Terry Gross is the host and executive producer of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, produced by WHYY in Philadelphia and distributed by NPR.
Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. She joined the staff of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia in 1975 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 National Public Radio (NPR). Since 1987, a daily, one-hour national edition of Fresh Air has been produced by WHYY-FM; it now airs on 600 stations.
Gross, who has been host of Fresh Air for more than 40 years, isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, but she 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. 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.”
Fresh Air with Terry Gross has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award for its “revelatory interviews and unusual insight.” President Obama presented her with the distinguished 2015 National Humanities Medal for her “artful probing of the human experience.”
Terry Gross, born in Brooklyn, New York, received a bachelor’s degree in English and a M.Ed. in Communications from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. She has received honorary degrees from SUNY Buffalo, Princeton University, Drexel University and Haverford College.