Since Terry Gross began doing radio interviews for Philadelphia's WHYY in 1975, she's talked with thousands of the world's most interesting people, from scientists to novelists to rock stars, building a national audience on more than 500 public-broadcast stations.

Subtract eight - the stations affiliated with Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB).

That state's public-radio network confirmed this week that it has dropped her show, "Fresh Air with Terry Gross." A prepared statement issued by MPB's executive director, Judith Lewis, complained about "gratuitous discussions on issues of an explicit sexual nature."

The network's decision was first reported this week on the blog of a Jackson, Miss., minister, the Rev. Fred L. Hammond, of the Unitarian Universalist Church, who wondered whether Gross had offended with recent interviews touching on gay rights.

But the timing suggests another explanation.

"Fresh Air's" last Mississippi broadcast was July 7, the date of an interview with comedian Louis C.K., who self-deprecatingly confided that he always wears a T-shirt in sexual situations, out of consideration for women. When sex occurs on his TV show on the FX cable channel, he added, "There's a rule that I have to be on my back . . . I don't think anyone wants to see me looming over her. I think that's an upsetting image."

The statement from Lewis said in part: "Mississippi Public Broadcasting strives to deliver educational, informative and meaningful content to its listeners. After careful consideration we have determined that Fresh Air does not meet this goal over time. Too often Fresh Air's interviews include gratuitous discussions on issues of an explicit sexual nature. We believe that most of these discussions do not contribute to or meaningfully enhance serious-minded public discourse on sexual issues."

"Fresh Air" executive producer Danny Miller said the daily show is edited with sensitivity to the fact that it will be aired throughout the country.

"It's a diverse world out there," he said. "What's offensive to some may not be offensive to others, but that's what a program director or station manager's job is: To decide what's relevant for their listeners and appropriate for their area. . . . We respect that, but we also stand behind the program. We don't think we crossed any lines . . . I feel really bad we're not going to be heard in Mississippi."

A spokeswoman for the Mississippi radio network said she could not quantify reaction for and against Lewis' decision.