Terry Gross

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.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the first vaccines to be activated by mRNA — and would not have been possible without the invention of the gene editing technology known as CRISPR.

McBride's most recent novel, Deacon King Kong, is set in a Brooklyn housing project in 1969. "Time and place is really crucial to good storytelling," he says. Originally broadcast Feb. 29, 2020.

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Large numbers of police and National Guard were at the U.S. Capitol today to protect against a threat that never materialized. March 4 is a day that holds significance for some conspiracy theorists, and officials had been saying that they'd received reports of a plot by a militia group to attempt to breach the Capitol. Even though that hasn't happened, Capitol Police are asking the National Guard to remain on site for two more months. NPR's Sarah McCammon has been monitoring the situation and she's with us now.

Hi, Sarah.

The film One Night in Miami imagines a night in 1964 where Cooke, Clay, Malcolm X and Jim Brown meet. We listen back to interviews with biographers Peter Guralnick, Jonathan Eig and Alex Haley.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Some of the most viewed, most remarkable and revealing video of the January 6 Capitol riot was shot inside the Senate chamber by my guest, Luke Mogelson. Some of his video was used as evidence by House managers prosecuting Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.

National Book Award-winning author Tim O'Brien is best known for his stories about the Vietnam War, including the 1990 novel, The Things They Carried. But he says he'd give up every book he's written if it meant more time on earth with his two young sons.

Now 74, O'Brien didn't become a father until his late 50s. He says he was initially worried that having children would curtail his ability to write.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, was passed in 2010. Since then, there have been many unsuccessful attempts by Republicans to kill it. The left has been pushing to have the government insure everyone directly through what's described as "Medicare for All." Now this debate is happening during a pandemic, when health care is at the forefront of people's minds.

British actor Sacha Baron Cohen is known for creating absurd characters and then bringing them into the real world — and interacting with people who have no idea the characters aren't real.

Nearly 20 years ago he created the character of Borat Sagdiyev, a dimwitted, anti-Semitic, sexist TV journalist from Kazakhstan. The 2006 film Borat aimed to expose American bigotry, xenophobia and sexism, as the title character's unwitting scene partners reveal their true beliefs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many American families without child care and in-person schooling. Those new household burdens have largely landed on the shoulders of women, says Journalist Claire Cain Miller.

Law professor and human rights activist Rosa Brooks wanted to better understand police violence and the racial disparities in America's criminal justice system, so she decided to join the police force as a volunteer.

As a reserve officer with the Washington, D.C. police department, Brooks received the same training as officers at the police academy and was sent on patrol like other police. From 2016 until 2020, she carried a badge and a gun and worked a minimum of 24 hours a month — all on a voluntary basis.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Christopher Plummer, the prolific actor of stage and screen, best known for playing Captain von Trapp in "The Sound Of Music," died Friday at his home in Connecticut. He was 91. In a career that spanned nearly 70 years, Plummer appeared in more than a hundred films and earned widespread acclaim as a Shakespearean actor.

When it comes to fame, actor Rashida Jones has seen it all. Growing up in Hollywood as the daughter of superstar music producer Quincy Jones and Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton, Jones watched as some people rose to success — and others seemed to fade away.

In her own household, Jones' mother felt uncomfortable with her quick rise to fame at such a young age and became more introverted, while her father continued to become more famous.

In December 2020, a U.S. cybersecurity company announced it had recently uncovered a massive cyber breach. The hack dates back to March 2020, and possibly even earlier, when an adversary, believed to be Russia, hacked into the computer networks of U.S.

In 2014, Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was killed on a sidewalk in Staten Island, N.Y., when a male police officer put him in a chokehold during a misdemeanor arrest.

Filmmaker Deirdre Fishel, who was working just a few blocks away, remembers asking a female police officer if what had happened to Garner could have happened on her watch. The officer said no — that a female officer would have been more likely to deescalate the situation.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WISHIN' AND HOPIN'")

Less than three weeks into the new Biden administration, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has headed up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, is encouraged by the new president's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was very clear what President Biden wanted ... and that is that science was going to rule," Fauci says. "That we were going to base whatever we do, our recommendations or guidelines ... on sound scientific evidence and sound scientific data."

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Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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For much of history, human beings needed to be physically active every day in order to hunt or gather food — or to avoid becoming food themselves. It was an active lifestyle, but one thing it didn't include was any kind of formal exercise.

Daniel Lieberman is a professor in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. He says that the notion of "getting exercise" — movement just for movement's sake — is a relatively new phenomenon in human history.

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Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Iconoclastic humorist Fran Lebowitz used to be known as a writer. Back in the late 1970s and '80s, she released two popular collections of essays featuring her cutting observations and opinions about life. But that part of her career was cut short by a decades-long case of writer's block — now she's known for talking.

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