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.

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.

Young professionals sometimes complain there’s nothing going on in Tallahassee.  Tom Flanigan reports some of them changed their minds after hearing people connected with the Knight Creative Communities Institute.

While many parts of Florida’s economy remain somewhat sluggish, there’s one area that’s going great guns.  Tom Flanigan reports it’s the state’s number one industry – tourism – and things are expected to keep getting better.

Despite the worldwide economic slowdown, political uncertainties, terrorist fears and almost every other negative you can think of, U-S Commerce Secretary John Bryson sees the number of international visitors to the United States growing….

More than 300 of the Capital City area’s movers and shakers gathered at Florida State’s University Center Club Tuesday.  Tom Flanigan reports they were eager to hear the winners of this year’s Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Awards.

 “This is the 27 th year of our awards ceremony to recognize entrepreneurship, businesses, the commerce of our community and individuals that I hope you’ll agree are the backbone of this community to keep everything moving forward,” said Chamber President Sue Dick.


The parade of local candidates to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office has begun.  Tom Flanigan followed one Tallahassee City Commission hopeful who was turning in his paperwork Monday.

City Commission Seat One Candidate Daniel Parker delivered a big box of petitions to an elections office clerk, allowing him a place on the ballot.  He also has an endorsement, from former Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff.

“And I know him to be an effective student and advocate for strong growth management, environmental protection, intelligent urban design…”

A Wakulla County grade school teacher is one of five statewide finalists for Florida “Teacher of the Year” honors.  Tom Flanigan reports the surprise honor was announced Friday morning at a Tallahassee department store.

This is Law Week and three of Tallahassee’s more prominent legal minds will be recognized Tuesday evening.  Tom Flanigan reports the honorees have made distinguished contributions to their profession.

Florida State University College of Law Professor Paolo Annino has spent years urging state lawmakers to reconsider the cases of very young offenders.  For that, he’ll receive the Joy Aukema Taps Children’s Advocate of the Year Award.

Florida State University

For half-a-century, Florida was the center of gravity for America’s manned space program.  Now that program is essentially on hold.  Tom Flanigan reports the push is now on to redirect all the Florida resources once dedicated to the manned space effort to more earthbound uses.

Today, former Florida Lieutenant Governor Frank Brogan is Chancellor of the State University System.  But he vividly recalls something that fired his imagination when he was a little boy.

Schimpf Confectionary

The man now in charge of what’s believed to be America’s oldest family-run business was in Tallahassee recently.  Tom Flanigan sat down with Warren Schimpf to talk about his “sweet success”.

Warren Schimpf and his wife Jill were already in Florida when they popped into Tallahassee’s Lofty Pursuits soda fountain and candy store in Market Square.

Friday was the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  That also fell two days before Earth Day.  Those events come at the same time the debate over the future of oil is ramping up.  Tom Flanigan talked with people on both sides of the issue and filed this report.

How the U.S. should deal with Iran on that country’s nuclear aspirations is a hot topic right now.  Tom Flanigan reports a true expert on that issue was in Tallahassee this week and wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts…

Brian Katulis is senior fellow at the progressive-leaning Center for American Progress in Washington D-C.  He says he visits someplace in the Middle East at least once a month.  That gives him a unique perspective on the state of relations between Iran and pretty much the rest of the world.