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.

Smoke signals rising from Florida Gulf Coast University got local attention last semester when it offered a class called, “Weed: The impact of marijuana on American life.” The class was filled with students, but they weren’t the only ones who were interested by the topic of cannabis, and the way it has impacted our culture.

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.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year marks 18 years of sexual assault-centered activism. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in three women and one in six men have experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime in America.

 

There are organizations across Southwest Florida that are working to raise awareness about sexual assault this month. The Punta Gorda-based Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies Inc. (C.A.R.E.) is hosting several events that revolve around advocacy, knowledge and self-defense. Wendy J. Silva from C.A.R.E. joins us in the studio to discuss the events, and their importance in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And Lesley Barton also joins us in the studio to share her experience as a sexual assault survivor and advocate.

Find details on events hosted by the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies Inc. (C.A.R.E.) here.

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the beginning of the modern environmental movement in 1970, when on April 22 an estimated 20-million Americans demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment in rallies across the country. We’re marking its 49th anniversary with a show on location in a building that’s been retrofitted to be as ‘green’ as possible. We’re in downtown Fort Myers at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Collaboratory. We’re going to spend the hour with a panel of guests who are each on the front lines, fighting for Southwest Florida’s environment, and for the animals we share it with.

A recent study by scientists with the University of Florida and the U.S. Geological Survey finds that Burmese pythons may be foraging on wading bird nesting rookeries in the Everglades. The research is published in PLOS One.

The study’s lead author, Sophie Orzechowski, performed this research as part of her recently completed master’s degree in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.

Plus,  cane toads are invasive species brought to the U.S. in an effort to protect sugar cane fields from pests. Now they present danger to pets and local wildlife. The toads, as well as Burmese pythons, are throwing off the Southwest Florida ecosystem.


According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 confirmed individual cases of measles have been recorded in 20 different states across the nation since the beginning of this year. Since the viral infection was eliminated in the U.S. nearly 19 years ago, the first few months of 2019 saw the second-greatest number of measles cases reported.


Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder marked by systems such as tremors, stiffness and slow muscle movement. According to parkinsons.org, 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the neurological disorder each year. In honor of it being National Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we've invited many people whose lives orbit around Parkinson’s disease to the studio.


Dr. Ramon A. Gil, a neurologist at the Parkinson’s Treatment Center of Southwest Florida, phones the studio to contribute a rundown of medical details of the disease. Michael and Gretchen Church, a couple who both have Parkinson’s, share their experience about dealing with the disease. Mary Spremulli, a medical speech-language pathologist from Voice Aerobics Speech Language Therapy; Michelle Martin, the coordinator of the Hope Parkinson Program; and Carissa Campanella, a care advisor from the Neurochallenge Foundation.


We're getting an update on the state of the foster care system in southwest Florida with Nadereh Salim, she's the chief executive officer of the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, and a local foster parent, who both join us in the studio to educate us on the current state of the foster care system of this region. The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, in partnership with Embrace Families, is promoting what's called “The Manicure Movement” which aims to polish off child abuse.


A plastic bag or a six pack ring floating by in the ocean would cause someone to cringe. Large pieces of plastics are easy to spot, campaign around and clean up. But who cleans up the nearly invisible pieces of plastic floating around bodies of water? Those tiny pieces are called microplastics.


Last year, when then-Gov. Rick Scott called two state of emergencies, one for red tide in the gulf and another for blue-green algae contamination in the Caloosahatchee watershed, many looked to the Florida Department of Health for guidance. The department disappointed some however, when it couldn’t provide specific answers to their many questions.

Amy Bennett Williams is an environmental reporter from The News-Press. Her recent article “Emails show Florida DOH struggled to manage toxic algae crisis,” provides evidence from the 2,500 emails obtained by the paper that reveal why the department could only provide generalized answers. Williams is the Field Notes column writer for the Tropicalia magazine, and she is an essayist for WGCU. She joins us in the studio to discuss the reporting process for the story.


Florida wildlife and nature is a bountiful subject for photographers, filmmakers, environmentalists and artists, alike. Elam Stoltzfus is an environmental filmmaker with a focus on the nature of Florida. He’s filmed more than 10 documentaries, and he has been recognized by environmentalist groups like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.

Elam, and his co-producer and son Nic, join us in the studio to discuss his latest film, "Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast,” which tells the story of the Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s now 40 year effort to protect the fragile ecosystem between Marco Island and Naples. It will air on WGCU-TV on Earth Day, that’s coming up on April 22nd.

 


It’s been three years since journalist Jason Rezaian was released from an Iranian prison, where he had been jailed for alleged espionage. Now, in a new memoir, he recounts the experience of the 544 days he spent in the notorious Evin Prison. “Prisoner” offers insight not only into his experiences while incarcerated, but it also brings a greater understanding of a country most Americans understand little about. He was in Southwest Florida for an event with the Naples Council on World Affairs and managed to carve out a little time to come visit us in our studio.

The Atlantic Coast Line Railway depot in downtown Fort Myers served as a community hub, and a connection to the outside world, for decades beginning in 1924 all the way up until closing in 1971. But, it was also emblematic of racial segregation throughout its time as a depot. It sat empty for about a decade before becoming the Southwest Florida Museum of History, where people of all backgrounds could come together and learn about this region’s history -- the good and the bad.


E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular over the past 15 or so years. These small, handheld electronic devices simulate the feeling of smoking by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol -- this is commonly called "vaping." The liquid in e-cigarettes often contains nicotine, but not always. According to health officials the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has reached epidemic numbers, and school districts have been holding sessions to inform parents and teachers about these devices, and their health effects.

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