My trajectory to a lengthy career as a journalist slash broadcaster begins in Dermott, the town where I was raised, at a little radio station owned by then TV weatherman Ron Sherman.
It was a brand new country music radio station, and I guess word got out at the coffee shop that I wanted to work in broadcasting. After the summer was over, I journeyed to the Hill and enrolled in the University of Arkansas to study journalism with an emphasis in public relations and advertising. I did not choose broadcast journalism as a major, because in my mind, I thought, what could anyone teach me about talking?
I was right in some respects. I did win “Most Talkative” my senior year of high school. I had a college teacher almost kick me out of a dance class (quit judging; it was an easy elective along with Film Lecture) because I talked so much. I was at Girls State as a rising high school senior, and the director stopped the whole thing to tell me to hush. Therefore, I hoped broadcasting was all about talking. Boy, was I wrong.
I graduated from the U of A a month after Nolan Richardson was hired to coach the men’s basketball team. I started three weeks later at KATV, Channel 7, a television job, in Little Rock as a desk assistant. I didn’t choose to pursue advertising/public relations just yet. I knew that was for later. I was at Channel 7 for 10 months; a budget cut in April 1986 had me out the door quicker than you could say, “Ned Perme.” In fact, I babysat Perme’s kids during that time because I made just 50 cents an hour more than minimum wage when minimum wage was ridiculously low, and I had to supplement with a side hustle. I had a spending problem, which is for another time. But I was flat broke. My short time in TV news taught me one thing: I knew it wasn’t for me. It takes a lot more work than just being loquacious.
For starters, you have to be more focused than I could ever be. And accurate. And you couldn’t come back from an assignment bad-talking the shoes Anne Jansen, the rival news anchor, was wearing. So I hopped over to radio and hosted my own talk show on then AM-signal only, KARN. From 1-3 in the afternoon. With no cell phones. Let me remind you that I was hosting a talk show begging people to call, and they had to pull over and put coins in a pay phone to be on the air. This is why I love technology. You young whippersnappers and your mobile devices.
But while I was on KARN flapping my jaws, I had the opportunity to work at KARK, Channel 4, and host a segment known as “Dialing for Dollars.” So I did both. I was on the noon show on Channel 4 and then raced over to KARN to be on the radio. I was also hired to be the entertainment reporter at Channel 4. That’s when I could come back from a news story and diss Anne Jansen’s shoes.
I got the boot from KARN just two years after my not-so-meteoric rise in radio. I didn’t have what it took. The average listener was an educated 42-year-old male. I was an inane, 25-year-old female. We didn’t have a lot in common. After a couple of other radio gigs, I thought I had hung up my mic.
But after many years as an unassuming homeschool mom to three children, I showed back up on the radio in 2006 on Little Rock’s B98.5 until 2018. And I never really left your television screens. I have hawked everything from Brandon House furniture to Cost Plus Furniture to Hank’s Furniture. I clearly have a way with furniture shoppers. I am still on TV advertising home improvement products through Ron Sherman Advertising. Yes, the man who hired me in 1981 is still hiring me 40 years later.
My voice is now heard all over the planet. That’s not hyperbole. I have a podcast called the “Lisa Fischer Said” podcast. Like clockwork, I get downloads weekly from two listeners in Belgium and one in Australia. I am killing it in Belgium!
I also put that “A” in senior-level copy editing to good use as the mean, staff copy editor at AY Media Group. I have a red pen that would make your 10th-grade English teacher proud. And I’m the editor-at-large for AY About You. I give story ideas and try to tell the real editor how he needs to run his magazine.
I have had plenty of birthdays since I started my career, but I have as much energy now as I did when I wore that garish, yellow floral-patterned dress with the big shoulder pads on TV in the ’80s. I feel like my career now includes days of being in public relations as well as the other plates I spin, because I enjoy telling the public through social media about local businesses and products. I love the art of communicating no matter how we accomplish it. Radio, TV, podcast, social media, print, heck, I love to text and am notorious for leaving verbose voice memos.
That “Most Talkative” title is something I wear with pride.
Lisa Fischer is the editor-at-large for AY About You and the copy editor for all publications of AY Media Group. She’s been happily married to Kris Fischer for 33 years, and they have three grown children and two really cute granddaughters.