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

Since the end of World War II, the Atlantic Alliance between the countries of Western Europe and the United States has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. Despite various strains over the years, my guest today has said: "We've always argued about the 'means,' not the 'ends,' of policy. Now we seem to want very different end results." He was referring in this comment to the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, despite near-unanimous European opposition.

(Note: This interview originally aired in March.) It's often noted that health care in America is changing quickly and dramatically -- and that it is, moreover, in a state of crisis -- but can the same be said for therapy? Our guest is Dr. Enrico Gnaulati, a clinical psychologist based in California.

LOUIS LAMONE, PHOTOGRAPHER; BILL SCOVILL AND NORMAN ROCKWELL, CA 1962; INKJET PRINT, NORMAN ROCKWELL COLLECTION, ©1962 NORMAN ROCKWELL FAMILY AGENCY.

On this encore edition of StudioTulsa, we revisit an interview from back in February regarding "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera." This show -- now on view at Gilcrease, but closing on June 10th -- is the first-ever exhibition to explore in depth the famous illustrator's richly detailed study photographs, images that he used, quite carefully, as reference points for his iconic paintings. Our guest is Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, the deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

Neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky has spent his professional life attempting to understand the underpinnings and science behind human behavior, studying wild baboon populations as well as the complex workings of the human brain. The professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" recipient is the author of several books on various aspects of behavior -- and his latest, "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worse," seems like a summation of his knowledge on the subject.

Photo by George Hirose

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with mezzo-soprano and vocal performance artist Alicia Hall-Moran, a versatile singer at home with opera, art, theatre, and jazz. Hall-Moran made her Broadway debut understudying as "Bess" in the revival of "The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess," but the main thrust of her work is in varied collaborations with a "who's who" of creative types -- from her husband, the celebrated jazz musician Jason Moran, to visual artists like Carrie Mae Weems and choreographers like Bill T. Jones. 

On this broadcast of ST, we learn about a new book called "Art Deco Tulsa" -- and our guests are the two people who created it: Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis wrote the text, and Sam Joyner made the photographs. As is noted of this book at its publisher's website: "Transformed from a cattle depot into the Oil Capital of the World, Tulsa emerged as an iconic Jazz Age metropolis. The Magic City attracted some of the nation's most talented architects, including Bruce Goff, Francis Barry Byrne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph R.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Katie Watson, an award-winning professor who has taught bioethics, medical humanities, and constitutional law for several years at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. She joins us to discuss her smart, well-balanced, and accessible new book, "Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Ordinary Abortion." Per The Chicago Tribune, it "is a thoughtful and engaging consideration of one of this country's most controversial words: abortion." And further, from Louise P.

Our guest is the California-based seismologist, Dr. Lucy Jones, whose new book is "The Big Ones." It offers a bracing look at some of the history's greatest natural disasters, world-altering events whose reverberations we continue to feel today. At Pompeii, for example, Dr. Jones explores how a volcanic eruption in the first century AD challenged prevailing views of religion. Later in the book, she examines the California floods of 1862 and how they show that memory itself can change or fade over successive generations.

Photo by Valery Lyman

Our guest is the photographer and filmmaker Valery Lyman, who now has a striking show on view at Living Arts in downtown Tulsa called "Breaking Ground." This show, per the Living Arts website, aims to travel "through the American psyche and landscape. Documentary artist Valery Lyman has been photographing and recording audio in the Bakken region of North Dakota over the course of five years, documenting the rise of the oil industry there and the substantial migration that went along with it.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Richard Russo, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such popular novels as Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool. Also known for his short stories and autobiographical writings, Mr. Russo has a new book out, his very first collection of personal essays, which he tells us about. It's called "The Destiny Thief." Note: Mr. Russo will soon do a free-to-the-public reading and signing here in Tulsa; on Thursday the 17th, beginning at 7pm, he'll be at the TCC Center for Creativity.

On this edition of ST, an interesting discussion with Hannibal B. Johnson, the Tulsa-based attorney, local historian, and prolific author. He joins us to talk about his newest book, which is just out: "The Sawners of Chandler: A Pioneering Power Couple in Pre-Civil Rights Oklahoma." As is noted of this compelling and eye-opening book at Mr.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, our guest is Dr. Nicole Washington, who has worked in the past as both an academic and community-based psychiatrist, and who's now on the staff at Family and Children's Services here in Tulsa. Dr. Washington also operates a private practice dedicated to helping high-level professionals deal with a variety of emotional and mental issues.

Our guest on ST is the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg, who's known for his books "All Over but the Shoutin'" and "Ava's Man." His new book, which he tells us about, is "The Best Cook in the World." In this work, Bragg sets out to preserve his heritage as well as his family history by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking, her upbringing, her education, her child-rearing, and so forth -- from her own childhood into old age. As Bragg tell us, in the American South just like everywhere else, good food always has a good story behind it.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is the remarkable Blondy Baruti, who grew up in a war-ravaged part of Africa, then came to the U.S. in order to become a professional basketballer, and actually ended up as a Hollywood movie star. And along the way, of course, he also played hoops at and attended the University of Tulsa. Baruti has a new autobiography out, which has been thus praised by Booklist: "What shines through here is Baruti's good heart, persistence, and absolute unwillingness to give up on his dreams despite repeated setbacks.

The Arena District in downtown Tulsa can seem, at times, like the heart of the city -- like when there's a big show at the BOK Center, or a large convention at the Cox Convention Center. At other times...it's pretty quiet. So, one key question is how best to turn a limited-use area into a thriving year-round destination. This matter is now being explored by the City of Tulsa's Master Planning Process; it's a process that's being underway for months now.

The 2018 Session of the Oklahoma State Legislature recently adjourned, and what a session it was. For the first time since State Question 640 passed in 1992, the Legislature was able to raise revenues by green-lighting an increase in the Gross Production Tax rate as well as increases in fuel and cigarette taxes (with all of these increases passing the 75% threshold, as required by the State Constitution).

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, a discussion about fighting opioid addiction at the individual, societal, and legal levels. Our guest is the successful OKC-based trial lawyer, Reggie Whitten. He'll be a co-lead counsel for the State of Oklahoma in an upcoming lawsuit against four different Big Pharma firms; that trial is set to begin in May of next year. Whitten's stake in the lawsuit is also quite personal; in 2002, he lost his son, Brandon, to a car accident triggered by Brandon's addiction to prescription drugs.

On this edition of ST, with the long-running,multifaceted, and decidedly unorthodox "Museum Confidential" exhibit about to close (on Sunday the 6th) at Philbrook Museum of Art, we present another installment in the Museum Confidential Podcast series. Co-created by Jeff Martin of Philbrook and our own Scott Gregory, this podcast has been posting twice-monthly since the exhibition opened at the museum back in October.

We speak with the British novelist, Matt Killeen, whose first novel is just out now. "Orphan Monster Spy" is a YA novel that offers a "powerful, bleak, and penetrating portrait of an isolated young woman excelling in unimaginable danger" (Kirkus Reviews). It's the exciting tale of a young woman named Sarah -- a blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish 15-year-old living in 1939 Germany...who (thanks in part to her "non-Jewish" looks) becomes part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich.

On this edition of ST, we offer a chat with Pam Muñoz Ryan, the prolific American writer for children and young adults who often produces books with multicultural and/or progressive themes. Ryan is the winner of the 2018 Anne V. Zarrow Award, which is given annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. Her 40 or so books include "Riding Freedom" (1998), "Esperanza Rising" (2000), "The Dreamer" (2010), and "Echo" (2015). She will appear here in Tulsa at a free-to-the-public event on Friday the 4th at the Hardesty Regional Library (which begins at 7pm).

Tulsa Ballet will soon offer, on May 3rd through the 6th, its season-ending Signature Series production, a gathering of three distinct yet thought-provoking works on themes cultural, social, and political. Alongside ballets by Nacho Duato and Ma Cong, the 1932 anti-war piece "The Green Table" will be staged. Our guests on ST are two internationally respected dancers who are both in town to handle the staging of "The Green Table" -- Jeanette Vondersaar and Claudio Schellino.

(Note: This show originally aired back in October.) Our guest on this installment of ST Medical Monday is Dr. Victoria Sweet, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who's also a prize-winning historian and a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. She joins us to discuss her book, "Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing." This work, part candid memoir and part well-informed critique, argues for an across-the-board "slowing down" of the practice of medicine in America.

The Tulsa Zoo's popular Conservation On Tap event will happen soon. It's a sold-out gathering, a fundraiser from which all profits will go toward saving chinchillas in the wild. We learn about these important, furry, and quite threatened creatures -- their habitat, habits, history, etc. -- on today's StudioTulsa.

Our guest is Bernard Uzan, a witty and insightful 50-year veteran of the performing arts industry, who has worked with several different opera and theatrical companies over the years in a range of positions (including a bit of directorial work with Tulsa Opera back in the 1980s). He'll be the stage director for Puccini's "Turandot," to be presented on April 27th and 29th at the Tulsa PAC. (More info on that production is posted here.)

On this edition of ST, we speak with Ambassador Husain Haqqani, who served as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011. Now working as a Hudson Institute Senior Fellow, where he is also the Director for South and Central Asia, Haqqani is widely credited with managing a difficult American-Pakistani partnership during a critical phase in the global war on terrorism. He has, moreover, served as an advisor to four different Pakistani Prime Ministers; he is also co-editor of the journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.

Photo by Don Thompson

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we chat with the noted photographer Don Thompson, who's been documenting the people and places of north Tulsa for more than 40 years now. His photos have been shown at local galleries, are on permanent display at OSU-Tulsa, and were recently added to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Dr. Daniela Lamas, author of "You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor’s Stories of Life, Death, and In Between." As was noted of this book by Publishers Weekly: "In this ruminative account of treating patients, Lamas, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, analyzes how the critically ill manage life during and after treatment. She meets people who are neither bitter nor sorrowful about their conditions, but are constantly aware of their precarious states....

On this edition of ST, we present another installment in the bi-weekly Museum Confidential podcast series, which is co-created by Jeff Martin of Philbrook Museum of Art and our own Scott Gregory. This particular podcast explores the Rothko Chapel, established in 1971 in Houston, Texas. It's both a sacred space and a modern art mainstay. Dedicated to non-denominational prayer and private contemplation -- and also to international peace and fellowship -- the building routinely hosts lectures, concerts, interfaith gatherings, and similar events.

In the ongoing search for better treatment of mental health issues and illnesses, one crucial consideration is the trade-off between the effectiveness of a given treatment versus any unpleasant or damaging side-effects it might have. On this edition of ST, we are talking about one such treatment -- it's one that's actually been around for decades, but that is now being done in a much different (and far more nuanced) manner: electrical stimulation of the brain. Our guest is Dr. Hamed Ekhtiari, an associate investigator at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (or LIBR) here in Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the first-ever Tulsa Lit.Fest, an impressive array of free-to-the-public events that will happen here in our community from tomorrow (the 19th) through Sunday (the 22nd).

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