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Robin Sussingham

Senior Editor

Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She hosts the weekly current affairs program, Florida Matters, on WUSF and also created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.

Robin has earned multiple awards for reporting on science, health, the environment, culture and education. She’s hosted a daily call-in show in Salt Lake City; reported at a newspaper in north Texas; and covered many national stories for NPR, as well as publications like Newsday, the Times of London, the Tampa Bay Times, epicurious and others. She has an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University and a Masters Degree in Journalism from New York University. 

Robin thinks Florida is the most fascinating place to tell stories – and has reported on things like giant invasive lizards, how to run from an alligator (do not serpentine!), and the best wood for smoking mullet. 

 

Ways to Connect

Mass transit in Tampa Bay's densely populated big cities grabs the headlines. But there's a case to be made that transportation has even more of an impact on people living in rural areas.

Patron boarding bus
HART

With the population in the Tampa Bay area growing so has the traffic. Transportation leaders have proposed many ideas about how to help people get around faster in the region, but residents are waiting on results. 

Sean Sherman
Dana Thompson

Sean Sherman is a Minnesota-based chef on a mission to revitalize Native American cooking and culture. His cookbook,  The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, won the James Beard award for Best American cookbook in 2018.

When Tracey Johnson requested a tour of Florida Bee Farm, she got more than she bargained for.
Tracey in Sunshine City

Put on your beekeeper suit and come see what's involved in maintaining a thriving apiary.


This week on Florida Matters we talk about how some of our region’s airports are changing to make travel more convenient.

Honey bees have captured my attention.

As more local beekeepers began popping up at the farmers market, it seemed that friends and family were becoming obsessed with the hobby - and they weren't alone.

Florida is one of the nation's largest producers of honey and is a hub for beekeeping, both commercially and as a hobby.

In a special reporting collaboration, WUSF News and the Zest Podcast are taking a closer look at honey bees over the next few weeks.

Many well-known local restaurants swear by the sausages they get from the Tambuzzo Sausage Company of Tampa. The butchery recently opened up its new location in West Tampa, alongside the company's cafe, "The Boozy Pig." Owner Andrew Tambuzzo says it's a new chapter in what's been a very old tradition for his family in Ybor City -- that is, making sausage.

LISTEN: To This Week's Episode

When Isabel Laessig's daughter left for college, she told her mom that the thing she'd miss most was their Sunday family dinner together.

Paul Mott (l) and Brad Pupello participated in One Small Step, a project WUSF produced in partnership with StoryCorps. It brings two people of differing political backgrounds together for civil conversation.
Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

Over the next few weeks, WUSF will be sharing stories produced for One Small Step, the latest project from StoryCorps. Each segment features two strangers, with completely different political beliefs, sitting down together and having a conversation. 

pie
Dalia Colon / WUSF

This week on The Zest podcast we’re talking about some real Florida classics. We learn to make the Columbia Restaurant's signature 1905 Salad. Then, we fast-forward to 1961, when the Junior League of Tampa debuted its Gasparilla Cookbook, which included its prize-winning Florida Orange Grove Pie. And, we’ve got a conversation with celebrity chef Lazarus Lynch, who’s spreading the word about his Southern cuisine using a very modern kitchen staple: social media.

"On The Upwind Flying Club" Facebook page
On The Upwind Flying Club / Facebook

Now that Tampa Bay residents are able to let their guard down against Hurricane Dorian, many people are taking a look at what can be done to help the hard-hit Bahamas.

One group of local pilots is quickly mobilizing to gather supplies and plans to fly them to the island.


Genius Desserts
Amazon

Let's talk meats and sweets: August is nearly over, but there’s still time to plan one last end-of-summer blowout bash. This week on The Zest podcast, get grilling guidance from Ray Lampe, a.k.a. Dr. BBQ. And what’s for dessert? Our contributor Janet Keeler offers ideas from the cookbook Genius Desserts. 

Dr. BBQ has a restaurant of the same name in St. Petersburg.
Datz Restaurant Group

With Labor Day weekend just ahead, The Zest podcast got a last-minute barbeque lesson from Dr. BBQ himself, Barbecue Hall-of-Famer Ray Lampe, at his St. Petersburg restaurant.

The Florida Aquarium recently announced they had induced Atlantic coral to spawn in a laboratory for the first time.
Florida Aquarium

Florida's coral reefs are in trouble. Scientists say they've been declining for decades.

But researchers have very recently come up with some exciting results that they say show promise in restoring these beautiful and important marine communities.

Helen Freund
Monica Herndon

This week on WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, we’re talking to some of Tampa Bay’s favorite food personalities.

Helen Freund
Monica Herndon / Tampa Bay Times

Helen Freund is the new food critic for the Tampa Bay Times, arriving from New Orleans where she was the restaurant writer and food critic for an alternative weekly newspaper. Freund also covered criminal justice and the courts for the Times Picayune newspaper before she began writing about food in a city where food and restaurant reporting is a highly competitive beat.

Robert Is Here sign
Scott Keeler

WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, celebrates cuisine and community in the Sunshine State. Here's what's on the menu for this week's episode...

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to prevent sewage spills.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to keep from releasing sewage and other contaminants into our local waterways. Part of the problem comes from aging wastewater and stormwater systems. 


Many people may not realize that wine making in Florida is a billion-dollar industry. There are dozens of wineries across the state employing nearly 100,000 people, and university research departments dedicated to viticulture.

Scott Keeler

Only in South Florida would someone ask, “What’s your favorite mango?” and get a response. Recently, thousands of visitors attended the International Mango Festival in Coral Gables to sample mangoes, listen to lectures and buy trees.

While Chef Edna Lewis may have passed in 2006, her legendary recipes and love affair with all things Southern led us to explore her cookbook.
AMAZON

While Chef Edna Lewis may have passed in 2006, her legendary recipes and love affair with all things Southern led us to explore her cookbook.   She was farm-to-table fresh before that was even a thing. 

The Tampa Bay area is becoming a hub for craft beer both statewide and nationally, with the highest density of breweries in Florida.

This week on Florida Matters, we take another listen to our show about beer.

CBD is now legal in Florida, but not all products are created equal.
Courtesy Second and Seed

CBD is showing up more and more in Florida, from gas stations to grocery stories. It was being sold long before it became legal in the state on July 1. But there is a lot of confusion about whether it’s safe and what is legitimate.

mangoes
Scott Keeler

A tropical fruit expert said it's been a bad year for mangoes in South Florida.

Speaking at this year’s International Mango Festival in Coral Gables, Dr. Noris Ledesma blamed the situation on the weather. She's the tropical fruit curator at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

"It rained almost every week, when we had the blooming,” Ledesma said. “We lost the majority of the crop because of the rainy season."

Mario Sánchez Prada/Flickr Creative Commons

Whether coffee runs through your veins or you can't stand the stuff, you'll be fascinated by the role a simple cup o' joe played during the heyday of Tampa's cigar industry.

The loggerhead turtle is the most common sea turtle found in Florida. Females return to their nesting beach every two or more years.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

By Robin Sussingham, Stephanie Colombini, Steve Newborn and Cathy Carter.

They’ve had to battle shark attacks, pollution, massive beach developments and confusing light sources, but sea turtles are bouncing back.

With nesting season well underway, Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham speaks with experts about how sea turtles are faring and efforts to protect them in our state.


Anne Kearney
Oak & Ola

 

Chef Anne Kearney is a James Beard Award winner, protégé of Emeril Lagasse and the culinary innovator behind one of Tampa’s most talked-about new restaurants, Oak & Ola.  

 LISTEN TO THE ZEST AND SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE!

  

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
NASA

By Robin Sussingham and Stephanie Colombini 

Saturday July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, considered by many to be one of the most significant achievements in U.S. history.

This week on Florida Matters we talk with a filmmaker who produced a documentary about the historic event. 


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