Fresh Air

For other uses, see Fresh air.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Genre Interview
Running time ca. 50 min.
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station WHYY
Syndicates NPR, WHYY
Hosted by Terry Gross
Recording studio Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Air dates since 1975
Audio format Stereophonic

Fresh Air is an American radio talk show broadcast on National Public Radio stations across the United States since 1987. It is produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show's host is Terry Gross. As of June 2009, the show was syndicated to 450 stations and claimed 4.5 million listeners.[1] The show is fed live weekdays at 12:00 noon ET. In addition, some stations carry Fresh Air Weekend, a re-programming of highlights of the past week's interviews.


The show began in 1975 at WHYY with Judy Blank as host. In September of that year, Terry Gross took over as presenter and producer; over 40 years later she remains its chief presenter. The show began broadcasting nationally in 1987. The show primarily includes interviews with prominent figures in various fields, including: arts and entertainment, culture, journalism, and world news. Shorter segments follow the main segment and carry reviews of various cultural and entertainment diversions on a rotating basis. The subjects of the shorter segments include movies, books, stage plays, television programs, as well as recordings of popular music, jazz, and classical music. The program also features commentary from a range of regular contributors, including Maureen Corrigan, David Bianculli, Dave Davies, Ken Tucker, Kevin Whitehead, John Powers, Lloyd Schwartz, David Edelstein, Milo Miles, and Ed Ward.


All of the program's interviews are recorded and later edited. As in the case of many such radio programs, guests are often not in the studio during recording, often speaking remotely from a local station or home studio. When pressing news requires, it has gone live, such as during the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 19, 2013.

Fresh Air interviews are generally first aired on the Monday through Thursday shows. The Friday shows are rebroadcasts of past interviews.

The show's theme song, a jazz piece called "Fresh Air", was composed for the program by Joel Forrester of The Microscopic Septet.

Noteworthy interviews

Fresh Air has become a premiere source of audio journalism and host Terry Gross has interviewed politicians, public intellectuals, and celebrities such as R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe

In February 2002, when Gross interviewed Gene Simmons of Kiss, Simmons discussed his sexual experimentation with women of all age groups and propositioned Gross in demonstration; according to NPR's website, Simmons withheld permission to supply transcripts or audio of the interview on their website.[2][3][4]

In July 2010, Fresh Air was removed from Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio because of "recurring inappropriate content", shortly after the broadcast of an interview with comedian Louis C.K. in which he discussed his sex life.[5] It has since returned to the MPB evening line-up.[6]


In 1993, NPR, Fresh Air, and Gross were presented with the George Foster Peabody Award with praise for her "probing questions, revelatory interviews, and unusual insights."[7]

In 2004, Gross published a book of her favorite interviews from the show under the title All I Did Was Ask.[8]


  1. "Fresh Air from WHYY: About the program". Fresh Air. NPR; WHYY. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  2. "Leader and Bassist of the Band Kiss, Gene Simmons". Fresh Air. NPR; WHYY. 2002-02-04. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  3. Gene Simmons (4 February 2002). "Transcript of Gene Simmons and Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air". Fresh Air (Interview). Interview with Terry Gross. WHYY; NPR. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  4. Gene Simmons (4 February 2002). "Listen to the Terry Gross and Gene Simmons Interview". Fresh Air (Interview). Interview with Terry Gross. WHYY; NPR. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  5. O'Neal, Sean (2010-07-16). "Louis C.K. interview gets NPR's Fresh Air banned in Mississippi". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  6. "MPB : Mississippi Public Broadcasting". Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  7. "The Peabody Award Winners Archive". The Peabody Award. Archived from the original on 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  8. Gross, Terry (2004). All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0010-3.
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