Sean Birch

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016. 

Sean produced First Coast Connect, working to find interesting and informative guests, researching topics, and making sure each and every show ran smoothly. He was also responsible for the sound of First Coast Connect, running the mixing board, choosing the music heard on the show, and doing his best to make sure Melissa Ross sounded amazing. Sean also produced First Coast Connect Rewind, a weekly show featuring the best moments from First Coast Connect, which airs every Saturday at 4 p.m.

He was also the producer and host of WJCT's Country Crossroads, a show that was dedicated to the best in classic and alternative country music. 

And Sean was also the co-host and producer of WJCT's technology news and reviews podcast, Deemable Tech, and produced its spin-off radio tech help segment, Ask Deemable Tech

Ways to Connect

Beaches Residents React to Pension Proposal

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says "we're all in this together" regarding the city's pension obligations, but some residents of the Beaches are skeptical.

Curry has been traveling around Duval County drumming up support for his proposed solution to Jacksonville’s massive unfunded pension liability.

But he’s facing a tough sell in Jacksonville, Atlantic and Neptune Beaches, where some residents are pushing back against the idea of extending a half-cent sales tax.

Childhood Obesity

It’s a new way to fight a serious public health problem in this country and on the First Coast: childhood obesity.

About 13 million kids and adults in this country are considered obese.

In Florida, there’s been a decrease in obesity among preschoolers.

But as kids prepare to head back to school this month many of them are, ironically, overweight but at the same time not getting access to enough healthy food like fresh produce.

Hemming Park

Friends of Hemming Park, the organization in charge of running downtown Jacksonville's central park, recently stopped live music in during the park's weekday lunch hours due to budget constraints and feedback from City Council that city dollars should not be spent on programming or events. 

That announcement came on the heels of city government  concerns over a recent audit and a general reduction of funding for the group.

Media Roundtable

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: 

  • Andrew Pantazi, Florida Times-Union reporter; 
  • Julie Delegal, Folio Weekly writer;
  • Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor;
  • and Jacksonville blogger Fred Matthews.

Topics include Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign stop in Jacksonville this week, confirmed cases of the Zika virus being transmitted through mosquito bites in Florida, and more.

Bicycle Safety

The recent death of former Times-Union editorial writer Wayne Ezell shocked and saddened many in Jacksonville.

The 72-year-old Ezell died last week after his bicycle was struck by a pickup truck in Iowa. He was taking part in an annual seven-day Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visits Jacksonville Wednesday night for a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Trump’s return to the First Coast comes on the heels of a series of controversies and withering scrutiny over his comments about the family of a slain soldier, the issue of workplace harassment, and more.

 State of Downtown

The latest "State of Downtown" report from Downtown Vision, Inc. details how Jacksonville's city center has fared over the last year.

The last 18 months have seen new development projects, retail recruitment, changing demographics, and more in the urban core.

Downtown Vision, Inc. executive director Jake Gordon joins us to discuss the report and what the future could look like for downtown Jacksonville.

'Just Vote No'

A new lawsuit has been filed that seeks to knock that half-cent sales tax proposal for Jacksonville off the ballot in the upcoming August 30 primary election.

The lawsuit says the ballot language is too confusing and misleading, even illegal.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is leading the charge to get Duval County residents to vote “yes” on the measure to pay down the city’s massive pension debt. The mayor’s office says the referendum’s language meets all the requirements of state law.

We discuss the week's top news stories for the full hour with our roundtable of local journalists.

Joining us are:

  • Tonyaa Weathersbee, Florida Times-Union columnist
  • A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics writer
  • Lindsey Kilbride, WJCT News reporter
  • Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor

Topics include the Democratic National Convention, a new study about the effect of climate change on Florida's coastal military installation, and more.

Al Lawson

Corrine Brown’s indictment on 24 charges of fraud may provide a political opening for her biggest challenger, former state Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee.

Lawson is the most high-profile contender to replace Brown in the District 5 Congressional seat she’s held for more than two decades.

He joins us to discuss his platform.

Cindy Landham

Florida Creamery

We begin the hour with a discussion about the controversy surrounding Angela Wilcox, owner of the Florida Creamery ice cream shop in Avondale.

In a recent Facebook exchange with another local business owner, Wilcox vented about everything from liberals, to ISIS, to people who don’t sign paychecks.

The posts have since been taken down, but not before they went viral, and were viewed more than 30,000 times.

Dave Bruderly

The Democratic National Convention heads into day two Tuesday, following a series of rousing speeches designed to unify the party after a fractious first day.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders closed out the convention’s first night with a forceful plea for his supporters to get behind nominee Hillary Clinton.

Can the Democrats unite behind the common goal of beating Donald Trump?

Democratic National Convention

As the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia, an unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders: Is Vladimir Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

A Wikileaks release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from DNC computer servers has intensified discussion of the potential role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.

Media Roundtable

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Sebastian Kitchen, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly editor; Mark Judson, UNF Spinnaker editor; and blogger Fred Matthews.

Topics include the Republic National Convention, the federal investigation into Rep. Corrine Brown, and more.

Medical Marijuana

Nearly two years after Florida lawmakers legalized it, low-THC medical marijuana could be available in the state as soon as next week.

The Florida Department of Health has granted a Tallahassee company called Trulieve the authority to process and dispense the drug.

Five other Florida companies have a license to sell cannabis for medical use.

Meanwhile, activists in Florida push for a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for a wider array of medical treatments.

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.


2016 National Conventions

The 2016 Republican National Convention kicks off tonight in Cleveland.

As Donald Trump prepares to accept his party’s nomination, he’ll seek to bridge deep divisions in a GOP that’s still conflicted about his candidacy.

There are also policy disagreements between Donald Trump and his newly minted running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, on issues like trade, the Iraq War and Trump's proposed Muslim ban.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams joins us for the full hour to discuss recent acts of terror in the U.S. and abroad.

We also talk about issues of race, gun rights and police relations following recent police-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Ben Frazier

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama tried to console the families of Dallas' slain police officers and ease the tensions of a restless nation.

The president was joined on stage by a slew of officials at the interfaith service, including former President George W. Bush.

President Obama closes out his second term amid lingering divisions over race, gun violence and police relations.

Those divisions are painfully felt in Jacksonville, where a series of controversial incidents involving police officers shooting civilians have sparked vigils and protests.

Ben Frazier, spokesperson with the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, joins us to discuss these shootings, Black Lives Matter, police relations, and more.

Reginald Luster

Jacksonville attorney Reginald Luster is the only local candidate in the race for Florida’s open Senate seat.

Luster is joining the Democratic field of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio’s opponents, including Rep. Patrick Murphy, Rep. Alan Grayson, and attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith.

Luster is a business owner and is also known for serving as the first, and so far only, African-American president of the local bar association.

We speak with him about his platform.

Algae Bloom

The Death of St. Augustine Priest Rene Robert

A Georgia prosecutor is seeking the death penalty in the murder of 71-year-old Father Rene Robert of St. Augustine, who was killed last April Burke County Georgia.

A deeply troubled young man, 28-year-old Steven Murray, has already confessed to the crime.

Tobert was a priest firmly opposed to the death penalty, so much so that he signed a document called a “Declaration of Life,” declaring that if he should ever himself be murdered, he did not want to see his killer be put to death.

Florida Times-Union investigative reporter Eileen Kelley examined this and other aspects of the case, including Murray's history of being sexually assaulted, in a recent article. She joins us to discuss it


Lori Boyer

Two-term Jacksonville City Council member Lori Boyer takes the reins this month as that body’s new president, promising to push an ambitious agenda for the city.

Boyer’s tenure comes amid big financial challenges for Jacksonville, as well as growing concerns about public safety and tensions between the black community and police.

Lori Boyer joins us to discuss her priorities for the next year.

Media Roundtable

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: David Bauerlein, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics writer; and Mark Judson, UNF Spinnaker editor.

Topics include the shooting of five police officers during a protest in Dallas Thursday night, the indictment of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Florida) by a federal grand jury over ethics violations, and more.

Medicaid Expansion

A new survey shows where Florida voters stand on the issue of expanding the Medicaid pool to the state’s low-income residents.

The Texas Medical Center’s Health Policy Institute poll finds 68 percent of Florida voters are in favor of Medicaid expansion and 71 percent would vote for a candidate in favor of Medicaid expansion.

We discuss the results with Dr. Arthur (Tim) Garson, director of the TMC Health Policy Institute.

State Attorney and Public Defender Races

A new UNF poll of likely voters in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit shows the potential for turnover in the State Attorney and Public Defender offices.

Both Angela Corey and Matt Shirk are trailing their respective challengers in those races, Melissa Nelson and Charles Cofer.

Mike Binder, director of UNF's Public Opinion Research Laboratory, joins us to discuss the results of the survey.

Chasing the Dream

The deplorable conditions at the local low-income housing project Eureka Gardens captured national headlines when it came to light residents were living with dangerous mold, leaky gas pipes, and dilapidated stairs.

Media Roundtable

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Mark Woods, Florida Times-Union columnist; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly editor; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; and WJCT News analyst John Burr.

Topics include the controversy surrounding a recent Florida Times-Union profile of City Councilman Reginald Gaffney and his nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Center, a new poll showing Marco Rubio neck-and-neck with Democrat Patrick Murphy for the US Senate, and more.

Haroon Moghul

The deadly attack on Turkey’s Ataturk International Airport claimed the lives of more than 40 people in Istanbul, just weeks after a similar attack killed 49 at a gay Orlando nightclub.

But where the Orlando massacre spurred an outpouring of support from communities around the world, the response to three suicide bombers detonating devices in Istanbul seems muted.

Although yet to be confirmed, Turkish officials say the self-proclaimed Islamic State or Daesh terror group is responsible for sending three suicide bombers into the crowded Ataturk International Airport Tuesday.

The attackers began firing weapons at the airport’s terminal entrance and later detonated suicide vests, killing more than 40 and wounding close to 240.

Author and commentator Haroon Moghul, senior fellow and director of development at the Center for Global Policy, joins us to discuss the difference in responses between the Turkish and Orlando attacks.

Moghul is the keynote speaker at the Atlantic Institute of Jacksonville's Table of Abraham interfaith event Thursday night.

North Florida Land Trust

The North Florida Land Trust is launching an ambitious project to conserve more land in North Florida.

The nonprofit is planning to create a 112,000 acre "Preservation Portfolio" of land they say is in critical need of preservation. This includes territory in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties.

The estimated cost of purchasing the acreage is $216 million.

Jim McCarthy, executive director of the North Florida Land Trust, joins us to discuss the project and how they are raising funds for it.

LGBT Acceptance Survey

A new survey from the national LGBT rights advocacy group GLAAD finds growing acceptance for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community across the country, even in the traditionally more conservative southern states.

However, other indicators in the "Accelerating Acceptance" survey show that complacency may be setting in for some LGBT allies.

We discuss the survey, media representation of LGBT citizens, and local efforts for LGBT rights with Dan Merkan, chair of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, and Ross Murray, director of U.S. south and global programs for GLAAD.

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