Kevin Meerschaert

Producer, "First Coast Connect"

Kevin Meerschaert is back at WJCT after two years, rejoining the station as producer of First Coast Connect.

Kevin was a reporter for WJCT News from 2001 until 2014. He previously worked at public radio stations in Salisbury, Maryland;  Evansville, Indiana; and Ypsilanti, Michigan. He won several awards for reporting and was the recipient of the 2007-2008 Media Community Leadership award from Mental Health America of Northeast Florida.

Kevin was born and raised in Michigan, earning his degree in political science from Eastern Michigan University. 

When not at work, you may run into Kevin on Saturday mornings walking around the Riverside Arts Market or in a local park.

  Friday on “First Coast Connect” was are weekly Media Roundtable with Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, blogger Fred Matthews and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and U.S. Naval War College professor of strategic leadership and leader development Olenda Johnson about next week’s conference. We spoke with Washington correspondent for The Economist James Astill about the rise of modern India, and we spoke with the star of the play “Fences” Shauntel Robinson and director Jereme Raickett. 


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the opening of the Eisenhower Center, one of the nation’s most prominent brain trauma centers, with CEO John Cornack and Vice President Devin Hutchings. We also heard about a documentary on the history of Camp Blanding airing Thursday on WJCT public television. We spoke with Camp Blanding commander Col. Mitch Johnson and WJCT producer Carlos Bovier. Artist Kathy Stark told us about her new book “The Wilderness of North Florida Parks,” and we heard about Florida Archaeology Month with Public Archaeology coordinator Emily Jane Murray.  

 Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the Eureka Garden housing complex failing a federal Housing and Urban Development inspection with Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi. We also aired an interview recorded by WJCT reporter Ryan Benk with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity Director Cissy Proctor. We discussed some upcoming changes to people’s credit rating with Jax Federal Credit Union CEO Gerri Sexsion and we learned about the Sustainable Textile Youth Lectures with Naz&Court partner and designer Courtney Barriger.  

  

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the future of Jacksonville’s waterways with City Council President Lori Boyer and Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace. Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation & Empowerment co-President Geneva Pittman, former ICARE President Pastor Bruce Havens and Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth discussed a dispute between the organization and Mayor Lenny Curry, and local authors Brenda Jackson and V. Brooks Dunbar joined the show to talk about Saturday’s Jax Book Fest at the Main Library.   

 

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” guest host Ryan Benk spoke with Friends of Hemming Park interim director Bill Prescott, Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails co-owner Jen Earnest and Wolf and Cub Boutique co-owner Emily Moody about the future of Hemming Park. Local musician Desean Kirkland performed live in studio and Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news. 


  Friday on “First Coast Connect” it was our weekly Media Roundtable with Florida Time-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi, WJCT business analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We spoke with Dee Quaranta, president of Northeast Florida Women Veterans and singer-songwriter Kim Paige performed live in our studio.   

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” Florida State College Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau talked about a new program that will pay for the tuition of some local students. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and Web.com Senior Vice President Mary Kellmanson about their upcoming conference. We were joined by artist Lauren Fenterstock, whose work will be on display beginning Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Project Atrium. We spoke with Erin Thursby about Saturday’s GastroJax in Hemming Park and Kerry Speckman told us about this weekend’s events.  


       

  Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the proposed settlement between the city of Jacksonville and two nonprofits regarding a plan by Ability Housing to renovate an apartment building in Springfield that would house homeless veterans. Ability Housing Executive Director Shannon Nazworth joined us to talk about its plans and the deal with the city. We also discuss the growing problem of digital abuse against the elderly in senior living facilities with Joanne Hickox, executive director of Seniors on a Mission, and attorney Steve Watrel, who focuses on elder abuse cases. Author and financial planner Jeanette Bajalia talked about her new book “Planning a Purposeful Life” on how seniors can make sure they don’t outlive their savings.   


        

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we looked at the mental health crisis facing Florida with Mental Health America of Northeast Florida CEO Denise Marzullo; activist Jonathan Harriford, whose brother is in a state hospital after years of struggling with mental illness; and George Mallinckrodt, author of the book “Getting Away with Murder” about problems in Florida’s state prison psych wards, joined us by phone. We also were joined by First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacey Goldring, who talked about Ian McEwan’s book “Nutshell” and with Rebecca Jefferson, head of the Department of Special and Area Collections and the University of Florida library. News director Jessica Palombo then talked about how listeners can participate in 89.9 FM’s 45th anniversary celebration.     


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed Jacksonville’s drinking water with a study by three University of North Florida professors: assistant professors of economics Russell Triplet and Chiradip Chatterjee, professor of accounting and finance Parvez Ahmed, and JEA director of laboratory compliance Kevin Holbrooks. This is National Kidney Month and we spoke with Dr. Seth Strope, head of the urologic oncology at the Baptist Anderson Cancer Center. New author Tricia Booker talked about her book “The Place of Peace and Crickets” and Cole Pepper talked about his tournament picks for March Madness, the Jaguars aggressive free agent signings and Jacksonville University making the College Invitational Tournament, playing host to St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Tuesday.   

Our weekly Media Roundtable Friday on “First Coast Connect” featured Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Christian, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, blogger Fred Matthews and Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons. We also spoke with Jeff Smith, arts director for the Duval County School District about next week’s Celebration of the Arts and host Melissa Ross spoke by phone with actor and singer Audra McDonald.   


Thursday on “Faith Matters,” our quarterly program that addresses issues through a faith perspective,  hosts Kyle Reese from Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church and Nancy Bronner, executive director of OneJax, discussed death with dignity. National healthcare organizations increasingly support medical aid in dying and reject the terms “suicide” and “assisted suicide” to describe it.  The national debate is growing, and six states have now made it legal for doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives.  Fifteen additional states are considering similar legislation.

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with University of North Florida President John Delaney. He announced last week he’ll be retiring from his position in May 2018. We also heard about senior care from Penney Farms director of marketing Rebecca Padgett. Commentator Jay Solomon spoke about President Donald Trump calling the media the enemy of the people. Host Melissa Ross spoke with Celtic Woman violinist Tara McNeill and we heard from Zach Rocheleau owner of Genetic Potential Academy. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Mike Binder, the director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida, about a poll released this week giving Senator Bill Nelson a six-point lead over Governor Rick Scott in a hypothetical 2018 U.S. Senate race.

Dr. Peter Szatmari from the University of Toronto and Dr. Peter Mundy from the University of California-Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute joined the show to talk about Wednesday’s ninth annual Autism Symposium on the UNF campus.

Jacksonville Pen Women President Duncan Sawyer talked about the national organization’s 120th anniversary and Pixie Larizza from the Women Business Owners of North Florida talked about their event next week “Unstoppable.” 


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the problem of homelessness among youths in the LBGTQ community with Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network executive director Cindy Watson; Dawn Gilman, chief executive officer of Changing Homelessness Inc.; and Kim Sirdevan, president and chief executive officer of the Youth Crisis Center. Flamingo Magazine publisher Jamie Rich told us what we’ll find in the spring edition of the publication and JTC Running president Larry Roberts gave us a preview of Saturday’s 40th edition of the Gate River Run.  


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