Melissa Ross on joining the mayor’s team: ‘It’s a new chapter … a new opportunity’

Published on June 14, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Melissa Ross, the longtime host of WJCT’s popular First Coast Connect morning show, is joining the executive team of Mayor-elect Donna Deegan — a move Ross called “a new chapter … a new opportunity.”

“Leaving a job that you love to start something new is always a big transition,” Ross said after Deegan announced her team Wednesday morning. “But WJCT holds an incredible, special place in my heart. And it always will.”

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Ross has hosted First Coast Connect on weekday mornings and co-hosted Florida Public Radio’s weekly Florida Roundup, She joins the City Hall team as director of strategic initiatives and press liaison.

“She has been a television anchor, reporter and executive producer, and as many of you know, so much more on so many important topics in our community,” Deegan said in announcing Ross’ appointment. “So excited to welcome Melissa to our team here at City Hall. And yes, that means you’ll have to get used to somebody new for your morning radio.”

David McGowan, president and CEO of WJCT Public Media, said interim hosts will moderate First Coast Connect during a search for Ross’ replacement.

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“Melissa Ross has served in a vital role for WJCT Public Media and its audiences since she joined our team 14 years ago,” McGowan said. “During that tenure, First Coast Connect has emerged as our region’s most important conversation, facilitating the dialogue between this community’s leaders in all fields and its citizens. …

“We have a deep appreciation for all she has done for Northeast Florida and for WJCT Public Media, and we wish her all the best in this next chapter,” McGowan said. “First Coast Connect has always been, and will continue to be, a trusted source of information and civil discourse for all manner of topics. We remain grateful for the community’s participation and support, and for the opportunity to serve the public interest through this unique program.”

Ross said she is “really excited and honored” to join the administration of Jacksonville’s first female mayor after years as a broadcast journalist covering this city.

Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago and Orlando, as well as First Coast News in Jacksonville.

She has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Her many accolades include a fellowship with the Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop, where she learned hands-on about the science of climate change.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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