Melissa Ross

Host/Producer, "First Coast Connect"

"First Coast Connect" host/producer Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting. 

As executive producer of "The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State," Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the documentary category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. "The 904" examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital.

WJCT’s "First Coast Connect" has received multiple national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. for best call-in program.

Prior to joining WJCT, Melissa spent three years in the corporate communications field at Jacksonville’s Dalton Agency. During her stint at Dalton, she was cast in the HBO film "Recount" playing — what else? — a reporter!

Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Communications. She also writes for the Florida Politics blog. 

Ways to Connect

Michelle Corum / WJCT News

Long-awaited plans to build a new convention center in downtown Jacksonville could finally be moving ahead.

Univ. of North Florida

UNF President and former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney is not ruling out another run for office as he steps down this May from his tenure leading the university.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT News

A prominent member of the Jacksonville community, who is the former chair of the Council on American Islamic Relations, is speaking out about an alleged plot to attack the The Islamic Center of North East Florida.

It’s been a long-running drama in St. Augustine that has divided the community. 

In September of 2010, Michelle O’Connell was found dead from a single gunshot wound. She was, at the time, the girlfriend of St. Johns County Deputy Jeremy Banks.

The death was quickly ruled a suicide but that was sharply disputed by family members, who allege she was killed by Banks, who denies any involvement in O'Connell's death.

Recently, new information has emerged in the case.

Melissa Ross / WJCT FM/TV

As Father's Day approaches, one Jacksonville man is reliving his painful family history — a history which centers around one of the most colorful members of the iconic 1940s Brooklyn Dodgers.

Contributed Photo

As the debate continues over whether to spend close to $700 million to deepen the St. Johns River, one former transportation executive says proceeding with the project is anything but a sure thing in helping the area increase its market share in container shipping.

Wikimedia Commons

Former Jacksonville City Councilman Eric Smith is heading up a local delegation to Cuba next week, comprised of local business leaders seeking more trade with the island nation.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT News

A public health crisis spinning out of control.

That’s how Dr. Valarie Rao, medical examiner for Florida’s 4th District, describes North Florida's opioid epidemic. The district encompasses Duval, Clay, Nassau, Hamilton and Columbia Counties.

Screen grab from TV Jax

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine, spoke by phone with WJCT’s First Coast Connect Host Melissa Ross Friday morning. Kaine was forced to cancel his scheduled Jacksonville campaign appearance due to Hurricane Hermine.


Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

A new poll of likely voters shows competitive races in two Northeast Florida contests, those for state attorney and public defender.

Incumbents Angela Corey and Matt Shirk are struggling against challengers.

water flowing  out of tap
next. via flickr

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a water policy bill Thursday despite calls from environmentalists to veto the measure.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper was part of a statewide coalition calling for the veto.


One of the premier facilities in America treating veterans and NFL players for traumatic brain injury and PTSD has chosen Jacksonville as its location for expansion into the Southeast.

Florida's Children First, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness about issues related to the rights of at-risk children, especially those in foster care. FCF is holding a special event tonight to honor champions for children's rights. Executive Director Christine Spudeas joins us in studio with more. 

Norman Silent Film Studios is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but now it has a chance to become a National Landmark. The nomination will be presented next week in Washington. Norman Studios Spokeswoman Rita Reagan is here to explain how this all came about, and how the public can help. 

Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Lawmakers in the Florida House headed to court Monday.

As First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross reports, it’s the next step after an impasse with the Senate over how to redraw Florida's 27 congressional districts.

House lawyers have asked the Florida Supreme Court to allow a Leon County judge to consider redistricting plans from the House, Senate and potentially other parties.

This after a lawsuit that led to a ruling last month striking down eight of the state's congressional districts.

Excel23 / Wikimedia Commons

Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority is holding another open forum Wednesday night on the redesign of the Landing.

The forum, or charrette as it’s called, will be the second time the Downtown Investment Authority will ask the public to weigh in on what should be done to redevelop the Landing.

The site may be altered or even torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

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