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Orville SchellIn Fresh Air, the most notable feature of Ms. Gross's singular style of interviewing is that she is rarely in the presence of her guests. Why? Because most are hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, linked to her only by a satellite. While she sits in what she refers to as her "black, windowless room," guests—mostly authors, musicians, professors, journalists, dancers, scientists and politicians—are ensconced in other distant studios, or sometimes simply on a telephone, somewhere else around the world. But far from impeding her ability to establish rapport, distance has, counterintuitively, enabled Ms. Gross to create a sense of closeness and engagement that has become a hallmark of what many see as the best interview show in broadcasting.
In any interview, what makes the crucial difference for a guest is confidence that the interviewer has a real interest in the subject. Such interest confers a dignity on the whole exchange. And one of the things that draws thoughtful guests to Fresh Air is the knowledge that Ms. Gross is among that ever smaller number of broadcasters who is both interested in the world and prepared for her guests. And so, whereas I have all too often left interviews with an aftertaste of disappointment and frustration, I have always left Fresh Air feeling well represented and proud to have been part of the program.
— New York Times