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Richard Fish

Voice Talent, Audio Theater
Sea Gull

Years as a Camper: Two

Current Profession and Title/Years in role:

  • Voice Talent, Audio Theatre actor, writer, director, producer – 51 years
  • Radio Broadcaster – 28 years
  • Radio Journalist – 9 years

Can you provide a snapshot of the work you have done and continue to do in the audio and entertainment industry and as a voice actor? How did you first get into the business? I was extremely lucky to find a direction in life at the young age of 18, and have been even luckier along the way, meeting and working with some of the best people in the business. I was first inspired in 1969 at the University of Virginia, where I heard The Firesign Theatre's first LP, “Waiting For the Electrician (Or Someone Like Him).” The Firesign Theatre is/was a four-man comedy group, sometimes called “America's Monty Python” (John Cleese and Eric Idle have said it was hearing their first album that inspired the Pythons to release their first album); the Archivist at the Library of Congress calls them “The Beatles of Comedy.” This caused me to move to Bloomington, Indiana, to attend Indiana University and take a degree in “Radio/TV” as it was called then; I settled there and have never left.

Along the way, I built and operated three recording studios and worked with many talented people including John Mellencamp, Allison Krauss, Randy Carmichael (son of Hoagy), Joseph Gingold, and others. This spawned a record label, a radio-commercial production house, and an international mail-order catalog selling new audio theatre works.

What do you believe have been some of your greatest personal and professional accomplishments? Is there a goal toward which you are currently working? I have earned the respect of people I respect, and can't see how I could have done better than that. I've had the fun of performing in hundreds of live radio broadcasts and many recorded productions and won awards as a performer, a creator of effective radio advertising, and as a journalist. I helped to found WFHB-FM, Bloomington's Community Radio station, which has become a major local institution involving over 150 volunteers. It took 17 years to get the license, and we're about to start our 29th year on the air.

Currently, I'm working to help bring the National Audio Theatre Festivals to Bloomington and greatly enhance its educational and training work.

On a personal level, I'm trying to become a successful writer. I have written two novels and am working on a third.

How do the values or skills you learned at Camp show up in your everyday work and/or personal life? I have the most wonderful memories of Camp Sea Gull! I was there for a month, two years in a row, and looking back, the experience gave me a huge boost in self-confidence. It was so fun and fascinating. I never got homesick, even though I was only 10 when I started. I was able to earn privileges including Outboard Operator, Outboard Engineer, and Inboard Operator, and being trusted with a boat on the water was an enormous compliment to me, at that age. Beyond that, the experience of meeting boys from all over and making new friends was (again looking back) a milestone in my development. Since then, I've never been afraid to meet, befriend, and work with people from outside my accustomed orbit.

Is there a person or a situation that had a huge influence on you while you were at Camp? How and why did they impact you? The counselors were wonderful. I do remember Wyatt Taylor and his enthusiastic leadership. The entire staff was inspired by him, and the effect on me was to strongly reinforce what my parents had been teaching me, the idea that I could do anything if I really put my mind to it and tried my best.

What advice would you give your younger self? Myself at age 10: Work harder at mastering sailboating. My initial sailing test, with what was called a “pram” – a square, flat-bottomed boat with a removable centerboard and a deceptively simple fore-and-aft rig – was a hilarious disaster and I went to the motorboating side immediately. I gave up too soon.

Favorite Camp meal: Probably hot dogs, I loved those

Favorite mess hall entry song: The Titanic – “It was sad when the great ship went down...” Never forgot it.

All-time favorite skit memory: The spitting contest. We had boys at all four corners of the hut, each with a tin can and a spoon. Someone pretended to spit, and they would hold up the can toward him, open-end out, and bang the spoon on the bottom to simulate a ricochet. It seemed to bounce all over the room and the whole thing was hilarious.

Do you have a hidden talent?  I write parody song lyrics; also, most people don't realize I'm a musician, because I performed for over 20 years but stepped back from it about 40 years ago. Recently I took up the bass fiddle again. I played folk, folk-rock and bluegrass, back in the day; these days I'm hip on jazz and swing.

What profession other than your own would you like to try? I'd like to be a cabaret singer, working small rooms with a trio or quartet. Maybe get some laughs with those parody lyrics.