Terry Gross, host of NPR’s much-loved and Philadelphia-born radio series Fresh Air, has won the Peabody’s Institutional Award.
Presenting the honor on Tuesday, Stephen Colbert described Gross as “part conversationalist, part therapist and part oral historian” who for decades has treated her audiences to engaging discussions with a wide variety of artists, writers, journalists, actors, and others.
“You feel like you’re being allowed to eavesdrop on a truly fascinating cocktail party conversation,” Colbert said in a videotaped statement.
The award, which was presented to Gross along with the Fresh Air team, is intended to honor 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,” according to the Peabody organization.
“We are so honored to accept this Peabody award on behalf of our whole team,” said Gross.
Gross, in the video statement, tried to share the praise with her executive producer Danny Miller. But Miller turned it back on his host, quoting what singer Johnny Cash said to Gross at the end of their interview: “You’re really good at your job. I appreciate you.”
Fresh Air, which originated from WHYY in Philadelphia and broadcasts daily on NPR stations across the country, 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.”
Since Gross began hosting Fresh Air in 1975, she has conducted over 13,000 interviews. Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, N.Y., and two years later 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 began 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 Peabody Award in 1993.
Other winners of the Institutional Award include ARRAY, “The Simpsons,” “60 Minutes,” “Sesame Street,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Kartemquin Films, and “Frontline.”