now the he resists the urge to look back: "It's nice to be in this place where you can be very forward focused," he says.
Thursday, June 08, 2017
In 2011, Manal al-Sharif filming herself driving in a country where women are banned from getting behind the wheel. Driving, she says, is "a way to emancipate women. It gives them so much liberty."
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Six years after the demise of his Breaking Bad character, Esposito is back on TV as the vicious drug lord Gus Fring. He says the current role allows him to take the character "back in time."
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Paul Nicklen has spent decades documenting the Arctic and the Antarctic. "I want people to realize that ice is like the soil in the garden," he says. "Without ice the polar regions cannot exist."
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Sedaris' Theft by Finding is a collection of excerpts from those diaries. In it, he revisits major turning points, like how he met his longtime boyfriend and his decision to stop drinking.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
As a former SNL cast member, Franken tends to see humor in politics. Despite this, he says his gut reaction to the Trump administration isn't levity: "This guy is outside the norm in many ways."
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Now that the second season of his Netflix series is out, the comic is looking forward to some down time. "Forget season three of Master of None," he says. "I'm ... doing season 34 of Aziz Ansari."
Thursday, May 18, 2017
"I'm an Indian-American-Muslim kid," Minhaj says, "but am I more Indian or am I more American? What part of my identity am I?" His new Netflix special is called Homecoming King.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
For Susan Burton, getting on track after being released from prison was a daunting experience. Now she's determined to help other women follow in her footsteps. Her new memoir is Becoming Ms. Burton.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Giddens' Freedom Highway is an exploration of African-American experiences accompanied by the banjo, with "a sound, that deepness, that quality is what people associated with American music."
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I Love Dick tackles themes of gender, sexual obsession and artistic insecurity, all through a humorous lens. "Transparent was my origin story," Soloway says. "This is my story about finding my voice."
Monday, May 08, 2017
As a young woman, Sidibe struggled to find work before landing the film role that would change her life. "This is my path, and I'm really grateful that I'm on it," Sidibe says of her acting career.
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a "state-sponsored system of segregation," in which people of color were purposely excluded from suburbs.
Monday, May 01, 2017
Feeling out of place is a fact of life for Bell, who describes himself as a "black and proud ... mama's boy." He celebrates his outsider status in the new memoir The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Dr. Elizabeth Ford treated mentally ill inmates in New York City for more than a decade. It was almost universal, she says, that they had suffered abuse or significant neglect as children.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
As President Trump approaches his 100th day in office, White House correspondent Maggie Haberman of The New York Times says "the magnitude of the job is sinking in for him."