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.

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Story Archive

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'Unholy' Examines The Alliance Between White Evangelicals And Trump

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Sen. Joseph McCarthy (right) consults with attorney Roy Cohn, circa 1954. In the 1970s, Cohn would become a mentor and lawyer to Donald Trump. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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'We've Got To Learn From Our History,' 'Demagogue' Author Warns

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Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi began collecting cookbooks and recipes in her teens. In the new Hulu series, Taste the Nation, she travels the country to learn how foods from different cultures contributed to American cuisine. Dominic Valente/Hulu hide caption

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Padma Lakshmi, Model, Actor And TV Host, Says Above All, She's A Writer

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'Fresh Air' Remembers Carl Reiner, A Legendary Writer, Producer And Performer

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Militarization Of Police Means U.S. Protesters Face Weapons Designed For War

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo return as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, the roles they played in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. A film production of the show, taped in 2016, debuts on Disney+ on Friday. Disney+ hide caption

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Disney+

'The Past Isn't Done With Us,' Says 'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

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LGBTQ Activist Cleve Jones: 'I'm Well Aware How Fragile Life Is'

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'Fresh Air' Marks Pride Month With Novelist Marijane Meaker

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Christine Baranski On Putting Up A 'Good Fight' During 'This Dystopian Era'

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A man kneels and raises his fist in the air during a march and protest to mark the Juneteenth holiday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial June 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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A Call For Reparations: How America Might Narrow The Racial Wealth Gap

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Author Susan Burton struggled with disordered eating for decades. "Hunger was something that I believed protected me and gave me power," she says. Anna Kurzaeva/Getty Images hide caption

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From 'Empty' To 'Satisfied': Author Traces A Hunger That Food Can't Fix

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Rhiannon Giddens Sings Slave Narratives

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Bernice Johnson Reagon On Leading Freedom Songs During The Civil Rights Movement

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A Mother Reflects On Privilege, Adoption And Parenting 'Without Perfection'

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