John Davis

John Davis has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host for NPRââââ

Nearly two-thirds of all bird species in North America are at risk of extinction due to climate change according to a new report, released Thursday by the National Audubon Society

As Floridians stock up on essentials in preparation for possible impacts of Hurricane Dorian, State Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging hotline

The Southwest Florida-based post rock/indie rock band Broken Waves joins us for the hour to perform live in studio!  With a sound described by fans as “powerful, but dreamy,” musicians with the group describe their sound as “inspired by surf, jazz, reverb and sunshine with a warm vintage feel.” 

Where Were You On July 20, 1969?

Jul 19, 2019

As Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put man on the moon, we listen back to Sanibel poet Joe Pacheco’s remembrance of the first Moon Day on July 20th 1969.  The Apollo 11 carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin Jr.  The module, nicknamed “Eagle” brought about Neil Armstrong’s quote “The Eagle has landed” when it touched down as well as his proclamation “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Here’s Pacheco’s poem titled “Where Were You on July 20, 1969?”

Before heading out on their Great American Tour later this month, the Southwest Florida-based band Swamp Rats returns to perform new selections of their eclectic blend of folk, blues, Americana and bluegrass infused with punk and metal.  

The band has teamed up with author and traveler April Lee Fields who recites her writing with the band playing behind it creating a kind of musical literary journey called “April Lee Fields’ Story & Song.” 

Atlanta-based singer and pianist Dara Carter is currently touring and performing music from her second album, “Hello Freedom,” released May 31.  Carter is a life-long musician whose musical training is rooted in the classical and jazz styles, however, her solo work has evolved and developed into a form all its own.  We’ll hear Carter perform selections from the new album and we’ll catch up on her work in other areas including modeling, philanthropy, graphic design and her work with the all black-women rock band the Txlips.

Holocaust survivor, author, public speaker, human rights activist and educator Eva Mozes Kor died July 4 at the age of 85.

At the age of 10, Kor was sent to the Nazi’s Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland where her parents and two older sisters were killed.  Eva and her twin sister Miriam became part of a group of about 3,000 children who were abused in horrific genetic experiments under the direction of Dr. Josef Mengele.  They were among the roughly 200 children found alive when the Soviet Army liberated the camp in 1945, most of whom had also been Mengele twins. 

Protesters in Southwest Florida demonstrated Tuesday afternoon, at events in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples and Sarasota against the Trump administration’s treatment, detention and family separation of migrants at the U.S. southern border.  The protests were among nearly 200 similar events taking place across the country. 

Today marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in Florida government with a nearly $91 billion dollar budget. Today also marks the day when a number of new laws take effect that were passed by elected officials in this year’s annual legislative session. 

As we approach the end of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which are largely considered a sentinel catalyst to the gay rights movement, we explore why pride events continue to exist and how they’ve changed over the years. 

A little over six months ago, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried was sworn into office, taking over a department of nearly 4,000 employees that has regulatory authority over everything from agribusiness to telemarketers to firearm permits and much more.  We’ll get an update from Commissioner Fried about her work so far, including efforts on medical marijuana, fostering the growth of a hemp industry in Florida, consumer protection’s for Florida’s LGBTQ community, helping growers recovering from hurricane losses and much more.

Florida fell from 6th to 13th place in the latest state-by-state ranking and report card on the quality of nursing home care.  The report comes from the Texas-based non-profit nursing home resident advocacy group Families for Better Care, Inc.  The results indicate a trend of declining inspection ratings for nursing homes across the country. 

Alliance for the Arts' Theatre Conspiracy will kick off performances of playwright Steven Dietz’s 2012 dark comedy, “Rancho Mirage” next Friday night, June 14th at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers.  On Arts Edition, John Davis talks with the show’s director Anne Dodd and Sonya McCarter who’s performing in the upcoming production.

Grammy-award winning indie-folk-rock singer/songwriter and guitarist Ani DiFranco is out with a new memoir titled, “No Walls and the Recurring Dream.”  John Davis recently connected with DiFranco for a conversation exploring her music, her early life, activism and even some political involvement right here in Southwest Florida.

While nesting numbers of endangered green sea turtles in Florida can vary from year to year, the broader trend over the past few decades shows a marked increase in the animal’s population.  

The city of Fort Myers went through a dramatic metamorphosis in the early 20th century from a largely frontier cow town to a thriving metropolitan center for commerce, citrus production and, of course, tourism.  The latest book from Southwest Florida historian and author Tom Hall explores that development through the lens of a series of major fires that nearly derailed the city’s development. In Volume Two of “Epic Fires of Fort Myers:  How a Series of Early Fires Influenced the Town’s Development,” Hall focuses in on four major blazes and a handful of smaller fires that shaped the city just during a 14-month span between 1914 and 1915.  We’ll also speak with retired Fort Myers Fire Department Chief Richard Chappelle whose analysis and fire safety tips are also included in the book.

Advocates for women's reproductive rights held a rally Tuesday outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Fort Myers in solidarity with demonstrations being held across the country in opposition to anti-abortion laws legislators have adopted in five states so far in 2019. 

Southwest Florida’s premiere fashion event “Art Walks the Runway” returns to the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers for its eighth year.  The event runs May 17-19 and features local and international fashion designers along with music and dance performances, a contortionist, body art and more.  The event’s producer and host, Melissa DeHaven, gives us a preview of the event.  We’ll also meet two of the fashion industry’s leading couture designers whose collections will be featured: Usama Ishtay and Michael NGO.

Sarasota’s newest theater company, The Gulf Front Players, is about to present its first show, A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” May 19 at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  We’ll learn more about the play from director and co-star Michael Marcello.  We’ll also explore the Gulf Front Players unique outreach mission with the company’s managing director Nairn’ Gillet.  Proceeds from the company’s public performances help to bring their plays to audiences at senior centers, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities and other groups.

Following a closed-door meeting with federal, state and local agencies on harmful algal blooms, Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney held a second roundtable meeting Friday that was open to the media and the public.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, about 1,300 military service members transition back into civilian life every day.  The reintegration process can come with serious challenges including post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges, and a new Southwest Florida-based initiative called HeroSong, aims to help through the therapeutic power of music.  

When it comes to treating patients with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia, should caregivers be doing more to treat the person and not just the disease?  We’ll listen back to a previous conversation with Art Therapist and Director of Education at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida, Angel Duncan, about her editorial published in the Journal of Neurology and Neurological Disorders titled “Identity in Memory: Ascertaining Consciousness beyond Dementia.” 

Florida lawmakers adjourned the state’s annual legislative session, Saturday, with an historic $91.1 billion budget for the coming fiscal year.  Although just 5.6% of the nearly 3,500 bills filed during the session actually passed, Senate President Bill Galvano, House Speaker Jose Oliva and Governor Ron DeSantis are claiming victory, as many of their legislative priorities did pass. 

Southwest Florida-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist Robert Bidney performs live in-studio ahead of his concert at the All Faiths Unitarian Congregation in Fort Myers, May 4, sponsored by the American Community Music Association.  The performance marks the release of his second album, “Rush of Hope,” which comes out this month. 

The Florida Repertory Theatre in downtown Fort Myers holds its 6th annual PlayLab Festival May 9-12.  The festival gives emerging and established playwrights an opportunity to workshop and develop their plays with a director and a cast of professional actors and will culminate with a public reading of five new stage plays and one musical.  We’re joined by Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen and Associate Artistic Director and PlayLab Artistic Director Jason Parrish, both of whom will be directing plays during the festival.  We’ll also speak with playwrights Daryl Lisa Fazio and Bruce GrahamA whose plays will be featured in this year’s festival.

Would Beethoven have found meaning in the music of Coldplay?  Next week, the Southwest Florida Symphony will blur the line between classical and contemporary in a performance blending Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony with the music of the British rock band Coldplay. 

As the Laboratory Theater celebrates the tenth anniversary in its performance venue in downtown Fort Myers, it presents a "Festival of Tens."  The festival features a series of 10-minute plays written by local playwrights who’ve been taking playwriting classes through the Lab Theater. 

With less than two weeks until the end of Florida’s annual legislative session, lawmakers continue to advance legislation (HB 7089/ SB 7086) aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for up to 1.5 million former felons.

In the 2018 election, Florida voters approved Amendment Four, which restores the voting rights of to up to 1.5 million ex-felons in the state who have completed all terms of their sentence and who were not convicted of murder or felony sex crimes.

This Sunday marks the Easter Holiday and here in Southwest Florida residents are gearing up for a long-held tradition in Fort Myers that today attracts tens of thousands of people:  The Dunbar Easter Parade.  This week’s encore essay from News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams pays homage to the legendary local woman who founded the parade74 years ago.

Evelyn Sams Canady was an educator as well as an important civic and religious leader in the region.  She also helped found Dunbar High School and the Dr. Ella Piper Center. Her bio paints a picture of a passionate educator whose lessons extended well beyond the classroom.