Mike Flanagan has been the heart and soul of campus radio station Radio 1190.
Serving as the station’s General Manager, Flanagan brought together a diverse group of students to create one of the most unique radio experiences in Colorado.
That all ends on July 31, when Flanagan starts his new job. The radio pro will be managing a new Denver-based Colorado Public Radio station that caters to indie music tastes.
It’s all good — Flanagan taught his staff the ropes of the radio world and they’re ready to continue the station’s successful run.
“I’ve been at Radio 1190 for six years. In radio, if you can go over two or three years that’s amazing,” Flanagan said. “It’s been really good.”
“It’s been cool to see a student come in that’s never thought of being in radio before, and watching them learn something about themselves that will stay with them forever. Radio 1190 is a wonderful motivator and learning experience.”
Radio 1190 is an amazing hands-on lab for CU students. Eager volunteers learn everything from station management to on-air radio skills. These days, the station features a wide-range of eclectic shows that run from hip-hop to cutting edge sounds.
Flanagan definitely left a legacy the students can build on.
“Hopefully, we’ve taken the station up a notch since I’ve been here,” Flanagan said. “I’ve always tried to be the best I could be on the air. Freedom in radio is rare and I’ve told the students they need to make the most of it.”
Flanagan’s in the midst of packing up his favorite posters and getting ready for his new job. The new station’s located at 1340 AM, though call letters are still pending.
“I’ve been in conversations with Colorado Public Radio for awhile,” Flanagan said. “They had expressed an interest and asked me my vision. Our visions connected and it looks good.
“I still have to get a music library and hire a staff. Fortunately, CPR has a lot of the infrastructure already in place.”
Flanagan’s gearing up the station’s musical lineup and focusing it towards newer sounds.
“There’s a trend in public radio to pick up on new and contemporary music,” Flanagan said. “There are all these bands out there playing excellent music that never get exposed. There’s a real niche for this.
“This station will play a lot of new music and crossover genres — indie rock, folk, Americana, soul and hip-hop.”
Flanagan foresees the station playing 80 percent new music and 20 percent older “cool” music.
The new station will launch some time in October. Flanagan is ready for the transition.
“This has been in the works for a while,” Flanagan said.
“CU has my job posted and I heard they’re looking aggressively. In the meantime, we have 16 student managers and they all know the routine. If everything keeps up, the audience won’t notice anything.”
Flanagan believes the new GM will keep Radio 1190’s successful formula.
“You’d have to be crazy to have a radical change,” Flanagan said. “Everything’s in place to keep things running. It’s just me that’s leaving.”
Radio 1190’s student managers second that opinion.
“As Student General Manager you have to be able to work with budgets and make sure everything runs smoothly,” said Sam Sacher, Radio 1190’s student general manager.
“I was surprised, but excited for Mike when I found out he was leaving. This is a really cool opportunity for him. We’re sad he’s leaving — he’s been such a huge part of the station.”
Sacher’s hopeful that Flanagan’s replacement will keep the station’s status quo.
“Hopefully, they’ll keep things going the way they’re going,” Sacher said. “We’re always doing something exciting, different and independent, and we want to keep it that way.
Jessi Whitten, Radio 1190’s music director, voiced similar views.
“I love Radio 1190. It’s the best,” Whitten said. “Everyone here cares about music. The best thing is the flexibility and passion we have for creating a student run station.”
“We love Mikey, but we’re student-run and we’ve always been energized to be hands-on. We’re going to run the station, we won’t miss a beat and we’ll do him proud.”