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 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 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.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about a striking new show at the Philbrook Museum of Art, "The Essence of Things: Design and the Art of Reduction," which will be on view through May 1st. Our guest is Sienna Brown, who was appointed the Meinig Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Philbrook about six months ago. As noted of this exhibit at the Philbrook website: "This exhibition celebrates simplicity in design.

Just who are the Koch brothers -- and when, and why, did they decide to spend billions of dollars in order to change the direction of American politics? On this installment of our show, a conversation with the well-respected political reporter Jane Mayer, who is a staff writer for The New Yorker as well as the author of an acclaimed new book, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right." It's a book that is, per The Washington Post, "deeply researched and studded with detail....

On this edition of ST, we speak with the two Michigan State University professors who will be jointly delivering the Cadenhead-Settle Memorial Lecture in History tonight (Monday the 15th) on the TU campus. The lecture is free to the public; it begins at 7:30pm in Helmerich Hall. Our guests are Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Leslie Page Moch, who are also the co-authors of "Broad Is My Native Land: Repertoires and Regimes of Migration in Russia's Twentieth Century" (Cornell University Press).

On this edition of ST, we learn about a novel called "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis," which has just recently appeared in paperback. Our guest is the author, Keija Parssinen, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and Texas before graduating from Princeton University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Parssinen is now an assistant professor of English at the University of Tulsa, and she tells us about the themes, experiences, and ideas that led to the creation of this (her second) novel.

On this edition of our show, we learn about a documentary film that will be screened tonight (Thursday the 11th) in Helmerich Hall on the TU campus. The screening is free to the public, and it will also feature a panel discussion; it begins at 7pm. The film is question is "Children of the Civil Rights," and our guest is Julia Clifford, who directed it. As noted of this film at the "Children of the Civil Rights" website: "No one knew a group of children in Oklahoma City were heroes; not even the children themselves.

File photo

On this edition of ST, a discussion of business practices and sustainability goals in contemporary America -- and of where these two ideas do and don't (and might someday) overlap. Our guest is Bill Roth, a business-book author, green entrepreneur, and consultant on sustainability; he'll be speaking soon in our community.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about the Blue Zones Project.

On this installment of ST, we welcome back to our program the well-regarded, Ohio-based choreographer Edwaard Liang, who is currently working with Tulsa Ballet on a production of his special version of "Romeo and Juliet," which will be staged February 12th through the 14th. Shakespeare's tragic tale of two passionate yet ill-fated lovers will be presented in the Tulsa PAC, with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra playing Prokofiev's immortal score.

On this edition of our show, we speak with the British economist Caroline Webb, who also works as a management consultant and executive coach; she is a former partner at McKinsey and Company, and she now has her own consulting firm, Sevenshift, which helps clients be more productive, inspired, and effective at work.

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

On this edition of ST, we speak with two outstanding local citizens who were among the ten women recently given the Women of the Year - Pinnacle Award from the YWCA Tulsa collaboration with the Mayor'’s Commission on the Status of Women. Earlier this week, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett presented these awards in person, and in doing so recognized how each of this year's recipients has worked to eliminate racism and/or empower women.

On this installment of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of hospitals, health care systems, medical professionals, environmental health organizations, and similar groups. This coalition was formed in 1996, shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified medical waste incineration as the leading source of dioxin emissions in this country.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Kristen T. Oertel, the Barnard Associate Professor of 19th Century American History here at TU.

Today marks the beginning of the 2016 legislative session for the State of Oklahoma, and rightly enough, the issue gathering the most attention is the nearly $1 billion gap in the state's budget -- an astounding figure, to be sure. But on today's StudioTulsa, we turn our attention in another important, equally unsettling direction. And it's not a matter of one single troubling issue, actually, but rather a multitude of infractions.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we chat with the saxophonist, composer, and music educator Clark Gibson, who took the helm as Director of Jazz Studies at NSU in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, last fall. Gibson relocated to our community from Illinois, and his new CD, just out, is a terrific recording that grew out of the work he did while completing his doctorate at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. That disc is "Bird with Strings: The Lost Arrangements," and it's on the Chicago-based Blujazz label.

What if you had an app on your smartphone that could tell precisely how much a certain medical procedure was going to cost...before you even visited the doctor or called your health insurance company? Sounds like a rather great (and overdue) idea, no? Such an app is very much in development these days, right here in our community. On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Schumann speaks with Matt Scovil and Nathan Gilchrist, the two co-founders of a company called Medefy.