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.

Connell Crooms

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Jacksonville Mayoral candidate Connell Crooms. He is best known as one of the members of the Hemming Park 5, who were arrested and beaten by police at a protest last year in the park over the Trump administration’s bombing of Syria (01:16).     

The Jacksonville Landing

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard the latest about the battle over The Jacksonville Landing with Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein and Daily Record reporter David Cawton (01:09).

Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall / Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we heard about Florida’s growing medical cannabis industry with attorney Matthew Ginder. He’s senior counsel in the Cannabis Law practice group at the South Florida firm Greenspoon Marder (01:12).  

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

First Coast Connect was live Friday from downtown Jacksonville at Chamblin’s Uptown to celebrate the 2018 Jacksonville Jazz Festival.  We spoke with Jason Lewis, founder of Jazz Fest After Dark and Damien Lamar host of 89.9’s Taste Test.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with newly installed Kids Hope Alliance CEO Joseph Peppers and board chair Kevin Gay about what we can expect the organization will do to help kids in Jacksonville (1:19).

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we learned the latest regarding a move in Congress to force a floor vote on immigration reform with local immigration attorney Susan Pai and attorney Ted Hutchinson with public policy group Forward Florida (01:09).

Jim Gilmore

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Marion Tischler from RE:MIND, an initiative from local spiritual leaders to help people deal with chemical dependency and mental illness (01:10).     

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with American Medical Association President-Elect Dr. Barbara McAneny about the association’s conference this week at the Prime Osborn Convention Center focusing on gun violence, the opioid epidemic, mental health and obesity (01:16).

Friday on First Coast Connect our Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and Beaches Leader columnist Jon McGowan.

Issues discussed included

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke to Eastside Environmental Council founder and CEO Wynetta Wright and development manager Teena Anderson about their work to cleanup their neighborhood from contaminants and prevent discharge of pollutants into the St. Johns River (01:06).

Partnership for Child Health

Wednesday on First Coast Connect as part of Mental Health Awareness Month we heard about what’s being done to help children with mental disorders on the First Coast from Vicki Waytowich with the Partnership for Child Health (01:28).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and Wells Todd with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition about the March for Change.

It’s a three-day march from Jacksonville to St. Augustine to call for the removal of Confederate monuments from public places on the First Coast (01:02).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with President of Terrawise Homes and WJCT board member Melody Shacter and Mark Sherman, Senior Loan Consultant with LoanDepot about the rising problem of affordable housing on the First Coast (01:05).

Friday our First Coast Connect Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi, Action News Jax anchor John Bachman, radio host and former First Coast News anchor Angela Spears and Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons.

Issues discussed included:

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporters Nate Monroe and Christopher Hong on their investigative series regarding how dredging affects the flow of the St. Johns River (01:06).

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