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 by phone with OCEARCH founder and expedition leader Chris Fischer along with Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quint White, who was in studio, about a collaboration to study sharks on campus. We also spoke with Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping, who gave us an update on the Daily’s Place Amphitheater being built next to Everbank Field. Erin Mangan of Communities in Schools of Jacksonville talked about programs implemented to help the school district’s graduation rate, and the Cultural Council of Jacksonville’s Ryan Ali told us about some the winners of this year’s Arts Awards with honorary chair Heather Moore.

         

  Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Vista Energy Group CEO and Flagler College Professor John O’Brien about how President Donald Trump’s trade policies could affect the First Coast. Our First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacy Goldring talked about this month’s selection, “What We Became.” We heard from Mary Rose, director of learning services at Florida State College of Jacksonville, and Imani Hope, director of strategic investments at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, about an upcoming FSCJ TEDx salon focusing on Jacksonville’s women of color in politics. And on Valentine’s Day we heard about a local program designed to save troubled marriages.  


            

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former CIA operative and author T. L. Williams about his new novel and Chinese cyber hacking. We also heard from TapImmune CEO Glynn Wilson about a breast cancer study at the Mayo Clinic. WJCT’s Indie Endeavor host Ryan Benk and 1904 Music Hall co-owner Jason Hunnicut announced a new partnership at the downtown venue. 


          

Our weekly Media Roundtable featured David Bauerlein, reporter for the Florida Times-Union; Claire Goforth, editor of Folio Weekly; Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We spoke with Peggy Bulger, the author of “Stetson Kennedy, Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy.” Host Melissa Ross spoke by phone with Branden Miller, creator of YouTube sensation “Joanne the Scammer” and we spoke with City Year AmeriCorps recruitment manager Mia Francis and participant Lindsey Rose. 


Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Cultural Council executive director Tony Allegretti about U.S. News and World Report ranking Jacksonville 45th on the list of best U.S. cities to live in. We also heard from Douglas Anderson School for the Arts principal Jackie Cornelius about this year’s Extravaganza.  

   

Ahead of Wednesday evening’s  Community Thread on the possible expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to cover the LGBT community, we look at how the politics of the issue has changed in the past few years on “First Coast Connect” with University of North Florida political science professor Matt Corrigan and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride. We also spoke with Melanie Stewart Bentley, the clinical research coordinator with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians Inc., about two upcoming studies in need of female volunteers and Jane Lanier with St. Vincent’s Foundation about the upcoming Mary Awards. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” as part of WJCT’s on going Community Thread looking into the area’s Opioid epidemic, we spoke with Dr. Scott Miles, medical director of Coastal Community Behavioral Health in St. Mary’s. Georgia. We also heard an interview with Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty about his trip to the World Economic Forum, also known as Davos. Naomi Sheridan and Jeff Tawney with Friday Musicale had a preview of next Saturday’s fundraiser featuring The Chris Thomas Band, and ahead of their concert tonight at the Mudville Music Room we heard an in-studio performance from organist John Ginty and his band. 


Monday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Mike Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida, about his new poll on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. We also heard from Baptist Health cardiologist Dr. Pamela Rama about American Heart Month. Humana Vice President Dr. John Montgomery and health solutions executive Laura Nolan joined the show give an update on the company’s Bold Goal initiative, and Cole Pepper talked about the historic comeback by the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LI.  


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable. Our panel included Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, blogger Fred Mathews and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke Jacksonville Library director Barbara Gubbin about the this year’s Jax Reads initiative with the book “The Namesake.” Dr. Amy Pollak from the Mayo Clinic and heart attack survivor Kathy Ellis talked about Go Red for Women Day, as part of Heart Disease Awareness Month and we met Kim Brown, head coach of the newly formed Jacksonville professional female football team the North Florida Pumas.


    

Thursday on First Coast Connect, 4th District medical examiner Dr. Valerie Rao and Lt. Mark Rowley, quality improvement officer with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, talked about how the opioid epidemic is straining their offices. We also spoke by phone with Abe Gol about an upcoming NOVA episode dealing with the discovery of tunnels in Lithuania used by Jews to escape the Nazi’s during the Holocaust, and Niki Brunson and Dana Miller, organizers of Saturday’s Melanin Market and Parade in Jacksonville.  

  

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we were joined by phone with Nagol Ghandnoosh, the author of a study by the Sentencing Project that finds those serving life terms in the U.S and Florida who are eligible for parole are less likely to earn their release than in the past. We also heard from local comedian Richard Cuff, who is kicking off an initiative to curb violence in Jacksonville. Ahead of Valentine’s Day we spoke with local matchmaker Renee Richel Steilberg about her upcoming event, “Love Starts With You Tour.” 

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, we were joined by Downtown Investment Authority Executive Director Aundra Wallace and Board Chair Jim Bailey to bring us an update on several proposed downtown development projects.

We also spoke with Donna Orender and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director of Patrol and Enforcement Michelle Cook about this weekend’s Generation Works project. Travel blogger Judy Wells discussed two large travel shows in New York City. 


  

Monday on First Coast Connect, we discussed President Trump’s executive order to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries with Travis Trice and Michelle Clowe from Jacksonville’s World Relief, Asghar Syed from Emerge USA and immigration attorney Ericka Curran with Florida Coastal School of Law. In this month’s segment of First Coast Success, Karen Brune Mathis spoke with Native Sun founder Aaron Gottlieb and we were joined by former TV anchor Donna Deegen to talk about next month’s 26.2 with Donna Marathon and Dr. Keith Knutson, immunologist and breast cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic about a breast cancer vaccine trial.     


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable included Larry Hannan from the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, WJCT business analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride. We also heard from First Coast Connect entertainment analyst Joey O’Hern and Henny Stewart from local TV show “The Chat” to talk about this week’s Oscar nominations, and members of the Jacksonville Harmony Chorus performed in studio. 

    

Thursday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Yvette Hyater-Adams who was recently appointed regional envoy of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture about their initiative the People’s State of the Union. Dr. Saumil Oza, chief of cardiology at St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside, talked about a recent decline in life expectancy rate, and we were joined in studio by comedians Paul Rodriguez and Shaun Latham. 


         

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