From stunt man to state senator

Above: Sen. Flood turned his teenage hobby into a lasting career.

While many teenagers’ first jobs consist of flipping burgers or trudging through wet, muddy cornfields, Sen. Mike Flood became a radio personality at age 15.

That job at Norfolk’s WJAG/KEXL turned into a hobby – and a career – that has lasted into adulthood.

Flood attended the University of Notre Dame where he operated the university’s campus radio station and hosted a radio show that featured him as a “stunt man” who performed tricks and dares for listeners.

Flood said one of his most memorable adventures as a stunt man was driving a Hummer through a river.

Fearful of razzing from his new colleagues, he said, “But I hate to go into it too much.”

After graduating from Notre Dame in 1997, Flood moved to Lincoln to attend law school at the University of Nebraska.

He then became a radio personality for Lincoln’s Froggy 98 country station. (Flood declined to reveal his on-air moniker.)

When Flood graduated from law school in 2001, his new career in law didn’t replace his broadcasting ambitions.

He hosted a radio show in the morning, met with law clients in the afternoon, then returned to the station in the evening.

“It’s like the [television] show “Ed,” but instead of a bowling alley, I had a radio show,” he said.

Flood’s latest venture is serving as owner and manager of KUSO 92.7, a 50,000-watt country station in Norfolk. The station employs 20 people and operates a news department, sharing a news bureau with KTIV Channel 4 in Sioux City.

Like the Notre Dame station, US92 features a stunt man and has two Hummers available for television news and remote broadcasts.

Flood said his work schedule leaves him little free time for hobbies. Luckily, Flood said, working in radio is his hobby.

Being a broadcaster and a lawyer is an unusual combination, but Flood said his dual careers allow him to both have fun and be serious.

In radio, Flood’s goal is to make people laugh and support the community. With law, Flood said his goal is to serve others, whether he is helping troubled juveniles turn their lives around or guiding someone through the process of divorcing an abusive spouse.

At 29, Flood is the youngest person to serve as senator since Bayard Sen. Philip Erdman joined the Legislature in 2001 at age 23.

Being a young legislator has its advantages, Flood said.

“You’re tied into the young people of the community and the community’s economic future, as well as the rest of the state’s,” he said.

Flood learned to appreciate his community and value public service at a young age. He said that when he was a teenager, Norfolk city leaders cared about young people’s concerns and encouraged youth to participate in government.

The late Sen. Connie Day of Norfolk was one public figure who sparked Flood’s interest in lawmaking. While Flood was a student at Norfolk Catholic High School, Day sponsored student debates about state and local government issues.

“She impressed upon me that government is not a spectator sport,” Flood said.

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