Tom Michael

General Manager

Tom Michael joined Boise State Public Radio in 2016 as General Manager. As the executive director of the radio network, he is responsible for its management and leadership.

Tom arrives from West Texas with more than a decade of experience in public media management as the founder of Marfa Public Radio. He built the radio network from the ground-up, expanding its broadcast coverage area to a size equivalent of South Carolina. He launched a daily public affairs show, a weekly science show, and other unique programs.

He was also the chief fundraiser, helping to attract millions in grant funding and member donations to the rural region. In 2015 and 2016, his News Department won 8 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, the most in the nation among small stations; plus a National Murrow Award in 2016.

Tom speaks at national media conferences and has participated on review panels for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including "The Future of Public Media" in 2015, a gathering of thought-leaders in journalism.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The Treefort Music Fest has begun. The annual Boise music-and-arts event runs through Sunday. Each year it seems to get bigger, which festival organizers welcome, as long as it stays true to its roots. There are definitely business challenges to managing growth.

Drew Lorona, one of the co-founders of Treefort, points to the streets outside The Owyhee in downtown Boise as "the festival hub."

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

This week the Trump administration revised its earlier executive order and is banning residents from six foreign nations from entering the United States. But the new order also extends provisions of the first executive order, which caps the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. 

The executive order outlines a steep reduction in the number of refugees admitted this fiscal year. President Trump’s cap of 50,000 refugees is less than half of the 110,000 allowed under former President Obama. The order also calls for a suspension of all refugees for 120 days.

Morrison Center / BSU

On Friday, March 10, British actor Julian Sands comes to the Morrison Center in Boise with his one-man show, “A Celebration of Harold Pinter” – about the late British playwright.

Kids Choir Students School
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Day, is Saturday, March 4, 2017. The day commemorates the state’s seal, symbols and history. In Boise, on the weekday prior, there was a lunchtime celebration at the State Capitol, with an official proclamation and songs by school kids. The fourth-graders of Longfellow Elementary sang "Here We Have Idaho."

Whittier School Students Kids
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise School District has been building its case for voters to approve its $172 million bond on March 14. This isn’t the first time the district has had to sell the idea of a bond. There was a bond passed in 1996 and in 2006, and a levy in 2012.

More than a decade ago, voters approved a $94 million bond. Nancy Gregory was on the Boise School Board at that time.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Many agree the immigration system is broken, and there’s a national debate on how best to fix it. This debate is sometimes based on emotions, not on data. But a new study released Tuesday is taking a closer look at the numbers.

Asmaa Albukaie was Boise’s first refugee from Syria, arriving in late 2014.

"For me as a refugee, I came searching for safety and peace," Albukaie says.

She found that. She also found work.

Mike Reid

Daniel Ojeda, a choreographer for Ballet Idaho, is guiding dancer Liz Keller in rehearsals, spinning along beside her.

It’s an original work of his, called the “Monster and The Gift.” The ballet will have its premiere in the Winter Repertory concert at the Morrison Center in Boise. And there’s not much time left to practice.

AP

Betsy DeVos was confirmed Tuesday to be the Secretary of Education by the U.S. Senate. The newest cabinet member is a billionaire donor to conservative causes. In Michigan, DeVos was a proponent of vouchers for school choice, allowing students to use taxpayer dollars to fund tuition at private, for-profit and religious schools.

Nancy Gregory, Board Chair of the Boise School District, says she was “disheartened at the confirmation.”

Boise State Public Radio

Boise community activist Marilyn Shuler passed away this morning. She was 77.

Shuler is best remembered for a number of accomplishments. She led the Idaho Human Rights Commission for 20 years, from 1978 to 1998. Former Governor Cecil Andrus called her “(an) influence at the moral center of Idaho.”

Idaho Democratic Leader Responds To Immigration Bill

Jan 31, 2017
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Monday Idaho House Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) introduced a bill opposing the adoption of sanctuary cities. Although Idaho has no sanctuary cities in place, the lawmaker says his proposal would ensure that no state funding would ever be given to cities and counties that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
 
House Minority leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) blasted the bill.
 

AP

As the Idaho Legislature prepares its annual budget, it's debating on how best to handle a $139 million surplus. That's a good thing. But according to experts, the presence of a one-time surplus can make political decisions very difficult.

Earlier this month, a panel of academics and journalists at the City Club of Boise wondered what Idaho legislators would do with a substantial surplus. Retired professor Jim Weatherby said that dealing with excess funds can be harder than dealing with a deficit.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Wednesday evening, St. Luke's Men's Health Clinic is hosting a motivational speaker at Boise State University. Travis Mills has a New York Times bestseller and loads of confidence. But what he doesn’t have is a key part of the story.

Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho Governor Butch Otter addressed lawmakers on Monday with his State of the State. He covered traditional topics, such as education, healthcare and public lands, but also spent time talking about cutting-edge technology. 

Coming out of the presidential election, cybersecurity been an issue that’s of great national concern. In his annual state address, Governor Butch Otter called it one of Idaho’s most complex challenges.

He specifically addressed a security breach last August of a licensing website used by Idaho Fish and Game.

AP

Monday afternoon, Governor Butch Otter delivers his "State of the State" address, as the 2017 legislature kicks off. Education is expected to be one of his primary topics. Although the so-called health care gap was a hot topic last year, it's not expected to be as big a focus this time around.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Dozens of protestors marched on the Idaho Capitol in Boise on Saturday afternoon, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. They chanted down the center of Capitol Boulevard, carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “He Complied But He Still Died,” referring to the police-related shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Virginia Farr, who is white, attended with her three black daughters.