Mike Kiniry

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

He became the first producer of Gulf Coast Live when the show launched in 2004, and also worked as the host of All Things Considered from 2004 to 2006, and the host of Morning Edition from 2006 to 2011. He then left public radio to work as PR Director for the Alliance for the Arts for five years, and was then Principled Communicator at the election integrity company Free & Fair for a year before returning to WGCU in October, 2017.

In the past Mike has been a bartender and cook at Liquid Café in downtown Fort Myers, a golf club fixer/seller at the Broken Niblick Golf Shop in Fort Myers, and a bookseller at Ives Book Shop in Fort Myers. He lives near downtown Fort Myers with his daughter, and their dog and two cats.

Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the formation of a Blue-Green Algae Task Force that’s charged with reducing adverse impacts of the toxic algae blooms over the next five years. The task force is comprised of five researchers: Dr. Wendy Graham from the University of Florida, Dr. Evelyn Gaiser from Florida International University, Dr. James Sullivan from Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Valerie Paul from the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, and Florida Gulf Coast University Professor of Marine Science, Dr. Mike Parsons, who joins us to give us sense of what the task force will be doing in the coming years.


The Florida Legislature passed a bill during the 2019 session that will create an industrial hemp industry in the state. This follows changes in federal law that legalized hemp as an agricultural product, which can be used to create a variety of products, and that some see as a possible new cash crop for Florida farmers to grow.

After Hurricane Irma swept through Southwest Florida during the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the devastation it left in its wake was a wake up call to many residents, who might have become complacent during the relative calm of the previous decade or so. But, with Irma still fresh in many people's minds, we're reminding people that being prepared includes more than just having water and food stored away. We’re now going to broaden our discussion to see what people should be doing with their yards, and the plants, and trees, they contain. We're joined in studio by Ian Orlikoff, he is an arborist, and owner of Signature Tree Care in Naples.

With the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season fast approaching it’s time for people to start preparing. While we had a mild season here in southwest Florida last year, the year before Hurricane Irma reminded southwest Floridians the need to properly prepare is very real. We're joined in studio by Jeff Huffman, Director of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

The persistent and growing problem of plastics in our environment is becoming increasingly clear. We're sitting down with a local who man who has spent his career in the world of plastics and packaging to get his insights into where we are, and where the industry is heading. Warren Schirado is a Packaging Development and Design Engineer who has spent his life researching plastics, and the never ending efforts to use less of them, or discover more environmentally friendly ways to make them.

Last September, the Director of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Port Aransas, Texas was walking along the beach when he came across a disturbing find -- millions of tiny, plastic pellets had washed ashore -- he’d stumbled across an apparent nurdle spill. Nurdles are tiny, plastic pellets that are used as the base material for the manufacture of other plastic products.


Florida has long ranked at or near the bottom when it comes to spending for state-managed mental health programs. And while the lack of available mental health services, for people of all ages, is a statewide problem, it’s particularly acute here in Southwest Florida. In Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties there is roughly one mental health provider per 1000 residents -- that’s compared to the state average of about one in 670 people. Add to that shortage the dramatic increase in the number of children who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and who are self-harming, and threatening or attempting suicide, and we have a serious mental health problem on our hands, and it’s only getting worse.

May is National Foster Care Month, so we're listening back to a conversation we had earlier this year with the owners of a restaurant along U.S. 41 in South Fort Myers that’s hard to miss. It’s painted bright green and called FK Your Diet. The "FK" stands for "foster kids," and it’s run by a Doug Miller, who was raised in foster homes, and his wife, Amy Eldridge. They serve up dishes, mostly comfort foods, Miller learned to cook while staying in more than a dozen homes and in portion sizes that anyone who’s experienced food scarcity would appreciate.


The severity of last year’s dual toxic algae blooms have raised awareness among the public for a need to find real solutions to these persistent problems. While the causes are a complicated knot that won’t be easily untangled, there does seem to be a bipartisan consensus to work to find real solutions.

After years of searching for what was rumored to be a giant salamander living in the swamps of the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama, a team of researchers have found it, and recently published a paper describing for the first time this entirely new species they named the reticulated siren. This giant new salamander species, which can grow up to 2 feet long, is one of the largest new species to be described in the U.S. in more than a century.

Dr. David Thomas held many roles over the course of his 20 years in law enforcement. He was a patrol officer, detective, he served in the Street Crimes division, SWAT, Hostage Negotiations, Community Policing, and he trained other officers in many of these roles.

Advances in technology, and miniaturization, have led to great leaps forward when it comes to drones in recent years -- think things like quadcopters that people fly, sometimes using their phones as the interface, even being able to see in real time what the drone is seeing. Now, the Lee Virtual School’s Drone and Engineering Club is getting in on the action with its inaugural Micro Madness Drone race, which is Monday, April 29 at 5:00 p.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. It’s open to drone pilots of all skill levels, whether they have their own drone or not. We’re joined by the Lee Virtual School’s principal, Al Shilling, to learn more.

With southwest Florida’s ongoing water woes, there are lots of people working to find ways to improve the water quality in this part of the state. One of those people is David Wolff, he is founder of a nonprofit called Ocean Habitats, Inc. that’s creating and selling mini artificial reefs that are generally installed underneath docks. The basic idea is to create safe habitats for filter feeders like oysters, as well as juvenile fish and crabs, and other marine life, to grow and thrive.

 


In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re currently in what could easily be described as a bonanza of new TV and film production. Just Netflix alone is expected to spend about $13-billion on new content production just this year. Spread that out across the other providers who are now making shows and films, like Amazon and even Apple, and there is lots of money up for grabs for locations for productions – and some states are working hard to attract it.


A new business in downtown Fort Myers is selling products that contain CBD, or cannabidol, which is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis. Seed & Bean Market has an extensive selection of teas, coffees, cosmetics, face masks, lotions, vape pens and much more, all infused with CBD.

We’re joined by one of the founders of Seed & Bean Market, Cole Peacock. He joins us in the studio to provide an update on CBD and its effects, as well as its legality in the state of Florida. Click HERE to see a visualization of scientific evidence for the medical benefits of CBD.

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