Robin Sussingham


Robin Sussingham is a reporter/producer and host at WUSF Public Broadcasting.  A native of Lakeland, she frequently reports on events and issues in Polk County.

She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and has an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and online reporting. 

Robin majored in chemistry at Duke, and went to NYU for a Masters Degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting. She's reported on everything from the Olympics to the oil spill, but will jump at a chance to talk about food or books.


6:05 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Wedding Bells Ring for Same-Sex Couples

Couples gather in the courthouse square park before the mass wedding
Credit Robin Sussingham / WUSF News

Tuesday marked the first day in Florida history that same sex couples were able to legally marry. To mark the occasion, Hillsborough County Clerk Pat Frank held a group wedding at a park across the street from the courthouse. Some of the couple had waited decades for this.

The church bells rang out near the Joe Chillura courthouse square. The sun was shining and at noon Pat Frank took the podium in front of 20 or 30 same sex couples - plus a throng of reporters and well-wishers.

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Florida Matters
12:21 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Reececliff's Pies A Lakeland Tradition

Pies on display at Reececliff

Reececliff Family Diner in Lakeland has been turning out its award winning pies since the 1930s, and lots of families rely on them every year for their Thanksgiving dessert. The restaurant has been operating in the Dixieland neighborhood since 1934.

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5:12 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Polk to Vote on Sales Tax for Transit

Debate rages in Polk County over transit referendum
Credit Robin Sussingham

Greenlight Pinellas is not the only mass transportation referendum coming up in the next election.  Polk County is also having its own vote on public transportation -- and it’s own raging debate. The so-called My Ride, My Roads plan will push the sales tax to 8 percent, raising money for road maintenance and greatly expanded bus service in Polk.

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Health News Florida
11:01 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Polk Sheriff Judd, John Morgan Square Off Over Medical Marijuana

Credit Robin Sussingham

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 700 people packed into a high school auditorium in Lakeland Thursday night. They came to see Florida heavyweights John Morgan and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd square off over legalizing medical marijuana.

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4:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Q&A with Florida Polytechnic University President Randy Avent

President Randy Avent of Florida Polytechnic University
Credit Florida Polytechnic University

Saturday, Aug. 16, marks the grand opening for Florida's 12th university. Florida Polytechnic University, in Polk County, will offer a tuition-free STEM education to its inaugural class of about 550 students, who start class on Aug. 25.  President Randy Avent  sat down with WUSF's Robin Sussingham to talk about his vision for the university.

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Florida Matters
2:52 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Nine Years after Hurricanes, Insurance Costs Still High

Here's an impressive stat: six of the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history hit Florida during 2004 and 2005. Insurance companies took a big hit financially  and, as you'd expect, our property insurance coverage got more expensive. But the state saw its last hurricane nine years ago. So why are we still paying such high rates?

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Florida Matters
1:03 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: A Boom in Backyard Ag

Chicks in the incubator
Robin Sussingham

All over Florida, laws are changing to make it easier for suburban homeowners to do a little farming. It's becoming more and more common to have a neighbor who's growing his own organic vegetables, collecting eggs from his own chickens, or even raising bees for their honey.

We will take an in-depth look at the increasing popularity of backyard agriculture this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

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4:40 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Is Help on Tap for Florida's Springs?

Algae clouds part of Rock Springs swimming area
Robin Sussingham WUSF News

A comprehensive bill to protect and restore Florida's natural springs has been moving through the state senate with strong bipartisan support. Support for springs in the Florida House, however, is far less certain. Still, it's the biggest burst of momentum and  public attention concerning these natural wonders in recent memory.

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3:35 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Tegu Invasion Worries Florida Wildlife Biologists

Argentine Black and White Tegu
Credit IFAS

Giant lizards called Argentine black and white tegus are coming out of hibernation right now -- and they're in the Tampa Bay area. Wildlife officials say the invasive species eat everything -- including the eggs and hatchlings of native animals that conservationists are trying hard to protect.

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5:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Citrus Growers to USDA: We Need Help Now

Dr. Mary Palm of the USDA speaks to citrus growers at Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland
Credit Robin Sussingham

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced it was putting $21 million toward saving the citrus industry. They're trying to rescue it from what's widely seen as its biggest threat ever -- a disease called citrus greening.

Today in Lakeland, the USDA official who's coordinating how that money will be spent, Dr. Mary Palm,  spoke to dozens of growers and others that work in citrus. But the growers  stressed that they can't wait for long term solutions, and said that the industry needs immediate help to survive.

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6:52 am
Wed February 19, 2014

New City Magazine Takes Wing in Lakeland

The Lakelander magazine
Credit The Lakelander

You often hear that print media is out -- or going digital.  So when an upmarket, city magazine  with big  production values suddenly appears in a mid-sized town like Lakeland, can it succeed? Publishers of the new magazine, The Lakelander, are banking on it.

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7:27 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Bartow's L.B. Brown Included in New Smithsonian Museum

Clifton Lewis, right, with Bartow Mayor James Clements
Robin Sussingham

A piece of history from Bartow will be included in the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

The museum recently acquired a foundation stone bearing the initials of builder L.B. Brown, a former slave who built scores of homes during Bartow's early years. Museum officials see Brown as an example of the often overlooked contributions to America's growth by pioneering African Americans.

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6:22 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Polk State College Opens New Technology Training Center

Artist's rendering of the Advanced Technology Center
Credit Polk State College

Polk State College held a ribbon-cutting for its new Advanced Technology Center on Thursday at the Clear Springs development east of  Bartow. Built with a $12 million donation from Clear Springs developer Stan Phelps, the center will train industry workers in high skilled technology jobs. The campus was originally envisioned as a $30 million project, but state funding fell through. Polk State College president Eileen Holden spoke to WUSF's Robin Sussingham about the center's current capabilites and Polk State's hopes for future expansion.

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Law & Order
5:33 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Bobby Bowden's Grandson Dies in Crash

Two men, including the grandson of former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, died after their car crashed into a Winter Haven creek early Thursday. One passenger survived.
Credit Polk County Sheriff's Office

Two men -- including the grandson of former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden -- died in a car crash early Thursday morning in Winter Haven. A third man was pulled from the car alive, after being trapped for hours in the vehicle, which was partially submerged in a water-filled ditch.

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2:06 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

The Battle Against Citrus Greening

A greenhouse at the Citrus Research and Education Center
Credit Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam calls citrus greening "as bad a situation as it could possible be for Florida signature crop." That's why the state's citrus farmers have spent more than $60 million of their own money over the last seven years to save their crops. Lake Alfred, in Polk County, is headquarters for intense research efforts to cure citrus greening.

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