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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

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.


Jane Castor, left, and David Straz are running to become mayor of Tampa.
Campaign photos

Voters in Florida's third-largest city will go to the polls April 23 in the runoff for Tampa's mayor.

During the March election, former Police Chief Jane Castor almost got the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff. And retired banker and philanthropist David Straz came in second of the field of seven candidates, with around 16 percent of the vote.

Cover of Rick Bragg's "The Best Cook In The World"
Courtesy Penguin Random House

Best-selling author Rick Bragg has written another memoir about his family, and growing up poor in the hardscrabble back country of Alabama. This time, though, he tells it through stories of food -- and the importance of a good meal in lives full of backbreaking labor and few pleasures. His book, "The Best Cook In The World: Tales from My Momma's Southern Table " is also a loving tribute to his mother, Margaret. 

Florida’s legislative session has been underway for almost a month and there have already been some big changes.

We talk with reporters about key issues lawmakers are considering and how their actions could affect our lives on this week’s Florida Matters.


Pixabay

Historians and local old-timers say that once, Tampa Bay was overflowing with delicious oysters.

And that some rivers, like the Manatee River, were once so full of mullet that they roiled the water and their noise would keep nearby residents awake at night.

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
WUSF Public Media

Tourism is a vital industry for our state, and Florida Matters is taking a look at how businesses fared in the wake of red tide, what's new with our theme parks, and where tourism is heading after another record-breaking year.


DeSantis To Lawmakers: Be Bold On Big Issues

Mar 5, 2019
The Florida Channel

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an anti-tax, pro-environment State of the State address Tuesday, asking lawmakers to be bold as they tackle issues like education, school safety and health care.

Tampa Bay History Center

A new exhibit opening this weekend highlights the colorful history of beer in Tampa Bay.

Cigar maker Vicente Martinez Ybor founded Florida's first commercial beer brewery, The Florida Brewing Company, in Tampa in 1897 at the site of an ancient springs. Artifacts from that brewery will be among the items on display at the Tampa Bay History Center at an exhibition called "History By the Pint," which explores the story of beer and brewing in Tampa Bay.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of calls placed to the national human trafficking hotline.

The charges filed against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft last week for soliciting prostitution in Jupiter have again put a spotlight on sex trafficking in our state.

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.


Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

The Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City starts Feb. 28. With the festival just a couple of weeks away, Florida Matters is taking another listen to stories from our 2018 special series "Telling Tampa Bay Stories: Plant City."

You’re invited to be part of a live audience at an upcoming Florida Matters taping on Wednesday February 13 at 9 AM.

Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

In 2017, our series, "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," took us to Tampa's Progress Village. In 2018, the focus turned to Plant City -- a Hillsborough County community where agriculture and development, history and progress all meet.


State Library & Archives of Florida

The annual Gasparilla celebration is one of Tampa Bay’s biggest social events, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people to dress up as pirates and eat, drink and be merry.

Though people dressing up in costumes and “invading” the city may seem like silly fun, the tradition has also played an important role in Tampa’s high society.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s new governor Ron DeSantis has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the state.

This week on Florida Matters we take a look at some of his actions so far and talk with journalists about other political happenings like the upcoming mayoral race in Tampa.


Look up "keto cookbooks" and you find a plethora of options: Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking, Southern Keto, Ketogenic Cleanse, Keto Comfort Foods… it’s fair to say this is a diet craze. But does it really work?

Dieting comes up a lot this time of year as people set new year resolutions to lose weight. One diet that's become very popular recently is the ketogenic diet -- or keto.

We talk about the diet and how it can affect your health on this week's Florida Matters.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is making its way through its list of 57 of the state’s imperiled species, issuing voluntary guidelines to help landowners and other interested parties with the animals’ conservation.

The agency recently approved guidelines for another nine species. The animals that the agency hopes will benefit from the guidelines include a frog found mainly at Eglin Air Force Base; a tiny fish that in Florida is found only in the Escambia River; and more recognizable species like the roseate spoonbill and the little blue heron.

Visit Central Florida

Lakeland’s historic downtown has seen a surge of new restaurants, with six opening in the last year alone.

There’s now dining or bar seating for an additional 1,500 customers in the area bordering Munn Park. That density of restaurants, with a variety of options, is good for business, said Julie Townsend, executive director of Lakeland Downtown Development Authority.

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