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Longtime host Melissa Ross to leave WJCT Public Media, The Florida Roundup for 'new chapter'

Melissa Ross

Editor's Note: WJCT Public Media's Melissa Ross stepped down this week as co-host of the weekly show The Florida Roundup. She's been co-host of the statewide public affairs show for the last five years. WLRN thanks her for her contributions to the program.

The Florida Roundup will continue. The next two weeks will see WLRN's Danny Rivero host the show. Then, WUSF's Matthew Peddie, former interim host of the program, will re-join as an interim co-host starting on June 30.

Melissa Ross, the longtime host of WJCT News 89.9's popular "First Coast Connect" morning show, is joining the executive team of Mayor-elect Donna Deegan — a move Ross called "a new chapter ... a new opportunity."

"Leaving a job that you love to start something new is always a big transition," Ross said after Deegan announced her team Wednesday morning. "But WJCT holds an incredible, special place in my heart. And it always will."

Ross has hosted "First Coast Connect" on weekday mornings for over a decade and co-hosted the statewide "Florida Roundup" for the past five. She joins the City Hall team as director of strategic initiatives and press liaison.

"She has been a television anchor, reporter and executive producer, and as many of you know, so much more on so many important topics in our community," Deegan said in announcing Ross' appointment. "So excited to welcome Melissa to our team here at City Hall. And yes, that means you'll have to get used to somebody new for your morning radio."

David McGowan, president and CEO of WJCT Public Media, said interim hosts will be at the helm of "First Coast Connect" during a search for Ross' permanent replacement.

"Melissa Ross has served in a vital role for WJCT Public Media and its audiences since she joined our team 14 years ago," McGowan said. "During that tenure, 'First Coast Connect' has emerged as our region’s most important conversation, facilitating the dialogue between this community’s leaders in all fields and its citizens. ...

"We have a deep appreciation for all she has done for Northeast Florida and for WJCT Public Media, and we wish her all the best in this next chapter," McGowan said. "'First Coast Connect' has always been, and will continue to be, a trusted source of information and civil discourse for all manner of topics. We remain grateful for the community’s participation and support, and for the opportunity to serve the public interest through this unique program."

Ross said she is "really excited and honored" to join the administration of Jacksonville's first female mayor after years as a broadcast journalist covering this city.

Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago and Orlando, as well as at First Coast News in Jacksonville.

Among her many accolades are four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting and several national awards for public affairs hosting. While on staff at WJCT, she also completed a fellowship with the Metcalf Institute, where she learned hands-on about the science of climate change.
Copyright 2023 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

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