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

(Note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the British author Jenny Lecoat. She's recently published her debut novel, which she tells us about. "The Girl from the Channel Islands" is a compelling saga that happens to employ, at least in part, her own family's history. As was noted by Publishers Weekly: "Lecoat...draws on the history of Germany's WWII occupation of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, where [she] was raised. During the summer of 1940, Hedy Bercu is living on Jersey after having escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we discuss a work that takes a careful and long-overdue look at how caregiving and burnout so often go hand-in-hand in this country. Our guest is Kate Washington, an essayist, freelance writer, and food critic based in Northern California. Her new book, which she tells us about, is a memoir/report/study titled "Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America." As was noted by Kirkus Reviews, this book is "a biting critique of how America is failing its unpaid caregivers....

Our guests on StudioTulsa are the Tulsa-based artists, community advocates, and avid cyclists Shane Darwent and Kolby Ari. They are the co-presenters of Cycling the Gap, a three-part series of guided, community-minded bike rides here in Tulsa that will take place on May 1st, 8th, and 15th. The ride scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday the 1st) will focus on Sustainability. The following two rides -- happening on the following two Saturdays -- will look at matters of Infrastructure and Black Art & Commerce.

(Note: This interview originally aired earlier this year.) Our guest is Tamara Payne, who's the primary researcher and co-author (along with her late father, the esteemed investigative journalist Les Payne) of "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X." The recipient of the 2020 National Book Award, this biography draws upon countless interviews in order to contextualize Malcolm's life not only within the Nation of Islam but also within the broader sweep of modern American history.

Photo Credit Evan Vucci/AP (via NPR.org)

Our guest on ST is Dr. David Blatt, the Tulsa-based public policy expert who founded and for many years directed the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a non-profit, statewide think-tank. Earlier this year, after retiring from OK Policy, Dr. Blatt joined the faculty at OU-Tulsa's Master of Public Administration program. In that regard, he now teaches courses in health policy, legislative process and behavior, and poverty and inequality. He joins us to look back on what President Biden has -- and hasn't -- accomplished in his first 100 days in the White house.

We're pleased to welcome Quraysh Ali Lansana back to StudioTulsa; the writer, poet, educator, and Tulsa Artist Fellow joins us to discuss his newest book. That volume, "Opal's Greenwood Oasis," is a children's book for which he is the co-author. Aimed at elementary-school readers, the book profiles one Opal Brown, who takes her very first "on her own" bike ride throughout her home neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Sunita Puri, author of "That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour." Puri is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California, where she's also the medical director of palliative medicine at the Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center. She'll do a free event on the Zoom platform in connection with this insightful book on Wednesday the 28th at 6pm; the event is being co-presented by Hospice of Green Country and Magic City Books.

Our guest on ST is Susan Neal, the Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum and the Helmerich Center for American Research here in Tulsa. Gilcrease Museum, as was recently announced, will be closing its doors at the end of its business day on July 4th. The museum's current structure will then be demolished, with construction of a new museum (on the same site) to follow. As Neal explains, construction of the new museum facility will begin in early 2022 and is expected to take 2 or 3 years. (More details are posted here.)

Our guest is Shankar Vedantam, the bestselling author and host of the popular "Hidden Brain" podcast and public-radio show. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain." This book takes a detailed, research-driven look at the fundamental role of self-deception in human life -- that is, its positive as well as its negative aspects. As was noted of this work by The Washington Post: "Powerful....

(Note: This interview first aired last year.) As more people today identify as non-binary, individuals often introduce themselves by the pronouns with which they identify. E-mails are, for example, sometimes signed with "he/him/his," "she/her/hers," or "they/them/theirs." Pronouns are now playing a prominent role in our gender politics. This may seem new, but linguists have been puzzling over pronouns for a century -- or longer.

(Note: This interview first aired last fall.) Our guest is Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, a noted expert on both psychology and neuroscience who's also a University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University in Boston. She tells us about her book, "Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain." Per a starred review in Kirkus: "[This is] an excellent education in brain science.... [Feldman Barrett] deftly employs metaphor and anecdote to deliver an insightful overview of her favorite subject....

Photo via jewishpartisans.org

Next week, on Thursday the 22nd at 7pm, the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education and the Tulsa City-County Library will co-present the 23rd Annual Yom HaShoah Interfaith Commemoration.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Dr. Fern L. Johnson, a Senior Research Scholar and Professor Emerita at Clark University who focuses on race and culture. She and her partner, Marlene G. Fine, are the white parents of African American sons, and they're also the co-authors of a new book, "Let's Talk Race: A Guide for White People." The book aims to provide personal insights as well as practical guidance -- along with ample research findings, prompts for personal reflection, a variety of race-oriented conversation-starters, and a useful list of "dos" and "don'ts."

Photo by Jeremy Charles

We're glad to welcome back to our program the Tulsa-based guitarist, composer, and music producer Chris Combs, who's known for his work with COMBSY, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and other jazz/experimental/multi-genre outfits. Combs tells us about (and shares tracks from) his forthcoming album, "Roche Blave: Large Ensemble Works Recorded Live in Switzerland," which will be released by the nonprofit Horton Records on April 30th.

(Note: This show first aired early last year.) On this edition of StudioTulsa, we meet investigative journalist John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with The Wall Street Journal. He broke the story of the fraud perpetrated by the medical tech company known as Theranos and its charismatic young CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. That story is the basis of his book, "Bad Blood," which he tells us about.

Our guest is Herman Pontzer, an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and Associate Research Professor of Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute. An well-known researcher in human energetics and evolution, he joins us to discuss his new book, "Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy." The book draws on Pontzer's groundbreaking studies with hunter-gatherer tribes in order to show how exercise actually **doesn't** increase our metabolism.

(Note: This interview originally aired last summer.) We're pleased to welcome our friend John Wooley back to StudioTulsa. A longtime Tulsa-based music and pop-culture writer -- and the host, of course, of the popular Swing on This program, heard every Saturday night here on KWGS -- Wooley is the co-author, along with Brett Bingham, of a new book about the historic Cain's Ballroom.

Our guest is Nancy Pearl, the well-known librarian, bestselling author, and former executive director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. She's also a longtime book reviewer for KWGS-FM / Public Radio Tulsa, as she used to live and work in Tulsa, decades ago, before relocating to Washington State. We're very pleased to welcome Nancy back to StudioTulsa; she joins us to recommend several books she's been particularly enjoying over the past (often quite solitary) year or so.

(Note: This interview first aired last year.) Our guest is David Nasaw, the bestselling author and noted historian. He joins us to discuss his book, "The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War." It offers a far-reaching history of the one million refugees left behind in Germany after WWII, a disparate group that Nasaw refers to as "the last million." As explained in this careful documentation of postwar displacement and statelessness, the fate of "the last million" has been largely unknown, or hidden, until now.

(Note: This interview first aired last year.) Our guest is Emily Contois, Assistant Professor of Media Studies here at The University of Tulsa. Her recently published book, which she tells us about, is "Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture." It is, per Library Journal, "a fascinating work of cultural studies that makes evident the continued power and threat of explicitly gendered food production and consumption in the 21st century.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Bret Stetka, an editorial director at Medscape.com, which is the professional division of WebMD.com. A non-practicing physician and active freelance health/science journalist, Stetka joins us to discuss his fascinating new book, "A History of the Human Brain: From the Sea Sponge to CRISPR, How Our Brain Evolved." It's a readable and engaging history of how our most mysterious organ developed over time...from the brain's improbable and watery beginnings to the super-complex marvel that's found within the head of Homo sapiens today.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in September.) Our guest is the writer Jeff Hobbs, whose latest book closely follows four Los Angeles high school boys as they apply to college. These four teens are seniors at two very different high schools in L.A. -- one in Compton, the other in Beverly Hills -- and by telling their individual, personal stories, Hobbs reveals what our nation's young people (across all socio-economic backgrounds) are now confronting at home, at school, among peers, and throughout society.

Photo via Wikipedia

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who will deliver the next TU Presidential Lecture on Wednesday, April 7th, at 7:30pm. It's a free, online-only lecture; to register for this talk, or to learn more about it, please visit this page on the TU website.) Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, known to many as simply Dr. Q, grew up extremely poor in a rural Mexican village before he -- while still a teenager -- climbed over an 18-foot fence in order to enter California.

In the first two decades of the 21st century, New York City has experienced a terrorist attack, a blackout, a hurricane, an historic recession, widespread social injustice, and, of course, the current pandemic. How has all of this affected the lives of New Yorkers? Our guest is the bestselling author Craig Taylor, whose new book draws on years of interviews with hundreds of NYC residents in order to render an indelible group portrait of the city. As per Publishers Weekly: "[This is] an engrossing, multihued 'oral portrait' of New York City as told by the people who live there....

Our guest is Dorothy Wickenden, an author and editor at The New Yorker Magazine. She tells us about her fascinating new book, which explores various interlinked facets of American history, including abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women's rights movement, and the Civil War. As the noted Yale historian David W. Blight has written of this book: "As a revolutionary, Harriet Tubman made many allies, none more important than her Auburn, New York, neighbors Martha Wright and Frances Seward.

Our guest on StudioTulsa Medical Monday is Dr. Monica Aggarwal, the director of Integrative Cardiology and Prevention at the University of Florida, where she teaches plant-based nutrition while also performing various mind-body techniques with her students and patients, including yoga and meditation. (You can visit her website here.) Dr. Aggarwal joins us to discuss her latest book, "Body on Fire: How Inflammation Triggers Chronic Illness and the Tools We Have to Fight It," which came out last year, and which she co-wrote with Jyothi Rao.

(Note: This interview first aired last summer.) Our guest is Colin Dickey, a writer perhaps best known for his popular nonfiction book from years ago, "Ghostland." Dickey is a regular contributor to The LA Review of Books and Lapham's Quarterly; he also co-edited "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology." An active cultural historian and associate professor of creative writing at National University, he joins us to discuss his latest book.

Photo from Iowa Public Radio

Our guest is the renowned orchestral conductor Gerard Schwarz, who will lead the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in a special broadcast-only concert to be aiared on our sister station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM, on Saturday the 27th at 8pm -- with a rebroadcast happening on Sunday the 28th at 4pm. (In both cases, the over-the-air concert can be live-streamed online at publicradiotulsa.org.) Schwarz has had a pioneering, quite remarkable career in music, which he tells us about.

Yes, the climate is warming, and yes, we human beings are causing this warming. And yes, things look very bad. But what can be done...and what can **we** do...right now? Our guest has some answers; she is Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, Associate Professor of Sustainability Science at the well-regarded Lund University in Sweden. Born and raised on a vineyard in Sonoma, California, Nicholas studied the effect of climate change on the California wine industry for her PhD at Stanford.

We're pleased to welcome back to our program the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is "Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic." The book employs in-depth interviews with the film's director, stars, crew, casting team, and others to provide the definitive account of an American movie like no other. One of the most innovative and daring motion pictures of its time, Midnight Cowboy won three Oscars, including Best Picture...and it was the first film ever to get an "X" rating.

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