Flavio Morales: Illegal Intern Turns Pro

Sneaking into a TV studio, becoming program director for LATV

By Valeria Berumen and Lorena Villegas
Published on LatinoLA: February 25, 2002

Flavio Morales: Illegal Intern Turns Pro

Twenty-nine year old director, producer and all-around cool dude Flavio Morales recently shared with two LatinoLA interns his long fun journey, from his first days as an intern to his current position as program director for LATV.

As the co-creator of the long-running "Illegal Interns" TV show, Flavio tells us that the show came about innocently enough in the spring of 1990. Morales and Richard Estrada were seniors in high school interning at a public access station in Santa Cruz, CA.

They were given the opportunity that summer to broadcast their own show and by the second day of being on the air they came up with the name "Illegal Interns," playing a combination of Alternative Rock and Rock en Espa?ol.

Flavio tells us: "The whole idea was that we kind of sneaked into the studio and we were playing music that nobody had heard of, or music that we liked. It felt (to us) like we where kind of invading the studio illegally, and that's where the name came from. It was never intended to be political in any way. It was just kids sneaking into a TV studio and putting on what was cool to them."

One year later Flavio's brothers joined in and it was at that point that they begun to format the Illegal Interns that we see today, one that is still evolving and expanding. "But it was always about the music, and it was always about introducing people to music," says Flavio.

With their show, they have helped expose a subculture of artists and musicians to Latino youth by just having fun, playing the music and videos that they liked, but in a sense mirroring back what young Latinos want to see.

"I'm fascinated on how people don't get us. People don't understand what it is to be a Chicano, and how we want to be entertained. We want to see TV, we want to listen to the radio, and we want to partake in everything that's going on, and people don't get it."

He continues, "You know, when you're putting together a show and I'm meeting with all these executives at some conference and they see this Mexican kid coming in, they're thinking to themselves, 'What does this kid know?' Well I know a lot. I look to music, to television, and to film, and see it every day and people just DON'T GET IT."

He tells us he feels very lucky to be involved in what he is doing and portraying real Latino youth.

Flavio tells us that very early on in his career his name got around, and he was able to establish networks which have given him rewarding opportunities to train and develop his style. Most of his training has been hands-on and intuition.

In his short but heady career, he has had to wear many hats, working in the record industry, as a publicist, in event production as well as in advertising, where he developed marketing ideas for big name companies such as Nike, Diet Coke, Microsoft, and Miller.

It was while living in Portland, OR and working for a well-renowned advertising company that he realized how misrepresented Latinos are in the fields of marketing and advertising. He tells us, "I was one of five Latinos in a five hundred person agency, so you really start getting a perspective of where you fit in the big scheme of things and how things need to change."

He continues to say, "When I got the opportunity to come work here (KJLA) I really took it to heart, and I'm really proud that 95% of the staff that works under me is Latino, and 65% of the staff is female, and I'm very proud of that."

Flavio and Richard have now been involved in television production for tweleve years and doing so very well. Their playful little cable show has now evolved into LATV Live which can viewed nightly on two channels, 57 and 31.

Also credited to Flavio and Richard are the Hip-Hop Show, and Rock-O-Mole. As pioneers in this field, Flavio and Richard now train and mentor a number of interns, giving back the opportunities which were once offered to them.

Very fitting for an Illegal Intern.

To read complette bio's on Flavio, Richard, and other LATV VJ's, go to the site.

About Valeria Berumen and Lorena Villegas:
Valeria Berumen and Lorena Villegas are currently LatinoLA interns.

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