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.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT

Tuesday is Florida Primary Election Day. On First Coast Connect we spoke with University of North Florida Political Science Professor Mike Binder about the races and what we might expect heading to the general election (00:39).  

Lindsey Killbride / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect we discussed the shooting Sunday at The Jacksonville Landing that left three dead, including the gunman, and 11 wounded. Sunday’s violence came on top of a shooting Friday at Raines High School that left on dead and one wounded.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Our Friday First Coast Connect featured Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duval, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Jacksonville Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk.

Topics included

University of North Florida

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with bestselling author Craig Unger. He’s written the book House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia. The book looks into Trump’s alleged long history connecting his real estate dealings with the Russians (1:00).     

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with outgoing We Care Jacksonville Executive Director Dr. Sue Nussbaum along with her successor Susan King, the former Executive Director at Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. They discussed the Affordable Care Act and the need to provide healthcare for Jacksonville’s poor and homeless (01:13).  

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former Jacksonville Mayor and Democratic 5th Congressional District candidate Alvin Brown. Incumbent Congressman Al Lawson was to appear with Brown but cancelled citing a scheduling conflict (01:27).

Our Friday Media Roundtable on First Coast Connect featured Mark Woods from the Florida Times-Union, WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Folio Weekly reporter Madeleine Peck Wagner and Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons.

Issues discussed included

USA Today

Thursday on First Coast Connect  Melissa read an editorial from Thursday’s Florida Times-Union, which was one of many published by over 300 newspapers across the country promoting the freedom of the press and the need to end the war between President Donald Trump and the media. We asked the audience to respond (01:15).  

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard about the upcoming Florida Refugee Cup soccer match, held to highlight the importance of refugees and immigrants to the Jacksonville community, with ANSL League Director Josh Kimball, Coach of the Jax Eagles and Florida Eagles soccer teams Henry Howard, and Florida Immigrant Coalition refugee organizer Basma Alawee (01:05).

Blekic family via The Florida-Times Union

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we talked about the fate of the Blekic family, who, despite following all the rules while living on the First Coast for 10 years, were denied asylum status and deported back to Bosnia. We spoke with Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods, who has been following the family, and Professor Ericka Curran, who runs the immigration clinic at Florida Coastal School of Law.

Monday on First Coast Connect we talked about the politics of medical marijuana with the owner of Compassionate Alternative Care, Daniel Locke, and Dr. Joseph Sirven of the Mayo Clinic (01:08).

Our Friday Media Roundtable on First Coast Connect featured Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, local talk show host Angela Spears, Jacksonville Daily Record reporter David Cawton and Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski.

Topics included

Via News Service of Florida

Thursday on First Coast Connect we heard a review of Wednesday night’s GOP governor’s race debate with Director of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute Rick Mullaney and FSCJ Political Science professor Daniel Cronrath (01:28).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former First Coast High School student Seth Owen. He’s the gay student who had to move out of his house for refusing to attend his family’s very strict baptist church. Owen’s story inspired a GoFundMe account that raised over $140,000. He’s attending Georgetown University this fall (01:19).

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