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Richard Sher Of 'Says You' Was Just As Warm Off Stage

Richard Sher, host of Says You, left, and KUOW Programming Director Jeff Hansen, in the spring of 2014. They are standing on Sher's favorite spot in a gated cemetery in Boston.
Courtesy of Jeff Hansen
Richard Sher, host of 'Says You,' left, and KUOW Programming Director Jeff Hansen in the spring of 2014. They are standing on Sher's favorite spot in a gated cemetery in Boston.

Phyllis Fletcher, Managing Editor, Northwest News Network:

"It’s not important to know the answers. You just have to like the answers.”

I hoped to see Richard Sher again – and I assumed it would be soon. He brought his show “Says You” to the Puget Sound area at least once a year. I wanted to come back to at least sit in the audience or maybe even be picked as a panelist again.

They made it look so easy — and for me it wasn't! But Richard's enthusiasm for the whole enterprise of “Says You” was infectious. I particularly liked seeing how much he enjoyed the kids who helped out on this night by keeping score and that he wanted them to feel special. 
Richard also gave a special shout-out from the stage to a “Says You” superfan in the audience who admitted he had been so excited at a show once that he had fainted!

"I DO remember you," Richard said, appearing shocked. But he was of course kind to him and other hard core Says You-ers who had followed the show around the country. 

Richard amused thousands of public radio fans over the years and I was sorry to learn today that he died. 

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Gregg Porter, KUOW Announcer: 

I was deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of “Says You” host Richard Sher. We had a connection that, because of Richard’s personality and caring behavior, felt more personal than professional.

It began when Richard was here to attend a live national broadcast of “Sandy Bradley’s Potluck” as a guest of his friend, fiddler Frank Ferrel, who appeared on the show in 1992. Sitting in the audience at the Museum of History & Industry, the germ of an idea for a live word game/quiz show came to Richard – which he then developed into “Says You.”

I was producer for the 11-year run of “Potluck” on KUOW, and because of this role, Richard told me he considered me a “godfather” of his program. As “Says You” grew, I kept in contact with him, including the submission of several rounds of questions for the show.

The first time they went on the road was in 2005, and they came to Seattle. An enthusiastic crowd cheered them on (in fact, we were the show’s largest audience to that date). Before settling into their regular Town Hall venue, they taped two shows at the MOHAI auditorium, and at that first taping (show 808, if you want to check their archives), Richard told of his Seattle visit 13 years prior and how it inspired him to create “Says You.” He then pointed me out to the crowd and opened the show with a round my sweetie and I had submitted.

We had several short and intense conversations each time they brought the show to town, invariably ending with a shared desire to spend more time together the next time. I continued to submit rounds to him and gave him a copy of that 1992 “Potluck” show.

Seattle loved and embraced Richard’s dream in a way he would never forget. We send our deepest sympathy to his wife Laura, son Benjamin and extended radio family. It has been said that Richard collected people the way other people collect stamps. I am honored to have been placed with care into his collection.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Richard Sher of the radio show 'Says You' when he came to Seattle in October. KUOW Host Marcie Sillman, center.", "fid": "115380", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201502/marcie-richard-sher.jpg", "attribution": "Credit Courtesy of Marcie Sillman"}]]

Jeff Hansen, KUOW Programming Director:

I can confirm and add that Richard Sher was a delightful man, always warm, personable and funny.

When I was in Boston last spring, he and his wife Laura took my daughter Reve and me out to dinner and gave us a personalized tour of Boston and showed Reve a number of the colleges and universities in the Boston area. Laura invited my daughter to stay with them anytime if she came to Boston to look at more schools.

Leading up to that was a friendship over some 20 years.

Richard called from time to time to chat and/or to ask for advice about the program and he was very open to unsolicited advice. I lobbied him for years to make the show a one-hour show. Eventually he did and was most grateful for the encouragement.

Another example was his break from NPR as a distributor. I told him nothing bad would happen. Nothing bad did happen and he was so happy. The show has grown and flourished in the 6 p.m. hour on Saturday evenings – way out of proportion to that time.

Richard was one of my most favorite people I’ve known in my 35 years in public radio. I will miss him a lot, and I grieve also for his wonderful wife and his young son, both of whom lost an amazing father and husband. He spoke so often and with so much love and emotion about both of them. As hard as this is for us, I know this must be an unimaginably difficult time for them.