Described by Colbert as “part conversationalist, part therapist and part oral historian” (watch the video above), Gross, along with the Fresh Air team, were presented the award that recognizes institutions and organizations, as well as series and programs, for “their enduring body of work and their iconic impact on both the media landscape and the public imagination.”
Fresh Air, which originated from WHYY in Philadelphia and broadcasts daily through NPR, is specifically being recognized for its “rich conversation for over 35 years, becoming the indispensable place for listeners to engage with many of the most beloved artists who have shaped society over the last century.”
“Gross possesses what musicians often call ‘big ears’ – a habit of being deeply immersed in the play of the conversation at hand through acute listening,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Her mastery of dialogue is seen in questions that unearth the rudiments and alchemy of artistry. Fresh Air is just that as an interview show. The mission is the soul of art, not the spectacle of celebrity.”
Gross began hosting Fresh Air in 1975 and has since conducted over 13,000 interviews with a wide array of celebrities, artists, politicians, showrunners, musicians, and writers. Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, New York, and two years late 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 series previously won a 1993 Peabody Award.
Recent winners of the Institutional Award include ARRAY, The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, Sesame Street, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Kartemquin Films, Frontline, and ITVS.
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