The Young at Heart event has expanded to two days at two sites.
The festival for active seniors will be July 18 at Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road, Columbus, and July 25 at the Makoy Center, 5462 Center Road, Hilliard.
Bob Orr and Ann Fisher will be the featured speakers July 18. Chuck White and Jym Ganahl are the featured speakers July 25.
Below are stories on Orr and Fisher.
At 62, Bob Orr had accomplished about as much as anyone could expect.
Orr had spent 43 years in TV news for a variety of networks, including roles as an anchor with WBNS-10TV in Columbus and on CBS News’ national broadcasts of major stories, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing.
But in 2016, the newly retired Orr had one thing left to check off his list of accomplishments.
Despite his success in news, Orr always had dreamed of being a baseball broadcaster.
“My dream job was to be the play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” he said with a laugh. “But I looked around and did the math and realized that for every sports job, there were seven or eight news jobs.”
After a year of retirement, however, a colleague from Philadelphia called to tell Orr he had a special opportunity for him. He said Orr couldn’t know what it was and wasn’t allowed to say no.
Orr committed, and his friend revealed that Orr would call two innings of a Philadelphia Phillies spring-training game in Clearwater, Florida.
Calling the game was difficult, and Orr wasn’t sure how good he was at it. But he loved it.
“It was so much fun,” said Orr, now 63. “As I was walking to the car that night with my wife, I thought to myself, ‘Well, that puts a button on it.’ That was the one piece I was never able to do. It scratched the itch.”
After a career filled with major accomplishments, Orr’s ultimate satisfaction after two innings of baseball was somewhat in jest. But the achievement just a year after leaving work sums up Orr’s view of retirement.
“People, I think, look at retirement as an end – it’s kind of a destination,” he said. “It’s nothing like that. It’s really kind of like your next job. The fun thing about that next job, though, is that you set the schedule and you can kind of pick your spots – travel when you want to, do what you want to – and that’s a luxury no worker bee ever has. So I’ve approached retirement not as the end but as the next phase. I’m loving it.”
Of course, it will be difficult for Orr to achieve more in his retired years than he did as a professional.
Many in central Ohio know Orr from his time anchoring broadcasts for WBNS-10TV from 1978 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1993. He also participated in the creation of the Children’s Miracle Network telethon in 1983, which he anchored for seven years.
“Those seven years of anchoring the telethon ... were great times because we were really able to do something I thought made a difference in the community,” he said. “I got very close with people at (Nationwide) Children’s Hospital and the staff there. ... The news was the news and that was the job, but the telethon was bigger than that. It was making a palpable difference in people’s lives, and that was really special.”
In Columbus, he covered major events like the 1993 riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where he was requested by inmates to hold a broadcast from within the prison to share their demands.
“It was very dramatic and a little unnerving, but it was obviously important,” he said. “We had dead prisoners and a dead guard. The good news is that after we got involved and other people got involved ... the inmate takeover ended with no additional deaths. So I always felt that was kind of a monumental achievement on behalf of a lot of different people.”
When he returned home after the “harrowing, dicey situation,” he had job offers from both NBC News and CBS News. He agreed to move to CBS and spent the remainder of his career – 1993 to 2015 – doing national stories.
“It was the same job but with higher stakes and greater pressure,” he said. “I wasn’t anchoring the news, so it didn’t have that kind of lead-performance aspect, but it was a great journalistic opportunity. I always viewed myself as a reporter first and anchor second.”
At CBS, he started on the aviation-safety beat, covering a variety of plane crashes and other incidents. That led him to being a major part of the network’s 9/11 coverage.
Eventually, he became a homeland-security and justice correspondent covering terrorism, counterintelligence, the Islamic State and more, which led to coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
“It gave me kind of a leading view of major events,” he said. “It’s cliche to say it was a front-row seat to history, but that’s really what it was. Every time something major happened ... we would go into special coverage almost immediately, and that meant I would be involved, usually in a hybrid anchor/reporter role.”
Since his retirement in 2015, Orr and his wife, Susie, have moved to Naples, Florida. He said the pair spend a lot of time traveling and recently visited Russia, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
They also spend as much time as possible with their three daughters, Ashley Baker, Whitney Williams (both central Ohio residents) and Meg Bice, and their grandchildren, Zoe, Zadie and Harrison.
Whenever he has a spare moment to reflect on his career, Orr said, he rarely has any regrets.
“I feel very satisfied that I was given a great opportunity and did a great job, or at least the best I could, given my ability,” he said. “I worked with the most talented people in the business and learned something from all of them. I don’t take that lightly.”
As far back as third grade, Ann Fisher knew she wanted to be a print journalist.
“When I was growing up, radio was kind of not cool; it was TV, but I didn’t care about television either,” she said. “I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Back in the olden days, nobody thought that newspapers would ever be endangered. Every city had a couple. That’s just what I wanted to do, and that was my big dream.”
More than 50 years later, Fisher is doing the “not cool” thing. She’s one of the most recognizable voices in Columbus radio, thanks to her show, “All Sides with Ann Fisher.”
Despite not being a newspaper reporter anymore, Fisher, 61, thinks her third-grade self would be happy with the career she has had.
“I think third-grade Ann would get it if she had all the facts,” she said with a laugh. “She’d feel really proud that I did pursue my dream and I achieved it. I did good.”
Pursuing her journalism degree at Michigan State University only reaffirmed Fisher’s desire to write for newspapers. In one class, she had an “old radio guy” as a professor who, she said, didn’t like her because she was so obviously uninterested.
“I didn’t even want to be in the class,” she said. “I didn’t want to do any broadcast work.”
But by the end of the class, that professor was telling her she should get into radio. She still wasn’t buying it.
“In the end he said, ‘You might actually be good at this,’ ” she said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m never going to do it, so it doesn’t matter.’ ”
For the first 30 years of her career, that sentiment seemed true.
Fisher started her career working for the Grand Rapids Press, writing “everything but sports” before moving to the Toledo Blade for a nine-year stint covering state government. In 1998, she joined The Columbus Dispatch and worked a wide variety of jobs, including coverage of Appalachia, writing editorials, editing and working as a columnist.
But in September of 2009, she realized she was ready for a change.
After some shuffling at the paper, she heard that Fred Andrle, whom she saw as “sort of a legend,” was leaving his radio show and that WOSU was looking for someone to replace him.
She talked to a friend who had told her she could get hired, and she took her shot at changing careers.
Looking back on it 10 years later, Fisher said, she wasn’t sure of the change even as she was going for it.
“I didn’t want to (move), but I was glad to have the opportunity,” she said. “It was a financial risk, and I still haven’t recouped it, but for all I know, I’d be making less if I had stayed.”
The transition to radio was not an easy one, and Fisher said it took her months to feel comfortable.
“The culture change and the technology was so foreign to me,” she said. “I think I was in a zombie mode for about six months, just not having the same daily deadline but also having more of a deadline than ever before called live radio.”
In her 50s after a well-established career, Fisher wasn’t just getting used to a new workplace and new colleagues; she was changing fields entirely.
“I didn’t just change companies; I changed technologies – that was a huge thing,” she said. “That was exhausting. But I’m glad I did it. I made the change. I took a huge pay cut, and it was a big culture change for me, but I never regretted it. I think when you go into journalism, one of the enticements is learning something new all the time. I’ve got that in spades.”
Now Fisher is as confident as ever that she made the right choice.
For others who are considering the idea of a career change in their 50s, Fisher said, she would encourage others to pursue that growth.
“It was a risk,” she said. “But I don’t think it’s bad to take risks. If you’re calculated with them, they can make your life more interesting and give you different paths you didn’t know you had.”
For some, like Fisher, taking that risk can mean a new and unexpected challenge and passion.
“At a time when people are sitting on their haunches or falling back, I got the chance to step up,” she said.