Tom Flanigan

Program Director for News

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, with a focus on covering local news personalities, issues and organizations.  He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and  covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas and his home state of Maryland.  In between, he spent a number of years in corporate communications for a few private firms, time that he calls “invaluable” for giving him a greatly expanded media perspective.  During the relatively rare times he’s not racing to cover various community events and activities, Tom enjoys reading and playing guitar (He was a professional drummer in a previous life and is trying to expand his musical horizons). Follow Tom Flanigan on Twitter: @flanigan_tom.

In today’s economy, it can be tough for anyone, especially returning military veterans, to find a job.  Tom Flanigan reports the State of Florida is now trying to make it easier for vets to create their own jobs in the commercial fishing industry.
 

Every Veterans Day, there are parades, parties, celebrations, proclamations and much rhetoric about service and sacrifice.  Steve Murray with the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs says all this is nice, but it doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.

A little-known United Nations plan adopted twenty years ago is now seen by some as a threat to the American way of life. The Florida Legislature is expected to address the issue when it convenes this coming March.

Florida’s unemployment rate edged down in September by the smallest of margins.  Despite the modest drop, state officials say it’s a sign that Governor Scott’s drive to create private sector jobs is really working.

A Tallahassee musician whose band once ruled the Tennessee Street Strip has released a new record.  Tom Flanigan sat down with poet, guitarist and singer-songwriter Hal Shows to talk about it….

Amendment Number Three is an idea that's already been tried in the state of Colorado with not-so-great results.

One of the eleven proposed constitutional amendments Florida voters will be deciding in the upcoming election is Amendment Number Three.  Outgoing Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos says it’s the solution to a problem that has plagued state government for years.

To say it’s been a long, strange trip for Hal Shows is surely an imperial understatement.  His band “Persian Gulf” broke new sonic ground, first in Tallahassee and later in New York City.  As a solo artist, Shows drew fans in U.S.

A musical favorite son is back in Tallahassee for a good cause.  Tom Flanigan reports the legendary “Sauce Boss” will be stirring up some tasty sounds in support of the Lemoyne Center for the Visual Arts.

The race for Tallahassee City Commission Seat One heated up today (Tuesday).  Tom Flanigan reports the issue involved a campaign brochure, a political T-V ad and a ruling by the Florida Elections Commission.

The brochure promoting candidate Steve Stewart had a photo of him with Leon School Superintendent Jackie Pons.  Stewart opponent Scott Maddox cried “foul”.

Even though it showed the school superintendent’s picture with him on there and had a quote from Jackie Pons on the mail piece, he certainly wanted to give the inference that he was endorsed.”

For nearly one-hundred years, Florida’s County Extension offices have been a great place to learn about growing green.   Tom Flanigan reports it may not be too long before those same offices will be the place to learn about GOING green.

Florida voters will have to decide the fate of nearly a dozen state constitutional amendments in the upcoming election. One organization has set up an on-line resource to give voters all sides on each of those amendments.

Ezequiel Torres web site

A world-music superstar comes to Tallahassee this week.  Tom Flanigan reports he’ll give three performances in the Capital City….

If you’ve never heard of Ezequiel Torres, that’s probably because you’re not familiar with Afro-Cuban drumming.  Blaine Wade with the Florida Department of State says that Torres became acquainted with that tradition early on in his Cuban homeland.

The United Way of the Big Bend has launched this year’s campaign. The organization hopes to raise about as much as it collected last year.

The arena of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center resembled a political convention scene. The 2012 United Way of the Big Bend campaign kicked off with a mock debate between an actor called “ignorance and apathy” and local United Way Campaign Chair Ron Sachs.

There’s been a lot of talk about “socialism” during this presidential campaign.  Tom Flanigan reports members of the real Socialist Party were filing papers with Florida’s Division of Elections on Monday, August 27.


Naomi Craine chairs Florida’s Socialist Workers Party.  She’s also her party’s candidate for the U-S Senate.  Republicans have been calling President Barack Obama a “socialist”, so the logical question for Craine was, “is he?”

Much of this year’s Florida Legislative Session dealt with the issue of reforming the state’s personal injury protection or “PIP” auto insurance law.  Lawmakers wound up passing a reform measure, but Tom Flanigan reports there are already questions about whether it will work as advertised…

Larri Gerson

On Sunday, August 19, Florida State University bid farewell to the man who started its Black Studies Program – and who inspired hundreds of students to spend their lives in pursuit of justice. 

He was a world-renowned academic, minister and activist for racial equality.  But what Bill Jones did best was teach. He was down to earth – cooking for students, loaning them money to keep them in school.  Above all, said Doctor Billy Close, now an FSU professor himself, Jones taught them – regardless of color, gender or orientation – to conquer their doubts.

Every election seems to have at least a few surprises.  One of the shockers in Florida’s August fourteenth primary involved a veteran North Florida congressman’s defeat.  Tom Flanigan reports the successful challenger in that race seemed to come from out of nowhere.

The City of Tampa is gearing up for the Republican National Convention, which takes place in that town August 27th-30th. The convention is expected to attract thousands of delegates, reporters, security personnel and attention seekers.

Back in 2008, St. Paul, Minnesota had the honor of hosting the Republican National Convention where then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a featured speaker.

Many Florida stores and malls will be busier than usual this weekend.  Tom Flanigan reports shoppers will be taking advantage of the state’s very popular sales tax holiday, a holiday that almost didn’t happen this year.

Michelle Woodyard is a happy, but cash-strapped, mother of two rapidly growing teenage boys.

The number of home foreclosures continues to soar in Florida.  Nearly every major city in the state is seeing more foreclosures than a year ago, according to the latest Realty Trak report.  But Tom Flanigan reports Florida’s bankers see opportunity amidst the gloomy figures.

A new survey shows few people in Leon County willing to get actively involved in local politics.  But some efforts are now underway to turn that situation around.

Brian Desloge has been a Leon County commissioner for the past six years.  His political philosophy favors limits on government.  But even he thinks today’s anti-government feelings are really out of hand.

Now that the federal healthcare reform law has passed U.S. Supreme Court muster, how might that affect the future of healthcare in Florida?  That was the question a state insurance panel debated this week. Several predictions were tossed around: None of them good, and all of them uncertain.

The formal name for the panel is the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board.  State Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who chairs the group, said there was one overriding purpose for the meeting.

There are four people in the running for Leon County Commission At-Large Seat One.  Tom Flanigan spoke with all of them Tuesday, July 17 on WFSU-FM's Perspectives.

The guy who’s held that seat for the past four years is Akin Akinyemi.  He called in from the road on the way back to Tallahassee from Pittsburgh.  One of his biggest challenges, he told the Perspectives audience, has been trying to maintain critical county services in the face of a relentlessly shrinking county budget.  Such as the special court that handles mental health and substance abuse cases.

Did you ever see the mid-80s movie “Children of the Corn”?

It was a Steven King story, so it was creepy and scary.  Much of the action involved homicidal young people who hid out in a big corn field.  But most cornfields are neither creepy or scary.

Agriculture is still Florida’s number two industry, right behind tourism.  And corn makes up a large part of the state’s farm production.  Some cutting-edge research is underway that could make corn even more of a cash crop. And that’s sparked the interest of aspiring food scientists.

It’s been almost three months since the actual Florida Legislature wrapped up this year’s session and left Tallahassee.  But the Capitol was again the scene for policy disputes, bill debates and political intrigue.

In a legislative committee room, the action was hot and heavy as a group of "lawmakers" set to work amending and voting on proposals that could eventually become law. Moments later, the Speaker of the Florida House gave an informal news conference in a nearby hallway to bring reporters up to speed on all the bill action.

T.Flanigan / WFSU

Thanks to Florida State University’s most recent student dance marathon, Big Bend Hospice will be able to help more young people deal with grief.  Tom Flanigan reports the check presentation took place Tuesday morning at the FSU College of Medicine.

“I want to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the college, said Associate Dean Dr. Alma Littles.

The reason for the occasion was a$20,000 check presentation to Big Bend Hospice.  Jake Poteet was one of the more than 1500 FSU students who raised the money through the school’s last Dance Marathon.

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