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.

File photo

A well-known Tallahasseean is escalating his crusade to conquer a devastating disease.  Tom Flanigan reports part of that effort involves a gala fund-raiser that takes place next week.

Erwin Jackson is a successful businessman.  He is a relentless critic of corruption in local government and ran for mayor himself not that long ago.  But then, at age sixteen, Jackson’s younger son Brian was diagnosed with Dystonia.

The private-public partnership in charge of Florida’s economic development has come under fire. Much of the criticism is coming from an unlikely coalition.

Enterprise Florida was a brainchild of the late Governor Lawton Chiles.  When it was created twenty years ago, it promised to create two-hundred thousand jobs by the year 2005.  Dan Krassner who heads the government watchdog group Integrity Florida said that didn’t happen.

Tallahassee’s Alzheimer’s Project offers all its services free of charge.  As Tom Flanigan reports, that makes an upcoming fund-raiser for the agency critically important.

Tallahassee’s Alzheimer’s Project, Incorporated will mark its twenty-second anniversary this year.  Clinical Director James Smith says much of what was unknown about the disease when the project began remains elusive.

Jackson Healthcare

It now looks likely that Florida lawmakers will at least consider doing something about medical malpractice tort reform this year, but there are differing ideas about what should be done.

One group that’s pushing for reform is called “Patients for Fair Compensation”.  It’s based in Alpharetta, Georgia, a state that’s also considering changes to its medical malpractice laws.  The group is chaired by Rick Jackson.  He’s also chairman and chief executive officer of Jackson Healthcare, the nation's third largest healthcare staffing company.

Second Harvest of the Big Bend

Second Harvest of the Big Bend’s new executive director is settling into his new job. 

Richard “Rich” English is no stranger to the challenging task of collecting huge quantities of food and getting it into the hands of people who desperately need it.

“I came from a much larger food bank in Akron, the Akron-Canton Food Bank, where I gained a lot of experience in the operational part of the business, compliance, food safety, OSHA, those kinds of things," he said.

The plight of homeless military veterans in the U.S. keeps growing, but a local group is planning a major effort in Tallahassee a few months from now to help this area’s homeless vets achieve more normal lives.

Joe West tells the story of a veteran on the edge who almost lost everything.

“That veteran did not end up on the street because other veterans stuck out their hands and prevented him from going there when they found out about it.  He had fallen through the cracks of the programs that we have available.  I am that veteran.” 

50-Large Program Gains Support

Dec 11, 2012

A successful program that puts troubled young men on the right track has received a major boost.  Tom Flanigan reports the Fifty-Large effort has already racked up some impressive notches on its anti-gang gun

A few years ago, Chris Butler of Tallahassee was on the wrong track.  Then he was recruited by a then-new program that helped turn him around.

Today, it seems almost any random gathering of people is likely to attract at least one food truck.  Tom Flanigan reports the number of these restaurants-on-wheels is growing in Florida, as well as their impact on the economies in which they operate.

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.