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.

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.  


Our weekly Media Roundtable included Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT business analyst John Burr. Artists Tracie Thornton, Jenny Hager and Lance Vickery told us about the exhibit “Humanity: The Value of a Life,” beginning Friday at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. HGTV star Tyler Wisler joined the program to discuss the Home and Patio show at the Prime Osborn Center and we met “Show Boat” cast members Billy Clark Taylor, Annabelle Fox and Peter Jackson. 


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Olympic gold medalist and civil rights attorney Nancy Hogshead-Makar on the impact of Title IX on women’s sports. We also heard from Paula Long, co-chair of the Women’s Giving Alliance National Conference, which is held this month in Atlantic Beach and we heard an update on the construction of the Cowford Chophouse and its 5K run this weekend in downtown Jacksonville.  


Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed changes at Jacksonville Community Council Inc. with Board Chairman Kevin Hyde. We also heard about an increase in colon cancer in younger people with Dr. Victoria Gomez, gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Elana Schrader, the chief medical officer of GuideWell and Generation W founder Donna Orender joined the show to talk about this month’s Generation W conference, and we met author Abby Vega, who in her book “Sno-cone Diaries,” talks about leaving her high-paying corporate job to own and drive a sno-cone truck. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the life of undocumented and other immigrants under President Trump with Kristellys Estanga from the Duval County Democratic Hispanic Caucus and immigration attorney Angela Reyes. Dignity U Wear Executive Director Nicole Brose talked about its upcoming annual Undies Campaign. Judy Wells shared some cautionary tales about changes in air travel and we heard an in-studio performance by local 12-year-old violinist virtuoso Jimmy Moseley. 


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the future of Enterprise Florida with JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis. This month’s edition of First Coast Success with Karen Brune Mathis featured Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes & Cemeteries president Jody Brandenburg. We also heard about a new video series through the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of North Florida. We were joined by Sean Lahav, the project leader and producer of the videos, John November from the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida and Maria Mark, program coordinator. 


Our weekly Media Roundtable on Friday featured Tessa Duval from the Florida Times-Union, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski, WJCT Business Analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride. We also spoke by phone with award winning movie director Mira Nair and CEO of Volunteers in Medicine Mary Pat Corrigan and Lisa Weatherby from Wells Fargo joined us to talk about the Women with Heart fundraising campaign. 

    

Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former State Senator Tony Hill about an event Friday to honor Jacksonville native and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson. We also heard about the tragedy of babies being born to opioid addicted mothers and the treatments available, and University of North Florida assistant professor of physics Jack Hewitt told us about NASA’s announcement Wednesday. 


       

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Mission House Executive Director Lori Delgado Anderson about their mission and work they do to help the homeless at the Beaches. Ahead of his appearance Thursday at WJCT host Melissa Ross spoke with former U.S. Comptroller General Dave Walker. Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum Board President Chris Schwing talked about this year’s forum “Game On! The Power of Women — It’s Our Time to Lead” and Girls Scouts of Gateway Council CEO Mary Anne Jacobs talked about this year’s cookie drive. 

    

 Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the prevalence of Confederate monuments in Jacksonville with historian Wayne Woods, activist Chevara Orrin and Jacksonville Magazine editor Joe White. The magazine recently published an article on the monuments. We spoke with Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and we talked about this weekend’s Jacksonville Science Fair with Nadia Hionides of the Foundation Academy; Ashli Archer, academic director at Florida State College Jacksonville Eddie Whisler, director of the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium and School at the Museum of Science and History; and Jessica Santiago, founder of the Wall Street Art Gallery and Art (Re)public. 

        

 Monday on First Coast Connect we discussed the recently completed federal hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro with Glenn Jackson and Jill Jackson-d’Entremont, whose brother Jack Johnson was one of the 33 crew members who was killed in the disaster . The family’s attorney Bob Spohrer,  maritime legal expert Rod Sullivan and Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Kitchen also discussed the hearings. Dr. Ruby Satpathy from Baptist Heart Specialists told us about a unique heart procedure to replace an aortic valve without opening the chest and without general anesthesia and Cole Pepper talked about the latest sports news.        


It was our weekly Media Roundtable Friday on “First Coast Connect,” with Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, blogger Fred Matthews and Jacksonville Business Journal Timothy Gibbons. We also heard a recorded interview of “Goosebumps” author R.L. Stine and Jacksonville International Auto Show promoter Barbara Pudney talked about this weekend’s event. 


     

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Fraternal Order of Police local 530 President Steve Zoma about the proposed use of body cameras by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. We also spoke with Melody Perry from Lutheran Social Services and caregiver Nakia Hinton about their Money Minders program and 5 and Dime Theatre Executive Director Lee Hambly talked about the theatre’s new location and the upcoming performance of the play “Night Mother.” 


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