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

(Note: This interview originally aired last fall.) On this edition of ST, a discussion with Patricia Goldstone, who has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has written for The Washington Post and The Economist, and is also an award-winning playwright.

On this edition of ST, we get to know the young piano virtuosos Yaron Kohlberg and Bishara Haroni, who are among the leading classical pianists of their generation in their respective homelands: Israel and Palestine. For the past few years, they have performed together as Duo Amal -- the word "amal" means "hope," by the way -- appearing pretty much all over the globe, from the Beijing Concert Hall to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tonight, Tuesday the 29th, they will perform at the Williams Theater in the Tulsa PAC.

On this installment of ST, we speak with an Austin-based writer whose well-regarded debut novel has recently appeared in paperback from Harper Perennial.

On this edition of ST, we offer a closer look at some of the economic development objectives within the Vision Tulsa proposal. For years, the north side of Tulsa has felt neglected and shortchanged when it comes to infrastructure improvements as well as efforts to provide good-paying jobs in the area. But within Vision Tulsa, there is money for a public-private partership that would create a ready and receptive environment for the next potential manufacturing or industrial employer looking at our city as an expansion site.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an interesting conversation with Gabe Klein, an entrepreneur and urban-development advocate who was formerly the DOT director under Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, and also the Director of the District of Columbia DOT under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Prior to working in local government, Klein worked at a few notable start-ups, including Zipcar. On our show today, he talks about his new book, "Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun." About this guidebook, Ray LaHood, the former U.S.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Dr. Mark Allen Jackson of Middle Tennessee State University. He's an expert on political expression in American folk music, and he's also the author of "Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie" (University Press of Mississippi). Dr. Jackson will be giving a talk at the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa this coming Saturday, the 26th, beginning at 7pm. The lecture is entitled "Woody Guthrie as Political Humorist: His Influences, Expression, and Legacy," and it's free to the public.

On this installment of ST, we speak with the British writer Kate Hamer, whose first novel has recently appeared here in the U.S. to widespread acclaim. "The Girl in the Red Coat Hardcover" was published stateside last month, at which time Amazon named it a Best Book of February 2016. In doing so, a critic for Amazon noted: "It's every parent's nightmare: Beth, a single mother, takes her 8-year-old daughter, Carmel, to a local festival for some fun and frivolity and she vanishes. What follows is an unusual and terrifying journey for them both.

On this segment of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to chat with Elaine Pagels, a leading theological scholar in America who has taught at Princeton University since 1982. Pagels is also a bestselling author; her landmark book, "The Gnostic Gospels," analyzed more than 50 early Christian manuscripts that had been unearthed in Egypt in the 1940s -- and it won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Marcello Angelini, the longtime artistic director of Tulsa Ballet. This weekend, March 18th through the 20th, Tulsa Ballet with present a three-part program entitled "Masters of Dance" -- it's an energetic and eclectic sampler featuring works by three of Europe's most esteemed choreographers, and it's meant to display the remarkable versatility of Tulsa Ballet.

(Note: This show first aired last year.) Our guest is Sara Solovitch, a former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer whose articles have appeared in Esquire, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. She has also been a health columnist for the San Jose Mercury News -- and she seriously studied piano in her younger days. These formative at-the-keyboard experiences greatly influence her first book, which Solovitch discusses with us today.

(Note: This interview first aired last fall.) How long has atheism been a part of human experience? Most people today regard the sustained, intellectually rigorous adherence to non-religion as an invention of the European Enlightenment -- or, more recently, of modernity. But as our guest argues on this edition of ST, atheism is actually -- like so many other aspects of Western life and culture -- a phenomenon with origins in the societies of the ancient Mediterranean.

(Note: This show originally aired in December of last year.) On this presentation of ST on Health, an interesting chat with Theresa Brown, a clinical nurse who also writes regularly about nursing for The New York Times, CNN.com, and other national media. Brown's new memoir is "The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives," and Publishers Weekly (in a starred review) called it a "meticulous, absorbing shift-in-the-life account of one nurse's day on a cancer ward [which] stands out for its honesty, clarity, and heart.

On Thursday of last week, the State Legislature arrived at a deadline for moving legislation forward -- and thus many bills advanced in the Oklahoma Legislature from one chamber into the other, while many other bills were, in effect, killed. On this edition of ST, we discuss several of the bills now moving forward while also offering a review of several of the troubling issues facing state lawmakers more generally (such as the state budget gap, of course). Our guest is Gene Perry, the Policy Director at the non-profit, non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute.

(Please note: This interview originally aired last fall.) Our guest on today's StudioTulsa is the Oregon-based author Craig Ryan, who tells us about his book, "Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth." This engrossing biography offers readers, per a starred review in Kirkus, the "remarkable, almost-forgotten story of an aerospace pioneer....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Benjamin Zander, the noted conductor, music educator, public speaker, and author of "The Art of Possibility." Maestro Zander is here in town to give a sold-out address to the Tulsa Town Hall tomorrow morning, Friday the 11th, and also to conduct the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night (the 12th; beginning at 7:30pm) in a performance of Mahler's magnificent Resurrection Symphony (a/k/a Symphony No. 2).

On this edition of ST, we offer a discussion of the life and work of Thomas Nast (1840-1902), who is commonly thought of as "the father of American political cartooning." Highly influential in his time and still admired by artists, columnists, writers, and cartoonists today, Nast might be best known for his work -- done before, during, and after the Civil War -- for Harper's Weekly. He also, quite famously, created the modern illustrated version of Santa Claus...as well as the elephant as a symbol for the G.O.P. Our guest is Dr.

This evening -- Tuesday the 8th -- beginning at 6pm, Oklahoma Watch, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to both in-depth reporting and investigative journalism vis a vis public-policy issues, will host a free-to-the-public forum on the future of mass transit in the greater Tulsa area. The event will take place at the Central Center, near 6th and Peoria.

Last week on our program, we spoke with two members of the Tulsa City Council about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote and is likewise supported by Mayor Bartlett.

You might call it "adding insult to injury," as the old saying goes. Yesterday's announcement that the State of Oklahoma has authorized an additional 4% cut to state expenditures will hurt all agencies statewide, but perhaps especially school districts, since their school year is now almost 3/4 complete. This cut comes at a time of extreme uncertainty for public school leadership all across Oklahoma regarding the shape of next year's appropriation, given the $1.3 billion shortfall in the state budget.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we get to know Laura Fry, who began her tenure as Curator of Art at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa back in December. Fry previously worked at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, where she was the inaugural Haub Curator of Western American Art. Prior to that post, she served at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming -- first as an education and curatorial assistant, then as a Frederic Remington research assistant.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Geoffrey Harris, a noted expert on European history, politics, and culture. Last night, Mr. Harris gave a private address to the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations entitled "The European Union: Domestic and International Challenges," and he expands on his remarks on our program today. As noted at the Tulsa Committee's website: "Mr. Harris is currently the Deputy Head of the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the highly regarded theatrical director David Schweizer, who's currently in town to direct Tulsa Opera's staging of Andre Previn's "A Streetcar Named Desire" (happening on Friday the 4th and Sunday the 6th).

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are talking about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote, and which is now slated to appear on the April 5th ballot. Our guests are City Councilors Karen Gilbert (of District 5) and G.T. Bynum (of District 9), who both describe the Vision program in detail why also explaining why they think it's vitally important for voters to approve this program.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in September.) Our guest is Erika Lee, who teaches history at the University of Minnesota, where she's also the Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. Lee tells us about her widely acclaimed book, "The Making of Asian America: A History" (Simon & Schuster). As was noted of this volume in the pages of The New York Times Book Review: "Sweeping....

On this edition of ST, we are joined by Craig Jones, who is President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Given the recent cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, large cuts in federal reimbursement costs for uninsured patients, as well as ongoing transformations in standards of care, medical technology, and qualitative outcomes, times are tough these days for hospitals, especially rural hospitals. Nationwide, 673 rural hospitals are considered "on the edge" -- and here in Oklahoma, it's estimated that more than three dozen rural hospitals are facing a troubled future.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Kevin Hazzard, a California-based writer who formerly worked as a paramedic. Indeed, he has a compelling new book out that details his adventures in the EMS trade, and that book is the focus of our discussion: "A Thousand Naked Strangers" was published last month by Scribner.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Frédéric Brenner, an internationally acclaimed photographer who's best known for this documentation of Jewish communities around the world. His photographs have been shown at (among other prestigious venues) the International Center of Photography in New York, the Musée de l'Élysée in Lausanne, and the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we explore the topic of unsettling medical negligence in America's immigrant-only prisons. Our guest is freelance journalist Seth Freed Wessler, whose recent cover story for The Nation in this regard is entitled "This Man Will Almost Certainly Die." As noted in the tag line for this story: "Dozens of men have died in disturbing circumstances in privatized, immigrant-only prisons. The Bureau of Prisons itself says there's a problem.

On this edition of ST, we chat with Sarah Ioannides, who currently is the conductor for the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, and who's been described by The New York Times as a conductor of "unquestionable strength and authority." Ioannides will be the guest conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra tomorrow night, Saturday the 20th, when the TSO presents its next concert.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing an interesting new literary biography called "The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World." Our guest is the author, William Egginton, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. As was noted of this compelling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Egginton weaves together Cervantes's life story with his development as a writer.

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