First Coast Connect

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.) 
  • Email First Coast Connect

First Coast Connect is sponsored in part by Baptist Health 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.

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union Reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT Business Analyst John Burr, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT contributor and board member Charles Griggs.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum (01:17).

Our periodic commentator Jay Solomon spoke about the controversy around removing Confederate monuments on the First Coast (39:57).

We heard about this weekend’s Mandarin Art Festival with Show Manager Krysten Bennett (46:00).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT


Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis (01:16).

Our Going Green segment featured Shannon Blankenship and Kelly Patton with the St. Johns Riverkeeper. They discussed their upcoming Great St Johns River Campout (29:06).

This month’s Women with Heart for Volunteers in Medicine featured Dr. Estrellita Redmon, President of St. Vincent’s Medical Group (37:57).   

We spoke with local actor, producer and author Nick Loren about his latest children’s book (46:00).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT


Tuesday on First Coast Connect we heard about the city of Jacksonville’s Civil Rights History Task Force with authors and civil rights activists Tim Gilmore and Rodney Hurst (01:05).

Moveable Feast featured Suzi Renehan of Uncanny Biscotti (26:58).

Director of the Warrior Care Network Alex Balbir told us about the latest treatments to help veterans suffering from PTSD (33:24).  

Katie Provow and Katie Delaney told us about some recent changes at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s Farmers Market (46:00).               


Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Coastal School of Law professors Ericka Curran and Kara Roberts on the school’s upcoming Citizenship Day (01:09).  

This month’s First Coast Success featured real estate leader Heyward Cantrell (23:20).

Looking ahead to the latest Generation W event we spoke with Generation W Executive Director Donna Orender and APR Energy President and COO Chuck Ferry (33:14).

Cole Pepper joined us with the latest sports news and a look at the Final Four (46:00).    

        

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT contributor Fred Matthews (01:06).

Ahead of this weekend’s Phoenix Rising Festival we spoke with Phoenix Arts District founder Christy Frazier and event coordinator Ari Gaskin (46:00).     

Will Dickey / The Florida Times-Union

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conarck about his investigation into how visitors to Baker Correctional Institution are treated (01:02).

Ahead of his appearance in Jacksonville next week we heard from legendary Disney and Pixar animator Floyd Norman (27:46).

With World Glaucoma Week just ending we heard about some new treatments for sufferers with Florida Eye Specialists Dr. Kathryn Friedl and patient Carol Matthews (38:30).

Ahead of this weekend’s A Brush With Nature event at the Jacksonville Arboretum we spoke with painter Randy Pitts and Board Chair Patty Miller.

Kerry Speckman told us what’s coming up this weekend and next week in the world of entertainment.  (46:00)    

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with FSCJ political science professor Daniel Cronrath who will be heading to Washington on Saturday to participate in the March For Our Lives event (01:08).

The latest edition of #RealTalk hosted by WJCT contributor Charles Griggs featured free-lance journalist Christin Jordan, former The Chat TV show host Henny Stewart and UNF Sociology Professor Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder (27:54)

We heard about the Old Town Art Show taking place this weekend in St. Augustine with Show Director Lynn Wettach (46:00). 

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former CSX CEO Michael Ward who is co-chair of a Jacksonville Civic Council committee looking into the possible sale of JEA (01:06).

Renay Daigle from Daigle Creative and Delores Barr Weaver told us about the Connectable Campaign (32:03).

John November, Executive Director and General Counsel for The Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, talked about Tuesday’s Jacksonville Tree Symposium (46:00).

Monday on First Coast Connect with guest host Jessica Palombo we heard about the upcoming inaugural Duval County Trump Club meeting. Club President Jim Davis and Duval County GOP Chair Karyn Morton (01:20) joined us.

We heard about the local company, Medic, that features vending machines for pharmacy products with cofounder Garlene Atcherson (28:40).

Keith Marks, a local artist and the founder of Avant Music, told us about two upcoming events he is involved in (38:40).

Sports analysts Cole Pepper talked about a wild weekend of March Madness and Jaguars free agency (46:00).  

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured guest host Ryan Benk and featured Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duval, WJCT Business Analyst John Burr, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and Beaches Leader columnist Jon McGowan.  

Media Roundtable

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with State Representative and Republican candidate for Attorney General Jay Fant (01:24).

UNF assistant professor of biology Dr. Mike Aspinwall told us about a recent study he participated in to examine how large trees in Australia are affected by climate change (33:08).

Researcher Dr. Jeremy Valdo told us the story of Rob the shark who was tagged by scientists and was recently tracked off the shore of Jacksonville (46:00).

Mikaela Lefrak / WAMU

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, ahead of Wednesday’s expected walkout by students around the country, we spoke with parent Patrick O’Donoghue and students Mia Cleary of Ponte Vedra High, Ajay Sasha of Nease High and Monique Sampson from UNF Students for a Democratic Society (01:06).  

We heard about an upcoming symposium on autism at the University of North Florida with doctors Celine Saulnier and Nathan Call along with parent Jackie Bargas and her autistic son St. John (31:19).

Moveable Feast featured international hospitality consultant Sandi Galloway (39:02).

First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacey Goldring featured the book Little Fires Everywhere (46:00).    

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Duval County School Board Chair Paula Wright about several issues affecting the district (01:12).   

New York Times bestselling author of the Mitford novels joined us along with Dean Kate Moorehead of St. Johns Cathedral about the author’s talk this Saturday at the church (29:44).

We heard about SCORE, or Service Corps of Retired Executives, and their upcoming workshop with volunteer Derrick Smith and workshop coordinator Craig Linsky (37:50).

WJCT sports analyst Cole Pepper joined us to talk about March Madness and the Gate River Run (46:00).     

Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable featured Folio Weekly Editor Claire Goforth, Financial News and Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT contributor Fred Matthews (01:09).

We spoke with Albert Syles, President of Romanza, on St. Augustine’s history around St. Patrick’s Day and Bolshoi Ballet Academy Director Davis Robertson, who is in town for a show Saturday night (46:00).

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