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Al Letson appointed as interim host of ‘First Coast Connect’

Published on June 29, 2023 at 10:08 am

Longtime radio journalist Al Letson has been appointed as the interim host of “First Coast Connect” on WJCT News 89.9, starting Wednesday.

Melissa Ross, the show’s host since 2009, stepped down from her role to join the administration of incoming Mayor Donna Deegan.

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The announcement marks a homecoming of sorts for Letson, who grew up in Northeast Florida and remains a familiar name and voice on WJCT News 89.9. As the host of “Reveal,” public radio’s first hourlong investigative journalism show, Letson’s reporting is heard on more than 500 public radio stations every week — including WJCT News 89.9, where it airs at 3 p.m. every Saturday.

Letson’s interdisciplinary work as a storyteller spans from radio broadcasting to spoken word, and from screenwriting to graphic novels. His playwriting credits include “The Centre Cannot Hold,” Summer In Sanctuary,” “Chalk,” “Julius X” and “Griot.” He has worked in TV writers rooms for AMC, Apple TV and Hulu. He has also sold and developed shows with AMC, FX, STARZ and EONE.

“It’s great to have Al back on the team here at WJCT Public Media,” David McGowan, WJCT’s President and CEO, said in a news release. “We want to make sure the voice of ‘First Coast Connect’ can carry on the region’s most important conversation every day, with a conversational approachability and strong journalistic instincts. Al is more than qualified on every count. He’s an engaging storyteller, and makes every conversation an invitation for listeners to connect with each other and their community in meaningful ways.”

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Longtime listeners will recall Letson’s work on “State of the Re:Union,” which was syndicated nationally by WJCT Public Media from 2013 through 2015. The show told America’s story from the ground up, traveling the country to tell stories of, by and for many of the individuals and communities that are regularly forgotten by mainstream media. As a journalist, Letson has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including three Peabody Awards and four National Edward R. Murrow Awards.

“I’m so excited to be hosting ‘First Coast Connect,’ and reconnecting with the city,” Letson said in the news release. “It’s an honor to talk to the community I know and love every morning. Storytelling is what I do, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to be a part of Northeast Florida’s story every weekday morning.”

“First Coast Connect” airs live on WJCT News 89.9 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. every Monday through Friday. The show also re-broadcasts at 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., and episode recaps are shared daily at news.wjct.org/firstcoastconnect.

Additionally, the show can be streamed online on the WJCT Public Media app, wjct.org, Alexa and most major audio streaming platforms like iHeartRadio and TuneIn. It is also available as a podcast on all major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

For more information about First Coast Connect, got to news.wjct.org/firstcoastconnect. More updates can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/WJCTFirstCoastConnect) and Twitter (@FCConair).


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