WOSU Welcomes Ann Fisher
The long process of finding a new host for WOSU’s radio talk show has ended with a walk-off home run.
Ann Fisher, long-time writer for The Columbus Dispatch, will take over hosting our late morning talk show in early September. We could not be more excited to have Ann join WOSU. She is the ideal person to move the show forward. WOSU listeners surely will embrace her depth, intelligence, journalistic instincts, energy and passion for Central Ohio, its people and issues.
Thus ends the difficult search process. “Difficult” does not come close to describing the task we faced trying to choose between several extremely talented candidates.
Here’s an inside look at the process. We had 171 applicants which we narrowed down to seven semi-finalists. As I and members of our search committee interviewed them, we asked them to interview one of us as if he/she was doing a radio interview. This was our first hint of how the candidates would sound on the air. No lie, the short interviews showed that just about every semi-finalist could have done the job well. (We also know more about WOSU Content Czar Brent Davis than we really needed to.) Then we narrowed the field to three finalists.
The three finalists met with our search committee and other members of the WOSU staff. We asked them about their vision for the show, what guests they would book, what topics they would choose, if they were a tree, what kind of tree would they be … You name it, we asked it.
We then asked them to host a one-hour mock talk show with an in-studio guest. This we felt was the best way to test how they would sound on the air. We decided against having the candidates “try-out” live on the radio as some other stations have done. That would not have worked for several reasons. It’s not really a good programming strategy. Listeners like consistency and having a “host-of-the-day” would be disruptive. Secondly, most of the candidates had other jobs. Try explaining to your boss that you need a day off for personal reasons and then have her/him hear you on the radio.
After all these interviews, tests, and very thoughtful discussions, it became clear that Ann Fisher was the best choice to build upon the foundation laid by Fred What’s-His-Name.
The show will be different than Mr. Andrle’s program. (Note the above absence of the words “Open Line”). It will be a little more newsy, a little more nimble in reacting to the news of the day and the week. Ann Fisher will bring a different sound and perspective to the airwaves. She will make it her own. But the fairness, balance and civility will remain.
- Mike Thompson