First Coast Connect

Weekdays 9 a.m.

Hosted by Melissa Ross, First Coast Connect is an hour-long call-in program that features local newsmakers, civic and community leaders, artists and people planning a variety of events across Northeast Florida, along with a weekly roundtable of local journalists.


Wednesday on First Coast Connect:



  • Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conarck on State Attorney declining to press charges against officer in Vernell Bing Jr. shooting
  • World Relief’s SVP of US Ministries, Emily Gray and Travis Trice of World Relief Jacksonville, on refugees and hurricane relief efforts

  • Dawn Gilman of Changing Homelessness     

  • New CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NE Florida, Sara Alford



Join the conversation:

  • Call: (904) 549-2937 (Note: This line is only active during the program, 9:00-10:00 a.m.)

  • Tweet: @MelissainJax

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Learn more about the First Coast Connect Book Club

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First Coast Connect is sponsored in part by Baptist Health and North Florida TPO.

Education coverage is sponsored in part by the Chartrand Foundation.

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we heard how to handle stress caused by Hurricane Irma with therapist Melody Bean Eckhart (01:09). Lawanda Ravoira and Tayloe McDonald with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Executive Director of the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality Rebecca Epstein and author Nicole Mason talked about the upcoming See the Girl Summit (24:22). The latest segment of Moveable Feast featured Bud St. Pierre of the King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island (35:10) and we spoke with Jacksonville filmmaker and producer Warren Skeels of MTV’s reality series, “Siesta Key.” (43:28).  

Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage, Financial News and Daily Record reporter David Cawton, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski (01:07). We spoke with Jacksonville attorney Steve Watrel. He often represents nursing home residents and their families regarding abuse and neglect cases (30:55). Activist rabbi Merrill Shapiro talked about concerns he has with Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (37:14) and the band Mariachi Primera Costa performed live in-studio (45:12). 


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we were joined by State Farm insurance agent and former Jacksonville City Council President Matt Carlucci to talk about what people should do if they need to file an insurance claim in the wake of Hurricane Irma (01:09). We spoke with student leader Sarah Hipps about the Medical Explorers program at Orange Park Medical Center.(35:41). Plus, First Coast filmmaker and author Nadia Ramoutaur told us about her new book, “52 Ways to Free my Mojo,” and the films she will debut at the Amelia Island Rendezvous Film Festival (45:48). 

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we heard how climate change affects storms like Hurricane Irma with Jacksonville University climatologist Jeff Martin (01:13). Ahead of the Ken Burns PBS documentary, “The Vietnam War,” we spoke with female veterans Rene Johnson and Margaret Yarborough (27:09). Our monthly First Coast Connect Book Club with Stacey Goldring featured the classic novel “Catch 22” (38:48) and University of North Florida Gallery of Art Coordinator Jim Draper talked about the gallery’s latest exhibit (45:09). 

Friday on “First Coast Connect,” our weekly media roundtable included David Cawton from the Financial News and Daily Record and blogger Fred Matthews (00:57). We spoke with “1A” host Joshua Johnson (33:30) and heard about the latest effort to preserve public land from North Florida Land Trust President Jim McCarthy (44:15).