Philly’s former gossip hound spills all
By Aubrey Nagle
Dan Gross spent much of his career hunting down (and writing up) all of Philadelphia’s juiciest secrets. As the gossip columnist at the Daily News for nearly a decade, Gross reported on everything from the divorces of Philly socialites to the Alycia Lane mega-scandal of 2007. The bane of many a local celebrity and the idol of every local gossip hound, Gross left the Daily News in 2013 after 14 years.
Shortly afterward he began Gross Communications, a strategic public relations company that helps its clients engage with the media and recover from crises. Yes, after years of being the one revealing Philly’s biggest scandals, Gross is using everything he learned to help unlucky victims recover from them. After all, who knows how to make a PR mess disappear faster than the King of Gossip himself?
PhillyVoice caught up with Gross to chat about what he’s up to now and that secret talent you never knew he had.
Do you ever miss being a gossip columnist?
By the time I left, being a gossip columnist had become a 24/7 job with blogging, tweeting, writing the column and going to events. I don’t miss the actual work, but I do miss the culture of the Daily News newsroom and the friends and colleagues I worked with there and in the Newspaper Guild.
How did your work at the Daily News help you start Gross Communications?
Working at the Daily News is where I learned best what makes a good news story for the reporter, and how the person or company a story is about can best present themselves when interviewed in any context, but especially if facing unfavorable attention. The job also allowed me to meet lots of Philadelphia’s business and labor leaders and politicians, some of whom I now count as clients.
Where is your favorite place to go for a night out in Philadelphia?
It’s hard to beat a cool-breezed evening at Citizens Bank Park for a Phillies game. But, I’ll pick Union Transfer, which is my favorite concert venue in town. It’s got great sound and atmosphere.
Do you have any secret talents?
I am a musician. I play bass mainly and guitar a little bit. I am in a band called Jackie Thousand. We are playing Friday, August 21 with Summer Scouts and Josh Alvarez at Milkboy (11th & Chestnut) and Sept. 5 with Space Merchants and Silence Kit at Boot and Saddle (Broad & Ellsworth).
I can also juggle. (For like 30 seconds before I drop something.)
If you could have dinner with any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you eat?
John Paul Jones, who played bass/organ in Led Zeppelin. I would try to be cool, but end up asking really specific questions about certain songs and acting like Chris Farley in “The Chris Farley Show” SNL sketches. “Remember when you recorded ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You?’ That was awesome.”
I’m doing the 21 Day Fix diet right now so I would probably eat pre-measured containers of grilled chicken, Brussels sprouts, and couscous and then go really wild and have raspberries for dessert. But John Paul Jones could eat whatever he wanted.