On-Air Highlights

'Fresh Air' still strikes chords

Written by witf | Aug 19, 2013 1:25 PM

Audiences have been listening to “Fresh Air,” the Peabody Award-winning interview program out of Philadelphia, for more than 35 years. Since it began in 1975, the program has been showered with positive reviews. Host and executive producer Terry Gross has lent her distinctive voice and interview style to the show for most of its history.

After Gross won the Edward R. Murrow Award for 25 years of service to public radio in 2003, the Philadelphia Inquirer said of the host: “Here’s the life-centric bonus: Gross celebrates the art of conversation. There’s a cacophony of white noise in the world today that drowns out the pleasure of listening to plain old, good talkin’. For that, she deserves more than her award. She deserves our ear.”

“Fresh Air” can be heard on witf at 3 p.m. every weekday afternoon and repeats Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m.

Gross isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, but she creates an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrender them.

Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo. There she hosted and produced several arts, women’s and public affairs programs. 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 halfhour edition of the show, which was distributed nationally by National Public Radio. Since 1987, a daily one-hour national edition of “Fresh Air” has been produced by WHYY-FM. It now airs on 500 stations.

The show has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award in 1994. Gross has been honored with the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community and she is a member of the Radio Hall of Fame. Gross is the author of “All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists.”

Gross was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., earned degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and has received honorary degrees from SUNY Buffalo, Princeton University, Drexel University and Haverford College.

— Excerpted with permission from NPR and WHYY press materials

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