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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

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. 


summer reading
Pixabay

By Robin Sussingham and Stephanie Colombini

Summer can be a great time to catch up on reading, so this week Florida Matters is offering up recommendations for good books to check out this season.


 Food writer Laura Reiley, right, with Robin Sussingham.
Dalia Colón

By Robin Sussingham

Customized burgers based on facial recognition and robots behind the counter at your favorite doughnut shop? It sounds like the premise of a sci-fi movie, but the future of food is stranger than fiction.

USF President Judy Genshaft stands in front of a fountain on the Tampa campus.
USF Marketing and Communications

With University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft’s July 1 retirement approaching, this week's Florida Matters looks back at her 19 years leading USF.

Host Robin Sussingham talks to Assistant News Directors Steve Newborn and Mark Schreiner, who have covered Genshaft since both arrived at WUSF in 2001, shortly after Genshaft became USF's sixth president.


peanut pie
Andrew Thomas Lee

Subscribe to The Zest podcast! This week, we’re living the sweet life. We visit with the Junior League of Tampa to test out a peach cobbler recipe from The Gasparilla Cookbook. We chat with the authors of The New Pie about ideas for updating the classic dessert. And edible cookie dough arrives in Tampa!


Dough Nation
courtesy Dough Nation

Dough Nation is a cafe in downtown Tampa that specializes in edible cookie dough. It's owned and operated by Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit organization that helps poor and homeless families in Tampa Bay, and the proceeds from cookie dough sales help fund its mission. Dough Nation is also a culinary job training program for some of the people that are served by Metropolitan Ministries. For WUSF's The Zest podcast, producer Dalia Colón spoke with Dough Nation Chef Cliff Barsi about the popularity of social enterprise restaurants, and the safe consumption of cookie dough.

Orange You Glad It's Summer cocktail
Kelly Prieto

Bourbon is having a moment. Not only does the spirit pair well with summer barbecue, but a bottle of the good stuff makes a great gift idea. 


Podcast microphone.
Tumisu/Pixabay

Whether you’re interested in politics, music, crime, technology or just about anything, there is likely a podcast for you. But while millions of people enjoy listening to podcasts every day, others still don’t understand this relatively new form of media.

This week on Florida Matters: Podcasting 101.


Mosquitos are just one of the types of insects out in full force in Florida this season.
CDC

Lovebugs, termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches – there is no doubt that Florida is home to many insects, and they seem to thrive in the state's hot, humid conditions.

You can’t avoid them, so this week on Florida Matters we’re talking about how to deal with them.


Wild Boars At Shogun Farms
Courtesy Shogun Farms

Ed Chiles is the son of the late Governor Lawton Chiles. He’s also the owner of several seafood restaurants: the Sandbar on Anna Maria Island, the Beach House in Bradenton Beach and Mar Vista Dockside on Longboat Key.

Chiles's interest in local and sustainable food sourcing has led him to experiment with cooking one of the state's invasive species -- wild hogs. On The Zest Podcast, host Robin Sussingham spoke to him about some of the ways his restaurants' chefs have been utilizing wild boars from Shogun Farms.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about how the environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico shaped human life over the years with Jack E. Davis, whose book The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History.


Citrus greening shrinks the size of oranges.
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Citrus has shaped the state’s identity for 100 years. But it has been a tough ten years with freezes, hurricanes, development pressure and, worst of all, citrus greening.

This week on Florida Matters we take a deep dive into the state of Florida’s citrus industry.


A dying citrus grove in Lake Alfred
Robin Sussingham / WUSF

When Adam Putnam announced his candidacy for Governor of the state of Florida last year, he stood on the steps of the stately old Polk County courthouse in Bartow in front of a cheering crowd , with the American flag waving, the state song playing -- and crates of oranges lining the stage.


Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, right, with Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham
Lesley Laney / WUSF Public Media

Jane Castor is in her first weeks as the new mayor of Tampa. Her position as the first gay mayor in the Southeastern U.S. didn't come up much during the campaign, but she made national news the day after her victory. 

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are returning home after two months of hashing out bills - some of which could soon become law. Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talks with Janelle Irwin, a reporter with Florida Politics, and Steve Bousquet, a columnist with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel.

Construction in downtown Tampa
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about zoning and how it affects the way our state manages growth.

It may sound mundane, but zoning and building regulations affect us intimately because they hit us where we live.


Florida Matters hosted a taping in front of a live audience during the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs. The topic: Tampa Bay as an international dining destination.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

These are exciting times for eating out in Tampa Bay. Our cuisine is getting better and more varied and starting to draw national attention.

  

The invasive tegu lizards are known to eat the eggs of some of Florida's native wildlife. Recently scientists discovered gopher tortoises, a Threatened species, in some tegu stomachs.
Mike Avery / USDA Wildlife Services

Florida is home to more than 500 invasive species. Not all of these plants and animals are big and scary like pythons, but they can still harm the state’s native wildlife, and a lot of time and money is spent fighting them.

This week Florida Matters speaks with scientists on the front lines of this battle about how we’re doing.


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