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Local columnist takes issues to the airwaves

Ann Fisher had large shoes to fill when she stepped into the 10 a.m. slot on public radio station WOSU, replacing Fred Andrle’s “Open Line” program. But Fisher’s show, “All Sides,” has taken off as a result of her great background in reporting and public affairs.

“All Sides with Ann Fisher,” which debuted Sept. 8, is a two-hour daily radio show that deals with public affairs and policies in central Ohio. As the title implies, Fisher makes it her goal to tackle both the conservative and liberal sides, she said.

“Of course, there have been some people out there who are literalists and take it that literally every program is going to represent all sides, but if we did that then no one would get a word in edgewise,” Fisher said. Instead, she said, the goal is to incorporate all sides in a broader context.

Fisher said that compared to Andrle’s “Open Line,” her show offers more news in the first hour. The second hour focuses on current events and public policy, with special guests such as noted authors and commentators.

Fisher began her career in the newspaper industry, working for papers including The Toledo Blade and The Columbus Dispatch. She also worked on the Ohio Statehouse news bureau and served as a both a reporter and editor for state news, allowing her to travel all over Ohio.

The seed for “All Sides” was planted in 2005 when Fisher became a columnist for The Columbus Dispatch. She had previously been an editorial writer for the newspaper and enjoyed the transition.

“No one knew who I was, they had never seen my name before,” Fisher said of the transition.

In her column, Fisher covered subjects ranging from state government and politics to local issues. Much like her call-in radio, her column struck up much conversation among Ohioans.

Fisher knew she was ready to make the transition to radio after her column was canceled and she returned to writing news. She said she had “been there, done that” and was ready for a new challenge.

“So what a wonderful opportunity to find out the same day that I lost the column that Fred Andrle was retiring,” Fisher said. “I absolutely loved the column. I loved getting out and meeting people and I loved representing the newspaper in the community. I think that’s a really big strength for the show.”

Fisher said she was almost surprised by her desire to make the jump to broadcast media, after making only scattered guest appearances on-air in the past.

“I love newspapers. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was 3 years old,” Fisher said. “But after the column, I just knew my spirit wouldn’t be into going back to news writing.”

She said she would miss the conversational tone that her column allowed — something that has crossed over to her work with the radio show.

Because of Fisher’s subject matter, there has been a crossover in audience from her column to her radio program. She said that she is hoping she can expand her audience to include more young, student-age adults.

“No matter what age you are, all things being equal … this is the only local talk radio show and really there is nothing else like it in the city,” Fisher said.

“All Sides with Ann Fisher” airs weekdays at 10 a.m. and is rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Listeners can call in at 292-8513 or e-mail at allsides@wosu.com to submit their questions or feedback.

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