Players by the Sea

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local attorney Mike Freed about the city of Jacksonville filing a lawsuit against major drug manufacturers over the opioid crisis (01:06).

We were joined by Board President Chris Schwing to discuss this year’s Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum (29:21).

Players by the Sea creative Marketing Manager Bradley Akers and Director Kris Jackson talked about their New Voices program (46:00).    

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former Congressman Jason Altmire about his new book “Dead Center” (01:15).

Dr. Takaya Jones with Baptist Health talked about this weekend’s Pink Ribbon Symposium (29:41). 

This week’s segment of “Moveable Feast” featured Lauren Titus of “Edible Northeast Florida” magazine (36:16).  

Players By The Sea Production Manager Jereme Raickett and Creative Marketing Manager Bradley Akers told us about this Saturday’s end-of-season fundraising event, “The Curtain Call” (47:24). 


  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with a local Turkish refugee (01:03) about the situation in his native country and the crackdown on dissidents since last year’s attempted coup. We did not reveal his name to protect family members still in Turkey. Cenegenics Jacksonville Medical Director Earl Eye (32:26) told us about a new erectile dysfunction treatment that eliminates the needs for pills or surgery. We were joined by Players By the Sea cast members  Lucas Kish and husband-and-wife performers Jimmy and Jessica Alexander (40:51) about the upcoming production of rock musical “American Idiot.” And Kerry Speckman (45:21) told us about this weekend’s events. 

  Friday on “First Coast Connect” was are weekly Media Roundtable with Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, blogger Fred Matthews and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and U.S. Naval War College professor of strategic leadership and leader development Olenda Johnson about next week’s conference. We spoke with Washington correspondent for The Economist James Astill about the rise of modern India, and we spoke with the star of the play “Fences” Shauntel Robinson and director Jereme Raickett. 

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed what changes may be in store for the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration. We were joined by Pat Geraghty, CEO of Guidewell and Florida Blue, and Dr. Alan Harmon, past president of the Florida Medical Association and Duval County Medical Association and member of the American Medical Association's Council on Medical Service.

I’m a Star Foundation Executive Director and Former Duval County School Board Chair Betty Burney joined the show with local students Jasmine and Jaquez Butler to talk about the upcoming Let’s Move Jacksonville event. Bright Holidays CEO Mike Shreve spoke about the mission to buy necessities for the less fortunate during the holiday season.

And director Rodney Holmes and star Regina Torres talked about the upcoming Players by the Sea production of “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge.”  


Republican National Convention

Donald Trump is officially the presidential nominee for the Republican party.

Trump claimed the nomination Tuesday night during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

The second day went a little more smoothly than the first, after a series of hiccups involving everything from dissent on the floor over Trump’s nomination, to a plagiarism scandal around a speech given by Melania Trump.

Matt Corrigan, professor of political science at the University of North Florida, joins us with his thoughts about where the convention will go from here., Chance Usina & Ramona Ramadeen

  The award-winning musical "Memphis" will debut on Players by the Sea’s main stage Friday night. 

Director Jereme Raicket, and cast members Rodney Holmes and Rashawnda Foster appeared on Wednesday’s First Coast Connect to talk about the summer musical and performed a snippet of one of the numbers from the show.

Prison Reform

We discuss the push to end mass incarceration in this country and reform the U.S. criminal justice system.

Annually, $80 billion is spent on taking care of the country’s 6.9 million incarcerated Americans, including the 2.2 million who are under supervision.

Wendy Tatter, a prison reform advocate, and Moliere DiManche Jr., an ex-offender, joined us in the studio to share their personal stories and take a closer look at Florida’s criminal system.

Media Roundtable Week in Review

We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly editor; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include the future of U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw's (R-Florida) seat in Congress, the interfaith group I.C.A.R.E. pressing Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry to address the city's homelessness issues, and more.

Cathedral Arts Project

Ted Cruz upset Donald Trump in last night’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses in a surprise victory.

On the Democrats’ side, Hillary Clinton wins a narrow victory over Bernie Sanders. Now the 2016 nomination fight is on to New Hampshire.

Political junkies here in the US are following the election closely, of course, but what you may not know is that the 2016 presidential election will be the biggest betting event of all-time.

Paul Krishnamurty, chief analyst for the world’s leading betting exchange,, and blogger at, has been successfully predicting elections since the turn of the century. In 2008, he backed both Barack Obama to become President and John McCain for the Republican nomination.

Krishnamurty early on called Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination, and has placed bets on Hillary Clinton as the slight favorite to win the presidency.

Paul Krishnamurty joins us to discuss how he thinks the 2016 election will play out following the Iowa caucus.

Players By The Sea

A Jacksonville Beach community theater is offering aspiring playwrights the chance to bring their vision to life.

Players by the Sea is looking for writers with ideas for plays. The theater will help two lucky winners develop those ideas into full scripts, and then produce the premiere performances of the plays. The writers will also get a $2,000 stipend.


Players Associate Director Bradley Akers says the new, year-long program is called New Voices.

It’s a form of modern-day slavery and one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide.

Federal and state authorities are stepping up their efforts to fight human trafficking of all types, whether it's minors forced into the sex trade or workers coerced into unpaid labor.

Florida is an epicenter for trafficking.

As the nation marks Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we speak with Amanda Rolfe, President, and Prudence Williams, Executive Director, of the Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida about what’s being done here on the First Coast to raise awareness and bring traffickers to justice. 

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Matthew Shaw, Folio Weekly editor; and WJCT analyst John Burr.

Topics include Mayor Lenny Curry's new budget proposal, Duval County Chief Judge Mark Mahon recinding his order prohibiting photography at the county courthouse, and more.

We get a preview of Players by the Sea's production of "Aida" from director Bradley Akers.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

Morris Dees is the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama-based nonprofit that has been instrumental in raising awareness about civil rights violations, domestic terrorists and racially motivated hate crimes. And he’s a nationally recognized advocate for civil rights, diversity and tolerance. We speak with Dees about his upcoming talk at UNF later this month about "Justice for All in a Changing America."

RENT — the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning musical story of falling in love, finding your voice and living for today — is being staged in Jacksonville.