Terry Gross, the host of National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air,” will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. She’s thrilled.
“I’m hoping somebody calls me ‘Hall of Famer Terry Gross,'” said the 39-year radio veteran. “It sounds so, like, Phillies.”
Gross started volunteering for public radio in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1975, she moved to WHYY in Philadelphia to host “Fresh Air,” which was a local talk show at the time. In 1985, the show was picked up by NPR and went national.
Outside of radio, she has appeared on “The Simpsons,” as herself, as well as in the Mel Gibson movie, “The Beaver,” also as herself. Most recently, she has appeared in a comedy short by comedian Mike Birbiglia, which poked fun at her calm and sincere interview style.
As one of the most recognized voices in public broadcasting, Gross will be inducted alongside one of the most recognized from the commercial radio world, Howard Stern.
The two personalities might seem polar opposites; where Gross has a reputation as an intelligent and probing interviewer, Stern’s wildly popular show is often vulgar and crass.
But Gross calls Stern “brilliant.”
“He’s taught a lot of us, including me, what it sounds like to be really casual on the air,” said Gross. “He has elevated office gossip into almost an art form.”
Stern has refused several invitations to appear on “Fresh Air.” Gross hopes to meet him at the Chicago induction ceremony in November, if he attends.
“In terms of being crass, he is. That’s not my favorite part of him,” said Gross. “The part I enjoy isn’t when he’s having strippers on the show. I really don’t like that at all. But in the way Lenny Bruce was a champion talker, I think Howard Stern is, too. They know how to talk in an almost musical way that compels you to listen.”
Gross plans to attend the induction ceremony. However, as a longtime radio professional who does not have to dress up for for work, she feels uncomfortable at formal affairs. “I wish it is a come-as-you-are induction.”