Rich Fisher

General Manager & host of StudioTulsa

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government.  Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.  

In addition, Rich is an active musician. He’s currently the principal trombonist of the Signature Symphony at TCC, leads the Starlight Jazz Orchestra, and is a free-lance musician whose work ranges from the pit of touring Broadway musicals, to the salsa band, Grupo Salsabor.

Ways to Connect

(Note: This program originally aired in April.) On this edition of ST, we speak with Daniel Connolly, a reporter who has, for more than a decade, covered Mexican immigration into the Southern U.S. for The Associated Press in Little Rock, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, and other outlets.

(Note: This program originally aired last year.) Is technology taking over and/or fundamentally changing and/or worsening our lives? It's a debatable question...or series of questions...but, for whatever it's worth, there ARE more and more books and novels and TV shows these days in which technological devices are taking over, changing, or even, yes, worsening our lives as human beings.

Our guest on this installment of StudioTulsa Medical Monday is Richard Harris, a longtime science reporter at NPR, who joins us to discuss his new book, "Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions." As was noted of this alarming and well-regarded new book by Kirkus Reviews: "An award-winning science journalist reports that research in the biomedical sciences is too often guilty of wasting time and money and, worse than that, actually slowing scientific progress and misinforming the public.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Scott Stulen, the President and Director of the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa, who tells us about a special show now on view at the museum. It's a rich gathering of work by 26 different artists from the well-regarded Chicano art collection of Cheech Marin, the movie actor and author.

Our guest is the celebrated photographer David Halpern, who was based for many years here in Tulsa and now resides in Santa Fe. A wonderful exhibition of his work -- "The Essence of Place: Celebrating the Photography of David Halpern" -- will be on view at the Gilcrease Museum through the end of this year.

On this edition of ST, a great discussion that first aired on our show in March. At that time we spoke with Aravind Adiga, who joined us to discuss his then-new novel, "Selection Day." As was noted by The New York Times of this fine coming-of-age saga that focuses on two brothers in a Mumbai slum who are raised to become cricket stars: "Mr. Adiga's third novel supplies further proof that his Booker Prize...was no fluke. He is not merely a confident storyteller but also a thinker, a skeptic, a wily entertainer, a thorn in the side of orthodoxy and cant....

On this edition of ST, we listen back to a broadcast from late February. At that time, our guest was psychologist and author Kenneth E. Miller, who has been working with war-affected communities since 1991 as a researcher, clinician, organizational consultant, and filmmaker.

This edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday is a replay from early February. At that time, we spoke with Dr. Danielle Ofri, an associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine who has cared for patients at Bellevue Hospital for more than two decades. She told us about her book, "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear." As was noted of this book by Kirkus Reviews, it shows us "why communication between doctor and patient is the most critical element of medical care....

On this edition of ST, we listen back to a discussion we first presented in January, when our guest was Helen Czerski, a physicist at University College London's Department of Mechanical Engineering as well as a science presenter for the BBC.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Priya Raju of the Tulsa-based Kripalaya Dance Academy. Raju is directing a production called "Sangama," which will be presented tonight (the 25th) and tomorrow night (the 26th) as part of the Tulsa PAC's SummerStage series for 2017. This word, as we learn, means "confluence," and thus Raju's show -- based in classical South Asian choreography but drawing on many other styles -- aims to not only celebrate cultural diversity but also to display how such diversity can be transcended through dance and music.

On this edition of ST, we chat with Michael Wallis, the best-selling Tulsa-based author of "Route 66" and "David Crockett" and many other books.

Lots of talk these days, as we all know, about "building that wall." But what about the borderwall that already exists between much of the U.S. and Mexico? And what about the cultures, events, art works, communities, and lives that are associated with this borderwall -- that is, with the various walls and fences running between these two countries? Our guest is Ronald Rael, an Associate Professor in the Departments of Architecture and Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley.

On this edition of our show, we speak with Dr. Rachel Pearson about her new book, "No Apparent Distress: A Doctor's Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine." As was noted of this reflective and well-written book by Kirkus Reviews: "[In this book] a sensitive doctor describes her beginnings navigating the unpredictable, woolly world of modern American health care. Pearson’s inspired collective of illuminating clinical episodes immediately sparks to life with anecdotes from her early work in a female-owned and -operated abortion clinic in her 20s.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Light Fantastic, or In the Wood," a new play that will be staged by the locally based Heller Theatre Company tonight (the 19th), tomorrow night (the 20th), and Sunday afternoon (the 21st) at the Nightingale Theatre in downtown Tulsa, which is located at 1416 East 4th St. Our guests are David Blakely, who wrote this play, and Susan Apker, who is the president of Heller Theatre Company (or HTC).

KWGS News File Photo

Last night, a jury here in Tulsa acquitted one Betty Shelby -- a white Tulsa Police officer -- who had been charged with first-degree manslaughter after she shot and killed an unarmed black man named Terence Crutcher last September. Some people in this community feel that justice has been served, while others feel, as was stated by Rev. Joey Crutcher, the victim's father, after the verdict came down: "I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder." Where does Tulsa go from here?

This edition of ST features a discussion with José Torres-Tama, the New Orleans-based performance artist who will soon present his Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras project at Living Arts of Tulsa. This production will be staged on Thursday and Friday, the 18th and 19th, with both shows starting at 8pm. Also on our program is the local poet Amairani Perez, who will be one of the Tulsa-based artists participating in this project.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about the Oklahoma Bike Summit 2017, which will happen later this week (the 19th and 20th) in Muskogee and Tahlequah -- and which will, per its website, focus "on attaining physical and mental well-being through bicycling. It will address bicycling for individuals with disabilities, as spiritual and emotional healing process, and to improve the health of a whole community." Our guest is Jayme Brown, who will give an address entitled "Ride to Recovery: Cycling as Rehabilitation" at this summit.

On this edition of our program, we learn about the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative, or OHAI, which was, per its website, "established in 2012 by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. OHAI understands that good health is key to successful aging. We focus in improving the health of older adults across the state through caregiver-training and health-promotion education. We also partner with health systems to establish senior health clinics to increase access to geriatric health care.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Daniel Hege, the Principal Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, who returns to our show to speak about the final TSO concert of the season (for which he'll be at the helm). That concert will happen tomorrow night, Saturday the 13th, at the Tulsa PAC. On the program, three "can't miss" favorites: Haydn's "Symphony No. 90," Kodaly's "Háry János Suite," and Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" (the 1945 version). Please note that you can access more information about this concert here.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are discussing "In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)," a contemporary comedy by the much-acclaimed American playwright Sarah Ruhl, which will be staged here in Tulsa from May 12th through the 22nd. It's being presented by American Theatre Company, and you can fine more information (including ticket details and show times) at this link. Our guest is Lisa Wilson, who is directing this production.

Our guest on this edition of ST is David Dawson, the noted British choreographer. Tulsa Ballet will soon stage one of Dawson's most celebrated works, "A Million Kisses to My Skin," as part of a three-piece presentation at the Tulsa PAC.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to our chat from last fall with David Burkus, a well-respected expert on business and management practices who's also a bestselling author, an in-demand speaker, and an associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we're joined by Elizabeth Rosenthal, formerly of The New York Times, who tells us about her widely acclaimed new book, "An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back." This volume, which grew out of the "Paying Till It Hurts" series of healthcare columns that she wrote for the Times, was thus praised in a starred in Publishers Weekly: "Rosenthal, a New York Times senior writer and former physician, provocatively analyzes the U.S.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to an entertaining interview from November of last year. At that time, we spoke with journalist Ian Scheffler about his then-new book, "Cracking the Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving." As one Erno Rubik -- the inventor of the famous cube -- has noted of this book: "Scheffler provides the first comprehensive book on the global phenomenon of speedcubing. Much has changed since the first world championship was organized in Budapest in 1982.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we listen back to an interview that we first aired in January with John M. Coward, an associate professor of communication here at the University of Tulsa. At that time, Coward joined us to discuss his then-new book, "Indians Illustrated: The Image of Native Americans in the Pictorial Press." This book is a social, cultural, and pictorial history of how Native Americans were illustrated in the many and various magazines and newspapers that popped up all over the nation in the latter half of the 19th century.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to welcome Laurie Halse Anderson to our show. She's written many books of fiction and nonfiction over the years, and she's the winner of the 2017 Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature. She will been given this award at a special ceremony happening on Friday the 5th at the TCCL's Hardesty Regional Library, on East 93rd Street.

On this installment of ST, we speak with the New Mexico-based writer and biographer James McGrath Morris, who is the author of (among other books) the bestselling "Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press." Morris joins us to discuss his newest work, which is just out: "The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War." As was noted of this historical biography by the New York Journal of Books: "[This book] delves head-first into the mercurial relationship of these two American literary legends....

Our guest on this edition of ST Medical Monday is Tony Bartelme. He is a senior projects reporter for the Post and Courier (of Charleston, South Carolina), and his new book is a nonfiction study called "A Surgeon in the Village: An American Doctor Teaches Brain Surgery in Africa." As was noted of this book by Kirkus Reviews: "[Here is] the story of an American brain surgeon in Tanzania and the work he has done to develop surgeons in the East African country.

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 29th, the Downtown Tulsa campus of Tulsa Community College will host TEDxTulsaCC, a special gathering thus described at the TED website: "TEDxTulsaCC is a multi-sensory, multi-disciplinary event with a goal to bring Tulsa's best ideas to our community and the world. Attendees will experience enlightening talks, a shape-shifting art exhibition, the world premier of new choral work, surprise musical performances, and more.

Our guest on this installment of ST is David Grann, a bestselling author and staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine whose new book, just out, is getting rave reviews. That  book is an unsettling and in-depth work of nonfiction, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI." As was noted of this book by a critic writing for Time: "Nearly 100 years ago, the Osage tribe of Oklahoma were thought to be the wealthiest people per capita in the world, thanks to their oil-rich reservation, kindly sold back to them by the federal government that had snatched it away.

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