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 “Reveal”  host Al Letson about this weekend’s episode that focuses on Jacksonville. He was joined by WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride and Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conorack who contributed to the program. We also spoke with Tom McLaughlin, owner of Metro Rooter for our going green segment on how he turns old household grease into useful products. Leadership Jacksonville CEO Jill Langford Dame joined the show to discuss their upcoming seminar to train local political candidates and we welcomed Amnon Weinstein, one of the most respected violin makers in the world, who is in Jacksonville for Sunday’s “Violins of Hope” concert by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. The concert features 16 violins recovered and restored from the Holocaust.  

      

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, we discussed the future of millennials in Jacksonville with the leader of the One Voice Young Professionals program Nyah Vanterpool. We also were joined by phone with Dr. Keith Fargo from the Alzheimer’s Association national office in Chicago and Michelle Branham, vice president of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central and North Florida to talk about a documentary airing Wednesday evening on WJCT Public Television. Lawrence Datz, a partner at Datz & Datz P.A., told us why there is surge of divorce filings in January and to commemorate National Compliment Day we met Sarah Dominey, the owner of the online boutique shop SMAC on how she is raising awareness of the initiative. 


              

Friday on First Coast Connect was our weekly Media Roundtable, featuring Anthony Pantazi from the Florida Times Union, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, A.G. Gancarski from Florida Politics and contributor Fred Matthews. We also spoke with recently sworn-in Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels and from the current Theatre Jacksonville presentation of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” we spoke with cast members Ron Shreve and Al Emerick. 


Thursday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local residents Judy Sheklin and Lori Shad who will be attending Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. As part of NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” collaboration with local stations we asked listeners what they want the new president to know about themselves and their community as he takes office. We also spoke with Read 66 spokesman Chris Boivin and Jacksonville Public Library regional manager Keli Mathis about their initiative to get more people to read. Gregory von Hausch, president and CEO of the St. Augustine Film Festival, talked about this weekend’s films and events. 

      

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with the first female ringmaster for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Kristen Michelle Wilson. We also spoke with George Maxey, executive director of the New Town Success Zone, and Dr. Ivan Porter, nephrologist at the Mayo Clinic, about a new collaboration and we heard from Colonel Brian Bell, commander of the 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida National Guard about the possible arrival in Jacksonville of the new F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” on the heels of the fatal Martin Luther King Jr. Day shooting at the Jacksonville Landing we spoke with life coach and metacognition expert Grayson Marshall Jr. He regularly speaks with youth groups and others on ways to end violence. We were then joined by the new dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine Dr. Leon Haley. We also heard a recorded interview with Texas singer-songwriter Eric Taylor.   


Friday on “First Coast Connect,” was our weekly Media Roundtable. Our panel included Andrew Pantazi and Dan Scanlan from the Florida Times-Union and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also heard from Florida Theatre president Numa Saisselin about its new partnership with Community First Credit Union and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Alhambra Theatre we were joined cast members of their current production of the play Come Blow Your Horn, Tod Booth, Lisa Booth and Jessica Booth.  

  

Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke by phone with St. Augustine resident Bill Hamilton from the Environmental Youth Council about its event Sunday, Earth2Trump. We also spoke with international field educator and founder of Global Workshop Matt Colaciello about a panel discussion he is moderating Saturday on climate change.  

      

  Wednesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Darnell Smith from Jax Chamber and Pastor R. L. Gundy about the latest attempt to expand Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include the LGBT community.        

We also heard from Voices of Hope programming chair Rebecca Rejtman Bennett and Museum of Science and History curator Paul Bourcier about a new exhibit about Anne Frank and our Going Green segment highlighted Melissa Beaudry of Fleet Farming. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with new 4th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Charles Cofer. He spoke about some of the changes he had and will make in the office. First Coast Connect book club leader Stacey Golding talked about her favorite Leo Tolstoy novels. Dr. Robert Cywes from Jacksonville Surgical Associates joined us to talk about programs to help diabetes patients control their weight, and Tito Sosa of Water Me Green told us about his upcoming event with Green Drinks Jax. 

    

Monday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke by phone with public pension expert Bob Klausner about how some other cities around the country are dealing with their pension problems. We also heard from Lourdes Norman-McKay, professor of biological sciences at FSCJ and Dr. Pauline Rolle from the Duval County Health Department about an upcoming TEDxFSCJ talk exploring the role vaccines play in public health. WJCT contributor Cole Pepper also brought us the latest news on the Jaguars’ search for a head coach.  


        

Friday on “First Coast Connect,” our first Media Roundtable of the year. Our panel included Claire Goforth from Folio Weekly, Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT Business analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also heard from the founder of The Center for Sustainable Agricultural Education and Conservation Angela TenBroeck and bandleader and violinist for the Sultans of Swing Chris McKhool joined us by phone to talk about their latest CD “Subcontinental Drift” and an upcoming appearance in Jacksonville.  

          

  Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we were joined by Jacksonville Transportation Authority Vice President of Long Range Planning and System Development Brad Thoburn to discuss plans to extend the Skyway.        

Local environmental activist Josh Weber spoke about his opposition to the proposed Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline and we hear a live in-studio performance by local bluegrass band Grandpa’s Cough Medicine.  


    

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, we discussed making financial New Year’s resolutions with Cheryl Barnett, senior vice president at First Tennessee Bank. We were joined on the phone by Laurence Cotton who served as principal researcher and consulting producer of the documentary “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America.” Cotton will be in Jacksonville for a screening followed by a question and answer period of the film next week.

Local Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members President Willetta Richie and vice president Betty Burney discussed an upcoming screening of the movie “Hidden Figures.” The primary characters depicted in the film were members of the African-American college sorority. 


Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” it was our final episode of 2016 with the annual year in review Media Roundtable with guest host Ryan Benk. Our panel included A.G. Gancarski from Florida Politics, Dan Scanlan from the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke with Harvard School of Public Health researcher Steve Gortmaker about the financial incentives Jacksonville could receive by passing a tax on sugary drinks. 


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