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Florida Matters

Florida Matters tackles tough issues, highlights little-known stories from our part of the world, and provides a greater perspective of what it means to live in the Sunshine State. Join us each week as we journey across the state to explore the issues important to Floridians and cover the challenges facing our community and our state. Listen to the show on WUSF 89.7 Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.  It's also on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 on Mondays at 10 p.m.

Contact Florida Matters at floridamatters@wusf.org

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Gov. Ron DeSantis kicks off the 2019 legislative session Tuesday and will deliver his first State of the State address.

Florida Matters will bring you live coverage of his speech, the Democratic response and analysis.

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."

Jeanette Abrahamson / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications

Florida Matters is revisiting its special two-part series "Telling Tampa Bay Stories: Plant City," in light of the upcoming Florida Strawberry Festival.

Carlton Ward Jr.

Growth is no stranger to Florida. The state is a magnet for snowbirds, immigrants and sun-seekers. But will too much growth crowd out what people come here for to begin with?


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.


Sam Newlon

Plant City is best-known for its annual Strawberry Festival, but there is much more to this Hillsborough community.

For example, some may not know the city is also home to the Bing Rooming House, a National Historic Site that was once a hotel for people of color during segregation. 

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.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
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.

It's 2019. As WUSF prepares to bring you the news you rely on this year, we’re looking back at some of the station's big moments in 2018 through the lens of Florida Matters.


The year 2018 is almost over, and Florida Matters is looking back at the stories that made headlines in our region this year.


Flickr

Alternative kinds of housing like shipping containers and tiny houses are quickly growing in popularity. Could they help relieve some of the pressure from the affordable housing crunch? 


Jeanette Abrahamsen / USF Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications

Last month, the first installment of our series, "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," took us to Plant City, where we heard stories about the history and development of the Hillsborough County community.

This week's Florida Matters highlights some of the places and events that make Plant City special.


Jeanette Abrahamsen

This week on Florida Matters we focus on the places and events that make Plant City special, like the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center.

A film crew at work
Film Tampa Bay

This week on Florida Matters we talk about how the state’s film industry has fared since the loss of a tax incentive program and how it can survive in the future.

Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham recently moderated a community discussion about veteran entrepreneurs with professionals who've been working on training and educating former soldiers on skills they need. 

Not only to integrate back into society, but to take on the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur. The panel took place in front of a live audience at USF St. Petersburg, and we also took some questions from the audience. In this podcast, you'll hear about American Freedom Distillery and from one of its founders, former Green Beret Scott Neil.

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WUSF Public Media

Transitioning out of the military can be tough, but some veterans are finding a new role in civilian life as business owners.


The political stakes in Florida couldn’t get much higher.

On Tuesday, voters will pick a new governor and a U.S. Senator. Congressional and state legislative seats are up for grabs, as well as Attorney General and a slew of local offices. There’s also a long list of constitutional amendments -- on everything from gambling and voting rights to homestead taxes and vaping.

On this week's podcast, Florida Matters Host Robin Sussingham sits down with long time political journalist and analyst William March to talk about the political zeitgeist, whether polls can be trusted, and whether the issue of gun control is working for the Democrats.

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Mary Shedden

This week on Florida Matters we discuss the key races in the upcoming general election and the power wielded by voters in the Interstate 4 corridor.


WUSF Public Media

With voting day only a week away, Florida's midterm election is shaping up to be another nail-biter.

To help you understand how the Tampa Bay area will influence this year's big races, WUSF's Robin Sussingham sat down with political analyst and USF Professor Emerita Susan MacManus. MacManus said the youngest voters - Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z - are likely to decide this election, whether they show up to the ballot box or not. And the I-4 corridor remains a strong predictor for how the rest of the state will vote.

  

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about the film industry in Florida. Florida cancelled its tax credits for film makers in 2016 -- and now industry observers say some big productions are moving to places like Georgia, which are still giving out big financial incentives. But several studies have come out saying state support for the film industry might not be worth the money, including one from Florida's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, which showed a return on investment of just 18 cents per dollar spent by the state.

Flickr

This week on Florida Matters we're talking about how the state's film industry has fared since it ended a tax incentive program in 2016.

In this week's podcast, Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham sits down with Lillian Dunlap, the executive director of Your Real Stories and creator of Story Days in Tampa Bay. The annual storytelling festival has just finished up, and Robin asks Lillian what she hopes listeners will come away with.

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Boyzell Hosey / Tampa Bay Times

Story Days in Tampa Bay recently hosted its fifth annual festival in St. Petersburg. This week on Florida Matters we hear excerpts from a performance  that reflects on Hurricanes Irma and Maria a year after the storms.

Florida Matters is hosting a special panel discussion about veteran entrepreneurs in front of a live audience in St. Petersburg and we want you to join us.

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