LISTEN LIVE

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

Exterior of Tampa's Union Station
Google Maps

For the first time since the days of Henry Plant in the 19th century, there's no daily train service to Tampa.

Rene Valenzuela
Courtesy photo

Chef Rene Valenzuela brought Mexican cuisine to Tampa Bay by way of the food truck, well before food trucks were trendy.

He’s best known as the founder and former owner of Taco Bus. Rene’s life and career came to a standstill two years ago, when he was burned in a horrific kitchen fire.

Christina Cann
Gulf Coast Sourdough Facebook page

From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. WUSF is giving you a voice to share those experiences.

Today, we meet Christina Cann, owner of the Tampa bakery Gulf Coast Sourdough.

Blueberries
Maja Petric

It’s short-but-sweet blueberry season in Florida. 

“It’s a gamble every year” says Stephen Gran, Hillsborough County Extension Director, as farmers bet on a good growing season plus a profitable market. 

oysters
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF

Welcome to season two of The Zest podcast! We're starting off with a trip to Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve, at the mouth of Tampa Bay, to sample some Florida oysters. WUSF reporter Jessica Meszaros takes a boat ride with Brian Rosseger, owner of Lost Coast Oyster Company, to his floating oyster farm. "There is an agricultural revolution that's happening right now," Rosseger says. "And it's happening in the oceans."


Airmen in face masks
Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck / USAF

Health officials say the most important way to fight the coronavirus is by keeping our distance from others.

But the U.S. military is made up of tight groups, like the crew of a refueling plane or a submarine. To stay operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s had to make some changes.

Robin Sussingham spoke to U.S. Air Force Col. Scott J. Calder, CENTCOM’s Command Surgeon. CENTCOM is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Coronavirus Test Kit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The latest numbers show the state has tested about nine times more people for coronavirus than it did just a week ago. At the same time, the number of positive cases has surged. 

It makes sense that if you test more, you’ll find more coronavirus.  But that’s only a partial explanation for the swift rise in Covid-19 cases.

USF Public Health Professor Jay Wolfson says the lack of testing up until now means that people who didn’t know they were infected could have given the virus – in a worst case -- to a thousand people in a week.

A chef finishes plating a dish.
Nineteen61

Downtown Lakeland restaurant Nineteen61 has earned statewide honors for its upscale, modern take on Spanish cuisine. Now it's staying busy and avoiding layoffs by offering family-style comfort food, home delivery -- and even toilet paper.

Nineteen61’s chef and founder, Marcos Fernandez, said some restaurants are having a harder time adapting to this era of quarantine and isolation. Nineteen61 offers its own delivery service, because Fernandez said he wants the assurance that his employees will follow all the sanitary guidelines. They also offer curbside pickup.

Michelle Stark
The Tampa Bay Times

Michelle Stark, food editor of the Tampa Bay Times, has been writing about how to eat well, even when we're eating emergency supplies.

She gave WUSF’s Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, some tips on what to look for when you’re stocking up for the long haul.

Henry Plant
WIkipedia.com

Historian Canter Brown takes a look at the man who literally put Tampa on the map. He has written a new book, Henry Bradley Plant: Gilded Age Dreams for Florida and the New South." 

Despite not being officially allowed to live in Florida until 1763, Jewish people escaping expulsion and exclusion were among the earliest settlers of the state.

A new comprehensive history – "Jews of Florida: Centuries of Stories" – takes a look at that historic individuals who include politicians, business leaders, artists and Nobel Prize winners.

PIttman holds book
Cameron Pittman

Florida's state animal has never had it very good. The Florida Panther was shot at, run off its hunting grounds and hemmed in by roads and development. It got so bad that by the early 1990s, only a handful remained. The tale of how the panther was led back on the road to recovery has several twists and turns, including a "happy ending" that has taken 20 years to materialize.

The story is told by environmental reporter Craig Pittman in his new book, "Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save The Florida Panther." He talks about the book with WUSF's Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham.

Our nation's democratic elections are being threatened like never before. Florida Matters this week takes a look at how our ballots are being protected - both nationally and around the state. WUSF's Robin Sussingham talks with Brian Corley, supervisor of elections with Pasco County, and Miles Parks, a reporter with National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.

Gasparilla started out at the turn of the 20th century as a sedate little music program. Then, organizers decided to throw in a pirate invasion to spice things up -- and they succeeded: the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is now one of the country’s largest outdoor festivals. Speaking on The Zest podcast, Andrew Huse, an associate librarian at the University of South Florida in special collections, says Gasparilla “is like Mardi Gras without the Catholicism.”  

In this week's Florida Matters, host Robin Sussingham previews the 2020 Florida Legislative session with longtime political journalist William March and Lynn Hatter, news director at WFSU, a Florida Public Media partner station, to preview the upcoming session.

This week on Florida Matters, we sat down with local political reporters to look at the2020 Florida Legislature and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our state.

This week on Florida Matters, we share some of our favorite discussions about plants, animals and environmental challenges facing our state.

It was a year full of politics, historic anniversaries and ever changing industries here in Florida. This week on Florida Matters, we take a look back at a few stories that helped shape our area in 2019.

Holiday traditions take shape in many forms, and this week on Florida Matters, we take a look at some of our WUSF staff's favorite family holiday traditions.  

For Yaniv Cohen, his passion for teaching people about spices all started when his daughter was born nine years ago and he found himself wanting to give her a feeling for the tastes and aromas of his childhood in Israel.

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.


It started 30 years ago. That's when Rex Jensen first got a call to check out some land owned by the Uihlein family just off I-75 near Sarasota.  That is all Jensen needed to see and he knew this land was going to be a success.

This story originally published on Nov. 19, 2019

This week on Florida Matters, we take a look into the development of Lakewood Ranch. 

We bring you a special Thanksgiving program featuring some of our favorite stories about food in the Sunshine State. There is a lot to be thankful for here in the land of citrus, seafood, and Spanish flavor with a splash of southern charm.

The country's first Thanksgiving actually took place in Florida, 56 years before the one in Massachusetts with the Pilgrims. Speaking to Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, historian Rodney Kite-Powell said that Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés held a religious ceremony and feast of Thanksgiving in St. Augustine on Sept. 8th, 1565.

The Zest: 'Bugsgiving' Is A Feast Of Insects

Nov 21, 2019
Lobster with black ants and scorpions
Brooklyn Bugs

Chef Joseph Yoon’s idea of comfort food might not be to everyone’s liking. His Honeycrisp apple slices dolloped with Greek yogurt and drizzled with honey are a promising start. But the roasted grasshoppers and superworms strategically poking up from the tangy yogurt take the experience in another direction.

This program originally aired August 6, 2019

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.

Becky Dineen, Robin Sussingham, Josh Harris
Leslie Laney / WUSF

Josh Harris got his start,  as so many beekeepers do, when a swarm of bees landed in his yard. He decided to keep the hive and learn how to tend to the bees, and then added another hive, and another.

Department of Defense

Vaping lung-related injuries are on the rise, and there are still many unanswered questions as to why.

Sen. Bill Nelson was a three-term Democrat who served in Washington for more than 45 years before losing his seat to Rick Scott in the 2018 mid-term election.

Pages