Ashley Lopez, 25, has been named a full-time reporter for WGCU FM news. As a general assignment reporter, Lopez will cover the news in Southwest Florida, as well as Florida political stories. “WGCU has a small news staff,” says, Amy Tardif, news director and FM station manager, “all of us are general assignment reporters. But, Ashley brings passion and skill for Florida politics and is a tremendous asset to our news team.”
Prior to joining WGCU, Lopez was a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News and The Florida Independent. Lopez grew up in Miami and attended South Miami High School. She holds a bachelor of art’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She served as an intern for WUNC public radio in Chapel Hill and for Talking Points Memo in New York City.
Lopez has and continues to work as a freelance reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. During the 2012 election, Lopez played a significant role in a statewide project with Florida’s public radio stations and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to provide multi-platform coverage of Florida’s 2012 ballot initiatives.
Lopez says she has found her place in the news reporting landscape. “I want to work for a public radio affiliate for the rest of my career,” she says, adding, “the public interest is the number one priority of NPR.”
Ashley has a passion for storytelling. (In high school she dreamed of becoming a screenwriter.) “There’s nothing like being out on a story! I like reporting,” she explains.
WGCU's new local music radio program on its AAA channel highlightes local singer/songwriters performing their own original works. The musicians are auditioned by Nita Flores from Southwest Florida Music. “We have a wealth of talent in Southwest Florida,” said Flores. “I believe this is a terrific project that allows not only musicians a platform but gives listeners an opportunity to hear some great original music,” she said. Gulf Coast Music will air on 90.1-2 HD and 91.7-2 HD. Gulf Coast Music is also available online at wgcu.org/listen live or with the WGCU Public Radio App that may be downloaded at wgcu.org.
Tune in for Southwest Florida's own:
Gabrielle Macafee Thursday, May 2 at 8pm, Saturday, May 4 at 10pm and Sunday, May 5 at 3pm
Gabrielle Macafee was raised around music. Her dad plays drums, while mom sings and plays piano. She’d tinker around on the piano when she was little but said, “The past couple of years I just realized that I can make music that nobody’s ever sung before or heard, and I thought that was a really cool idea.” She says she draws inspiration for her songs from her experiences. Macafee is also involved in musical theatre and says her dream role would be to play Christine in Phantom of the Opera. Macafee plays guitar and the ukulele. She’s an FGCU voice student who sings at Fort Myer’s Music Walk.
Thanks to everyone who nominated dynamic, trailblazing women who are 'making' Southwest Florida through their contributions to the arts, business, education, politics and through their activism in environmental or social justice issues. More than 200 women were nominated from Aug.-Oct. 1.
Please click here to see who our selection committee decided we will feature in our online video and audio portraits. We'll also be producing radio stories about these exceptional women who have impacted Southwest Florida’s past, present and future by:
Serving as the “first” in their field
Affecting lasting change
Defying social norms
Leaving a legacy
Find out more about the national PBS/AOL initiative that inspired our local effort here -- MAKERS.
If you are one of the 170 million Americans who enjoy public radio, then WGCU invites you to join 170 million Americans.org . Federal funding for public broadcasting is once again being threatened. Let your voice be heard by calling Florida's U.S. Senate delegation. Here's the phone numbers:Sen. Bill Nelson: 202.224.5274 and Sen. Marco Rubio: 202.224.3041.
Every week, my second-grade teacher at Granville Elementary School in Ohio led our class down the narrow, stone stairway to the basement of our ancient schoolhouse to experience magic. The basement was Richie’s domain — Mr. Richards, that is, the jovial old janitor whose grandfatherly nature made him a favorite to us kids. Amidst the clutter of mop buckets and brooms sat the most high-tech audiovisual device in the entire school: a radio. (Hey, it was 1945!)
Playing over the radio each week was a children’s radio drama called “Let’s Pretend.” Unlike the boring news my father listened to, or the endless Cleveland Indian’s games that absorbed by brother, “Let’s Pretend” captivated me and stimulated my imagination. This was my first experience with public radio, and I was hooked.
In the sixth grade, my teacher took our class to Ohio State University for a day-long field trip. We toured a historical museum and the School for the Blind, but the spot that stood out for me was a visit to the WOSU public radio studio. The staff members showed us the production equipment and the broadcast booths. A very funny man who made unbelievable sounds with no special equipment treated us to a demonstration of radio sound effects. His name was Jonathan Winters. Later, we marveled as three actors played a dozen roles in an on-air production of “Let’s Pretend.” What a thrill to go to the source of the broadcasts that had so enthralled me as a second grader.
Years passed, and I was spending a summer painting houses to pay my way through college. I carried my portable radio with me as I worked, tuned to WOSU public radio. The constant stream of classical music kept me focused on my work and entertained at the same time. Live coverage of breaking civil rights news stories would often interrupt the music. I recall vividly — while painting the second story of Professor Huckabee’s house — listening to Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. There I was, a strapping young man, sitting on a porch roof cutting in the window trim, tears welling in my eyes, as I wondered how our society had come to such a place. That summer was the beginning of my social and political awakening and the formation of my core values.
From that point on, no matter where I have lived, I’ve sought out public radio stations that feed my hunger for news, commentary and music. The call letters of these radio stations trace the trajectory of my life, from WOSU in Columbus; to KQED in San Francisco; to WDET in Detroit; and currently WGCU in Southwest Florida (with periodic interludes with WUNC in Chapel Hill and WNYC in New York City).
Thanks, NPR. The ride wouldn’t be nearly as enriching or as fun without you.
David Pendergast, of Naples, is a long-time listener and member of WGCU Public Media.
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