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 will celebrate 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

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak by phone with the French-born, Brooklyn-based, and widely acclaimed guitarist, Stephane Wrembel, who performs this evening (Wednesday the 11th) at 7pm at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in downtown Tulsa.

(Note: This show first aired back in April.) A century ago, women could not own property or vote. Today, women are the primary wage earners in about 40% of American households, and are poised to be a majority within twenty years if current trends continue. Washington Post staff writer Liza Mundy calls it "The Big Flip" and examines this huge cultural shift and its impact on gender roles, relationships, and social dynamics.

File Photo

"1913 Massacre" is the name of a song that Woody Guthrie wrote circa 1941; it recounts an early-20th-century tragedy that happened at the Italian Hall building in Calumet, Michigan, on Christmas Eve of 1913, when hundreds of miners, along with their families and friends, had gathered for a party. At that time, Calumet was at the heart of Michigan's then-lucrative copper-mining activity.

Our guest is Mark Lewis, the well-regarded Tulsa-based artist, and member of the University of Tulsa art faculty, whose paintings, drawings, and collage works have been shown in galleries nationwide. He's also been a longtime fixture on the sidewalks of 11th Street, Cherry Street, Brookside, and downtown, where he's been making paintings (and, more recently, collages) of this community's cityscapes for more than a dozen years.

On this installment of ST, we're looking back on the life and music of the late Doc Watson, who died in May at the age of 89. Watson was a truly legendary guitarist and singer whose work in the realms of folk, bluegrass, country, blues, and gospel music won him several Grammy Awards and universal acclaim. Despite being blind from infancy, he had a long and highly influential career; his guitar-playing (and especially his flat-picking skills) as well as his vast knowledge of traditional American music were, and still are, considered unequaled.

Tomorrow, of course, is the Fourth of July, America's birthday. But, in the meantime, today (July 3rd) is the 149th anniversary of Pickett's Charge, the failed Confederate infantry assault on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg: the unsuccessful attack (named for Maj. Gen. George Pickett) that's now basically seen as the beginning of the end of the Southern war effort.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to speak with Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, who begins his tenure as TU's 18th president. Dr. Orsak was formerly Dean of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University, and he's widely seen as one of the nation's outstanding leaders in engineering research and education. In recently announcing Dr. Orsak's presidential appointment, Duane Wilson of the TU Board of Trustees noted: "Dr.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Derry Noyes, an art diretor and graphic designer with the US Postal Service (you can read her bio here). Noyes was the art director a series of Forever US Postage stamps created in 2011 to salute such pioneering American industrial designers as Norman Bel Geddes, Russell Wright, Henry Dreyfuss, and Walter Dorwin Teague.

On this edition of on our program, we revisit a show that first aired back in March, when we spoke by phone with Michelle Dammon Loyalka, a freelance journalist and editor.

Our guest on this installment of ST is the widely celebrated NYC-based jazz pianist Aaron Goldberg (born in Boston in 1974), whose playing has been tagged by The New York Times as "versatile and impressive, and he swings hard.... [He's a] sharp young pianist with a superb rhythm section." He has been active on the national/international jazz scene since the early 1990s, playing with everyone from Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Al Foster, and Terry Gibbs, to Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Ali Jackson, and Kurt Rosenwinkel.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Dr. Robert H. Donaldson, the Trustees Professor of Political Science here at the University of Tulsa; he's also a former President of TU. Dr. Donaldson is a leading expert on Russian and Soviet politics and policies; he joins us to discuss the contemporary state of US-Russian relations.

How big a problem is bullying in our nation's schools today? It's a troubling issue affecting the lives of millions of our kids; when it comes to how many schoolchildren are being bullied each year in America, estimates range from 7 to 13 million youngsters. On this installment of ST, we speak with Lee Hirsch, producer and director of the documentary film, "Bully," which was released last year to widespread critical acclaim.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we're joined by Elizabeth Chambers, the collections manager for the Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, and Gardens, who's currently in town to help set-up a show opening at the Gilcrease Museum on Sunday the 24th. It's a traveling exhibit, "Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon," that will be on view at Gilcrease through September 23rd. What do we know, for certain, about "the Father of Our Country"?

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are joined by Dan Call and David Blakely, two Tulsa-area theatre veterans who are involved with a new musical, "Hank the Cowdog and Monkey Business," which is being presented by Tulsa Repertory Musicals as part of the SummerStage series at the Tulsa PAC. It's a family-friendly show that's been adapted from one the titles in the popular (and long-running) "Hank the Cowdog" series of children's books by John Erickson; it will play in the PAC's Doenges Theater from today (the 21st) through Sunday (the 24th).

(Please note: This show first aired back in March of this year.) Ever felt like quitting the whole earning-and-buying rat race? Ever wondered what it'd be like to live without a wallet, a car, a mortgage, or even a roof over your head?

Tulsa Partners, a nonprofit organization that's been working to build a disaster-resistant and sustainable community since late 2000, will celebrate its 2012 Nania Awards this evening (Tuesday the 19th) at a banquet and fundraising auction at the Tulsa Garden Center.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, Nancy Pearl, our longtime book expert and the author of four "Book Lust" volumes of recommended reading --- and now, also, the curator of Amazon.com's new series of reprints of classic, out-of-print books --- offers her summer reading list. (Summer arrives, officially, on Wednesday the 20th!) Here is Nancy's list:

"A Partial History of Lost Causes" by Jennifer Dubois

"After Life" by Rhian Ellis

"The Forgotten Waltz" by Anne Enright

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" by Ben Fountain

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

Did you know that more than 16% of Oklahomans live in poverty? Or that more than 23% of the children in our state live in poverty? Or that more than 80% of the students in the Tulsa Public Schools qualify for the free and reduced-cost lunch program? Or that 17% of the residents in Tulsa County are "food insecure" --- meaning, they're unsure of where they'll get their next meal? On this installment of StudioTulsa, we hear about a new anti-hunger campaign in our community that kicked off just last month: Live Local, Give Local.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Tulsa-based writer, consultant, and activist Ann Patton, who's just published a biography of the late (and legendary) Father Dan Allen, a Catholic priest turned social activist who worked incessantly (and memorably) to combat poverty and promote equality in Tulsa in the 1960s and beyond. Father Dan is probably best known for creating the Tulsa-area social service agency, Neighbor for Neighbor, which still exists today.

Eric Gibson, artistic director of LOOK Musical Theatre, is the guest on this edition of StudioTulsa. LOOK is an anchor for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust's annual Summerstage Festival (which happens each June and July).

State Impact Oklahoma examines the latest data on the top occupational classifications for the next decade.

On this edition of our show, we speak with our old friend Jeff Martin, who occasionally contributes commentaries to ST, works as the Online Communities Manager at Philbrook Museum of Art, and is the founder/mastermind behind the ongoing (and non-profit) Book Smart Tulsa series of readings/signings. This always-active, ever-engaging literary series --- which has been popular with Tulsa book-lovers of all sorts since its inception three years ago (or so) --- will present its 100th event tonight, Tuesday the 12th, at 7pm at Dwelling Spaces in downtown Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, which originally aired back in March, we speak with Jamal Joseph, whose new memoir is "Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention." This engrossing autobiography --- a gritty yet hopeful hybrid of coming-of-age candor, street-savvy wisdom, and recent socio-political history --- follows Jospeph from his early years in the Bronx and Harlem, to incarceration stints in Riker's Island and then Leavenworth, to the Film School faculty of Columbia University.

On this edition of our show, which originally aired back in February, we hear from the writer and linguistic scholar Michael Erard, who's written about language for Science, Seed, Wired, The Atlantic, The New York Times, New Scientist, and other publications.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to a show that first aired in March, when we spoke by phone with Lisa See, the bestselling author of "Shanghai Girls," "Peony in Love," "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," "Dragon Bones," and other novels, as well as an acclaimed memoir, "On Gold Mountain." See's latest book, now in paperback, is a novel called "Dreams of Joy" --- this is the book that she tells us about on today's program.

The second regular session of the 53rd Oklahoma Legislature (2011-2012) was recently adjourned. (The state legislature will convene for its first regular session of the 54th Oklahoma Legislature [2013-2014] on January 8th, 2013.) With the session now over, many citizens are wondering why the legislature DIDN'T adopt a tax-cut plan. Wasn't this the oft-repeated aim of the GOP-controlled House, Senate, and Governor's Mansion?

Our guest on this edition of ST is Ken Busby, the Executive Director and CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa (AHCT), which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. As everyone who cares about the arts (and the ongoing presence of the arts) in this city knows already, the AHCT has been enriching the cultural life of our community ever since it began in 1961. And now, the ACHT is nearing the completion of its largest initiative ever, the new 42,000-square-foot Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa Hardesty Arts Center (or "AHHA"), which will open in the fall of this year.

This year's OK Mozart Festival gets underway on Friday the 8th; it runs for more than a week, with an array of not-to-be-missed performances in both Bartlesville and OKC. We're joined on this installment of StudioTulsa by four members of the Amici New York Orchestra, the outstanding classical collective that's been at the heart of the OK Mozart Festival since its beginning in 1985.

On this edition of our show, we speak with the artist Joseph Velasquez, who has an MA and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the co-founder of the Dirty Printmakers of America, is a curator at the SlingShot Gallery (in Madison, WI), and is one of the creators/participants/educators behind Drive-By Press (which, per its website, is on a "mission to share [its] enthusiasm for printmaking with audiences everywhere.") Now based in Austin, Texas, Velasquez tells us that he began Drive-By Press in order to give demonstrations --- from the back of his truck --- of relief printing,

On this edition of our show, we speak by phone with the journalist Matti Friedman, a correspondent for the Associated Press who grew up in Toronto and now lives in Jerusalem. Friedman's new book --- a highly engaging hybrid of history, mystery, biblical scholarship, and good old suspense-driven storytelling --- is called "The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible." As has been written of Friedman's book in a starred review in Booklist: "Written in the tenth century, the Aleppo Codex is the most accurate copy of the Hebrew Bible.

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