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

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of areas where government was unprepared despite years of preparation, but it has also revealed a very un-governmental nimbleness in responding to the economics of the pandemic-induced recession. Economist Joshua Gans says there was no pandemics playbook on how to keep an economy running in a situation like this, and despite the real hardships many are facing today, policymakers have made more right decisions than wrong to this point.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court's Common Cause v. Rucho case which ruled that gerrymandering cases are a non-justiciable issue, citizen grassroots efforts have emerged to use other means to prevent partisan gerrymandering and other voter suppression efforts. These locally organized efforts have led to initiative petition victories to create non-partisan redistricting commissions in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Utah, expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Idaho, and restored voting rights for former felons in Florida and Alabama.

This month on C-SPAN, the public affairs network has been airing short documentaries created by Jenks High School students, winners in the network's annual Student Cam video documentary competition. Leviathan Lee and Mason Chow won 1st Prize for their documentary on the opioid crisis "200,000." 

As our current pandemic continues, we hear from historian John M. Barry, who wrote one of the definitive accounts of the worst American pandemic, the Influenza pandemic of 1918-19.

(Note: This program first aired last year.) Our guest is the Kansas City-based poet and teacher Anne Boyer, who joins us to discuss her bold, well-written memoir of cancer.

Today, in labs and clinics all over the globe, the search for a COVID-19 vaccine is moving incredibly fast. On this edition of ST, we offer an interesting and optimistic account from the vaccine-related annals of American history as we revisit a 2015 interview from our archives. At that time, we spoke with Dr. Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs about her biography, "Jonas Salk: A Life." The book also offers a fascinating cultural hitory of polio in the US.

Our guest is Eileen Bradshaw, the recently-named CEO of the vitally important Tulsa nonprofit known as LIFE Senior Services. She brings us up to date on the various efforts that LIFE is now, in the age of Coronavirus, putting toward assisting the elderly in our community. These actions include (as detailed at the LIFE website) utility and telephone help, mental and behavioral health services, food resources, COVID-19 testing-site data, details on special shopping hours for seniors, and so on.

The latest batch of historic recordings to be annually inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress was announced last month. Among them was the 1968 single, "Wichita Lineman," which was a big hit for Glen Campbell. That song was written by Jimmy Webb, the Oklahoma native who's widely seen as one of America's finest pop songwriters -- and who had a remarkable run of hit songs in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The Tulsa nonprofit known as Clarehouse has been providing care for dying people in need for more than 15 years. It offers its services for free, and it partners with groups and organizations from all over the health care vortex in our community. Clarehouse will soon be presenting a virtual Tulsa Healthcare Decisions Day, which we learn about on this edition of ST Medical Monday. Per the Clarehouse website: "Only 22% of Oklahomans have an advance directive.

Looking for new tunes to check out as you pass away all those homebound hours of late? We have some great tips on this edition of ST as we welcome Julie Watson to our show. She's long been a fixture of Tulsa's local music scene, writing about musicians and bands, presenting concerts, promoting new and emerging artists, and so forth. Watson formerly hosted a fine public-radio show on another station, "Tune In Tulsa," which mixed great conversations with compelling playlists, and she's also a fomrer co-producer of the OK Roots Music Series.

Lots of time at home these days...for so many of us...as we continue to shelter in place, for the safety of ourselves and everyone else, in the Age of Coronavirus. On this installment of ST, we have tips regarding books to read as well as videos to watch during these days of prolonged self-isolation. Our guests are Rebecca Howard with the Tulsa City-County Library and Chuck Foxen with the Circle Cinema.

On this edition of our program, we speak with two different doctors -- one in Boston, and one here in Tulsa -- about the current medical, hospital-level fight in the U.S. against coronavirus. First we hear from Dr. Daniela Lamas, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham & Women's Hospital who is also on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Then we hear from Tulsa native Dr. Jabraan Pasha, an associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency program at OU-Tulsa.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we hear from two institutions which are gearing up to feed more Tulsans and Oklahomans during the pandemic. Jorge Robles is the Chief Operating Officer of the Tulsa Public Schools, which instituted a feeding program that is now serving lunch and breakfast for 23,000 children a day at school sites and bus stops throughout the district.

Today on StudioTulsa, we hear from three arts officials on how their institutions and constituencies are being affected by "shelter in place" orders due to COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Dale heads up the Red Dirt Relief Fund and shares the impact venue closures have had on gigging musicians; and Marcello Angelini from Tulsa Ballet, and Scott Stulen from Philbrook Museum of Art describe how they are working to serve their audiences when there are no performances and exhibitions to attend.

(Note: This program originally aired back in the fall.) Our guest is Dr. Sarah E. Hill, a professor at TCU in Ft. Worth, Texas. She's seen as an authority on evolutionary approaches to psychology and health, and her new book, which she tells us about, is "This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences." As was noted of this work by Dr.

Our guest is Katharine Holstein, an American-Canadian writer and human rights advocate. She's also the co-author of a new book, which she tells us about: "Shadow on the Mountain: A Yazidi Memoir of Terror, Resistance, and Hope." As was noted of this work by The New York Journal of Books: "A spellbinding tale woven with gorgeous phrasing, compelling you to finish its journey at a breakneck pace along with Shaker Jeffrey, a hero of Promethean proportions....

It's well-known that Oklahoma has the highest rate of female incarceration in the US. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we profile Poetic Justice, an important nonprofit that, per its website, aims to "reveal the individuality and experiences of the women who inhabit [our] state's prisons.

On this edition of ST, we learn about Tulsa Remote, the talent-recruitment initiative of George Kaiser Family Foundation that's now in its second year -- and that has received, since it began, more than 10,000 applications from all over the globe (and all over the nation). Our guest is Tulsa native Aaron Bolzle, the executive director of this increasingly popular program.

Our guest is Ariana Neumann, a journalist born and raised in Venezuela who's now based in London. She joins us to discuss her first book, just out, which is a work of memoir/history that digs deeply into the secrets of her own father's past. That is, the years he spent hiding from the Nazis in Berlin, the murder of many of his family members in the Holocaust, and the brave choice he finally made to create a new life for himself. As noted in a starred reviw of this work in Booklist: "Profound, gripping, and gut-wrenching....

Public health officials in Tulsa -- and everywhere else, of course -- are now monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, COVID-19. This virus was first identified in China in January. Late last week, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced in Tulsa County: a man in his fifties who had recently visited Italy. On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we offer an update on this still-evolving, fast-changing situation. Our guest is the Tulsa Health Department's executive director, Dr. Bruce Dart, who has worked in public health for forty years.

On this edition of ST, we learn about Tulsa's Center for Employment Opportunities (or CEO). CEO is a nationwide nonprofit that helps people who've just come out of prison find jobs and/or acquire skills and training. The Tulsa CEO branch opened in 2011; our guest is Adrienne Yandell, who directs the Tulsa outlet. Per the CEO Tulsa website: "CEO guarantees every participant who completes a one-week job-readiness orientation up to four days a week of transitional work on a crew and daily pay -- a critical asset during an important time.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome the Tulsa-based composer, musician, and music teacher Noam Faingold back to our show. He's also the curator for the fifth-annual OK Electric Festival of Electroacoustic Music, which he tells us about. This special event (presented by Living Arts of Tulsa) happens tonight, Thursday the 5th, at Duet Jazz; more info, including how to get tickets, is posted here.

Our guest is the well-known, New York-based graphic artist, Luba Lukova. Her bold, accessible images have appeared in The New York Times, Time, and other leading publications, and her prints and posters are also in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Library of Congress. She is currently a J. Donald Feagin Visiting Artist here at TU, and an exhibit of her socially-aware work, "Luba Lukova: Designing Justice," will soon go on view at the Henry Zarrow Center for Art & Education in downtown Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the scholar who will deliver the free-to-the-public 2020 Cadenhead-Settle Memorial Lecture here at TU tonight (Tuesday the 3rd). Our guest is is Dr. Christy L. Pichichero, whose work focuses on the racial (geo)politics of the early modern era in France. Her talk is titled "Black | Power: Race, Empire, & Privilege in Enlightenment France." Dr.

On this edition of our show, we explore the "Moral Injury of Healthcare." Our guests are Dr. Wendy Dean and Dr. Simon G. Talbot, who have together created a new nonprofit aiming to (as noted at the nonprofit's "fix moral injury" website) "help all of us change the conversation about healthcare. This is NOT about burnout. It is about taking care of ourselves by taking care of patients.... The crisis of clinician distress is not just a professional issue for [Dean and Talbot]. It is also a personal issue.

Our guest is Bridget Quinn, a writer, art history scholar, and educator based in San Francisco. She joins us to discuss her 2017 book, "Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History." Quinn will deliver a sold-out "Women Who Changed Art" lecture tonight (Friday the 28th) at Philbrook Museum -- and that lecture will be based, in large part, on this book.

We chat with Todd F. Buchwald, who served as Special Coordinator for the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice from December 2015 through July 2017, and was conferred the rank of Ambassador by President Obama in July 2016. Prior to this, Mr. Buchwald served as a lawyer in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser, including a stint as the Assistant Legal Adviser for Political-Military Affairs during the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

PHOTO BY PBS.ORG

Why do some kids -- but not all kids -- develop imaginary friends? And how exactly do kids benefit from their relationships with imaginary companions? What do they acquire from these relationships? Our guest is Tracy Gleason, a developmental psychologist and professor of psychology at Wellesley College. She will speak about her interesting research on young children's imaginary companions at 7pm on Thursday the 27th in TU's Tyrrell Hall.

Our guest is Leona Mitchell, the legenday American opera star, Grammy Award-winning soprano, and member of Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma -- and now based there, after a long career that took her to famous opera houses all over the world -- Mitchell is perhaps best known for her 18 seasons as a leading spinto soprano at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 2014, she was inducted into the Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame. She joins us to look back on her remarkable career.

Our guest is Dr. Christopher Kerr, the CEO and chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo. He joins us to discuss his important new book, which might be the first-ever volume to both document and study the meaningful dreams and visions that people seem to universally experience as death approaches. As was noted of this book is a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Penetrating and empathetic.... This comforting guide will reassure the dying and their loved ones while providing instructive portraits of end-of-life patients for those who work in medical and healing professions."

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