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An update on KWTU's Metropolitan Opera broadcast and a new reporter

Last week, a number of media outlets reported on a classical music public radio station in North Carolina which announced that it will not air a number of the upcoming Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, citing violence, adult themes and in at least one case, for being “non-Biblical.”

The list includes Terence Blanchard’s operas “Champion” and “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking,” Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” and Kevin Put’s “The Hours” among others.

There seem to be a couple of common denominators between these particular operas. All are written by contemporary composers and confront real issues in contemporary life from racism and sexuality to mental health and our criminal justice system.

This social commentary has always been an important part of the artistic process and can speak to new generations of people looking for relevance in artforms that have traditionally excluded many people and ideas.

While each local station is responsible for the content on their radio station, I can assure you that KWTU Classical 88.7 will broadcast every opera in the upcoming Metropolitan Opera season, beginning December 9th with Daniel Catan’s lyrical “Florencia en el Amazonas” that invokes magical realism and depicts a renowned soprano’s search for an old lover, a butterfly hunter, while on a river voyage up the Amazon (this also was an objected-to opera).

I encourage you to tune in. This story will win you over with its beautiful music and message. And in case it doesn’t, you possess the best way to exercise control over the content you hear. It’s called the "off" switch.

New state government reporter coming to public radio in Oklahoma

On the reporting front, it is good news indeed that Oklahoma’s NPR member stations have been awarded a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to add a statehouse reporter. This reporter will cover state government and public policy issues. The grant will provide for a reporter over the next two years which will be administered by KOSU in Oklahoma City, but Public Radio Tulsa and KGOU in Norman will also share costs to insure a permanent presence at the State Capitol.

We hope to have a reporter in place for the 2024 session of the Legislature. Stay tuned for more information. A big thank you to Rachel Hubbard at KOSU for spearheading the grant effort.

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.