First Coast Connect With Melissa Ross

Weekdays 9 a.m. Rebroadcast 8 p.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.

  • Join The Conversation: (904) 549-2937 (Note: This line is only active during the program, 9 -10 a.m.) 
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First Coast Connect is sponsored in part by Baptist Health, Black Sheep Restaurant and North Florida TPO.

The twice-a-month Going Green segment is sponsored in part by A1A Solar and the monthly First Coast Success segment is sponsored in part by Iberiabank.

The monthly First Coast Connect Book Club is sponsored in part by San Marco Books and more.

Danpaluska / Wiki Commons

More than 800,000 federal workers have now been furloughed for over a month, due to the longest partial government shutdown in US history. 


January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which is designed to increase public awareness of the estimated 21 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the US in human trafficking cases reported by state, behind only California and Texas.

Heather Schatz/WJCT

For Friday's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Media Roundtable, our panel of journalists looked at some of the biggest stories of the week, including:

The Civil Rights Museum in St. Augustine is located in Dr. Hayling's old office
Frank Murry via St. Augustine Government

City Hall and local civil rights groups are in disagreement over who is hosting Jacksonville's premiere Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, leaving the city torn between the  events.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson / Wikimedia Commons/

Wednesday marks day 26 of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. More than 40,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck Tuesday, as the only military branch to work without pay during the government shutdown. 


Jacksonville’s March 19 unitary election mayoral race between current Mayor Lenny Curry, City Councilwoman Anna Lopez Brosche and some lesser known candidates is drawing alot of attention.

Heather Schatz / WJCT News

After months of speculation about whether she’d run, At-Large City Councilwoman and past Council President Anna Lopez Brosche entered Jacksonville’s Mayoral race to challenge incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry - a fellow Republican – on Friday. At her campaign kickoff event, Brosche called for more transparency in city government, a stronger focus on public safety and an end to what she says is bullying and cronyism at City Hall.

Abukar Adan/WJCT

For Friday's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Media Roundtable, our panel of journalists looked at some of the biggest stories of the week, including:

It's getting harder to find an affordable place to live in Florida. A growing population, stagnant wages and deep federal cuts have made the problem all the more acute.

A new study shows Jacksonville is one of the worst offenders when it comes to landlords discriminating against low-income people. And right now, the partial government shutdown is making things worse.

PBS NewsHour

As the government shutdown drags on, President Trump delivered his first prime-time Oval Office address to the nation last night, where he described the situation at the Mexican border as a “humanitarian crisis.” In their response, Democrats criticized the president for asking taxpayers to pay for a wall he had long said Mexico would fund. They also accused him of fearmongering and lying about the true situation at the border.

WJCT News & Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday morning, Floridians with a felony conviction became eligible to get their voting rights back under Amendment 4, which was approved in November. We spoke to Ben Frazier, President of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, and local attorney John M.


The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission submitted its report to the state last week. It’s more than 400 pages long, and goes into detail about what led to the February 14, 2018 tragedy – and what could be done to prevent a school shooting in the future. 

Heather Schatz / WJCT News

For this week’s First Coast Connect Media Roundtable, our panel of journalists looked at some of the biggest stories of the week, including:

Flooding in Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma.
Robert Torbert

Has this unusually warm winter weather got you thinking about climate change? Well, you’re not alone.

Activists around the world and in the United States are emphasizing the need to take bold steps to reduce carbon emissions to fight the dangerous effects of a warming planet.

Heather Schatz/WJCT

First Coast Connect kicked off 2019 with a look at what’s in store for Jacksonville in 2019 -  including everything from local and state politics, to business trends, to food and pop culture.