The Folk Sampler was a nationally syndicated show, produced and hosted by Mike Flynn, that showcased folk, blues, and bluegrass music both modern and old.[1]

The Folk Sampler
Country of originUnited States
StarringMike Flynn
Created byMike Flynn and Sandy Flynn
Recording studioSiloam Springs, Arkansas
Original release1978 (1978) –
June 2018 (2018-June)



Originating as a 15-minute program at WMBI in Chicago by host Mike Flynn, it only aired for 13 episodes.[1] After taking a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Flynn began broadcasting another early version of The Folk Sampler, from first KBEZ then at KRAV.[2] This incarnation ended following Flynn's graduation. After moving to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, he began broadcasting the now hour-long program in 1978. In 1982 the program became syndicated initially through American Public Radio then through NPR.[citation needed] Each week's show has a theme which all songs featured fit into either by release date or actual song theme. It is reported that he spends 15–20 hours a week preparing each show.[citation needed]



Flynn grew up in sparsely populated rural Kansas. He studied broadcasting at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma and worked on stations KRAV and KBEZ, with a period working in Chicago on WMBI. He then worked as a news anchor and weatherman on KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa. He moved to John Brown University to teach communications, retiring as head of department in 1999.[3][4]

In 1977 he and his wife, Sandy Flynn, moved to Siloam Springs, Arkansas bordering the Arkansas Ozarks, starting The Folk Sampler, with his wife as co-producer. In 1993, Sandy died; although Mike had threatened to quit doing music if she died before him, she had been able to convince him that carrying on the folk music tradition would be just what he needed.[citation needed] He continues to carry the tradition with each week's broadcast.

In the broadcast of April 21, 2018, Flynn announced that he will be retiring and that The Folk Sampler will be ceasing production with episodes airing through June.[5] Repeats still air on some public radio stations that carried the show first-run.


  1. ^ a b Lehovec, Bettina (6 Jan 2002). "Music Knows No Boundaries". The Morning News (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette). pp. 5H.
  2. ^ Nehring, Radine (February–March 1996). "Sending a musical message from the Ozarks to the rest of the world". The Ozarks Mountaineer. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ "Our Faculty Emeriti".
  4. ^ "JBU radio station expands to 100,000 watts". 19 February 2013.
  5. ^ "A Farewell From Host Mike Flynn And 'The Folk Sampler'". WSKG. Retrieved 2018-04-29.

The Folk Sampler website