John Davis

Host, Reporter

John Davis has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition and producer and host for WGCU’s radio talk program Gulf Coast Live! John came to WGCU as an intern in 2007, and is now reporting on a broad spectrum of topics of interest to Southwest Florida.  Prior to joining WGCU, he worked at WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh, PA covering local government and general assignments.John studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. His work has garnered awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and a first place award and “Best in Show” from the Florida Associated Press for his investigative work in 2011.

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The results of Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session, which ended earlier this month, were a mixed bag when it comes to priorities for the state’s environmental advocates.  Governor Rick Scott’s budget priorities prior to the start of session came out strongly in favor of environmental issues, and in the end lawmakers appropriated $100 million for the state’s primary conservation land-buying program, “Florida Forever.”  Although that amount is less than what environmental advocates had been hoping for, it is still an improvement over the zero dollars allocated to the program in 2017.  Meanwhile, a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’,(HB237 /SB462) went down in defeat for another year.  Lawmakers also approved a measure (SB1402/HB7043) that transfers wetland protection authority in the federal Clean Water Act away from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and into the hands of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Proponents say the move clears away unnecessary red tape for development permitting, but opponents worry it will reduce environmental review and protections for the state’s sensitive wetlands.  We’ll get perspective from Audubon Florida’s interim Executive Director Julie Wraithmell and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Environmental Policy Director Nicole Johnson.

Theatre Conspiracy begins productions of George Brant’s one-woman play, “Grounded,” next week at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers.  The play tells the story of a U.S. Air Force Pilot struggling to adjust to her new life after a pregnancy takes her from soaring the cockpit of a fighter jet to a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert hunting terrorists by piloting drones.  The story challenges audiences’ assumptions about war and family.  We hear from the play’s star, actress Katie Pankow and director Bill Taylor.

Shell Game via FLICKR Creative Commons

For the past few months, we've heard about our neighbors to the north struggling with great snowstorms and bone chilling temperatures. It serves as a reminder of just how different our seasons are here in Southwest Florida.  Although we lack what many would identify as typical markers of the changing seasons, News-Press storyteller Amy Bennett Williams notes that here in the subtropics, the flora and fauna provide their own signs of the season.  As she tells us in this week's encore essay, Williams has come to and relish them all; just don't ask her which season is her favorite.

Alliance for the Arts

As WGCU News has been reporting this week, the Florida Legislature’s newly approved budget includes severe cuts to cultural affairs programing. The new nearly $89 billion dollar budget would almost completely defund the Culture Builds grant program from the Division of Cultural Affairs

Fort Myers Film Festival

The 8th annual Fort Myers Film Festival kicks off next week. The five-day festival features independent films in a broad range of genres, including the premiere showing of the rock documentary “Melody Makers,” about the rise and fall of the world’s first influential music publication, and a new documentary about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of its theatrical release later this year.