Hello From Southwest Florida

Hello BBC community…

My name is Mike Kiniry. I’m a producer and the morning host on Southwest Florida Public Radio in Fort Myers, Florida. We’ll be hosting World Have Your Say on January 22nd and 23rd – the end of inauguration week here in the U.S. I’ve been invited to introduce you to our local community in advance of their arrival…

WGCU broadcasts from the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. We’re a relatively small station. Our core radio staff consists of six full time reporters/producers and a couple of part timers. We’re extremely excited to be hosting WHYS. We’ve only carried the show for a few months but it’s quickly become a real favorite among the staff and our listeners.

Southwest Florida is in many ways a microcosm of the United States. Because most of our population growth has happened in the past few decades we’re a relatively ‘young’ community. And because so few people were actually born here we’re in many ways a melting pot within a melting pot.

Also, because of the way we’ve grown our region is pretty much on the leading edge of the economic downturn. Southwest Florida’s economy is based primarily on tourism and growth. Growth has ground to a halt and fewer people are taking vacations. Unemployment in our area is almost exactly the same as in Detroit, Michigan. In November 2007 the median price of an existing home in Fort Myers was 260-thousand dollars…in November of ‘08 it was 106-thousand. Right now one in 59 homes in Fort Myers is in foreclosure.

That being said Southwest Florida is an extremely pleasant place to live (it’s 78 degrees today) with all sorts of things to do, and for the most part there aren’t obvious and drastic signs of the downturn…yet. And this region’s attractiveness gives most people confidence that our local economy will recover. But for now we’re definitely on the front of the big slide…

That’s all for now. I’m excited to be blogging here…if anyone has any questions please feel free.

Mike Kiniry
Southwest Florida Public Radio – WGCU/WMKO

17 Responses to “Hello From Southwest Florida”

  1. January 9, 2009 at 18:15

    So…how do we local people get to see the show, or participate? Can you use Alico Arena or Germain Arena, or is it a small intimate affair.

    thank you.

  2. January 9, 2009 at 23:04

    I am so excited to Have World Have Your Say Here in SW Florida. Yes I agree with Mike Kiniry on the fact that due to our lack of industry and our heavy reliance on growth and tourism here in SW Fl that we have been “feeling” the slowing of the global economy for quite some time. I have been telling anyone who will listen (not many) that we have gotten behind the Change theme and we need to be ready for it. As most see our current state of affairs as negative, I believe that this is when some of the VERY real and pressing problems facing our generation(X), will finaly bubble to the surface and we will have no choice but to face them. Now the real work of how we live our lives, how we waste our energy, and the facts that we rely on as truths, comes to a head and growth begins. I am excited that even through the pain of change at the possiblity of what we can solve and the friut that it will bear for the following generations..

  3. 3 Harold Sasloe
    January 10, 2009 at 01:30


    Just wanted to say hello, and let you know someone was paying attention. It is truly exciting that WHYS is coming to town. I am one of those that has been listening since you started airing the show, and I listen daily. Excellent stuff!

    Harold Sasloe
    Ft. Myers

  4. 4 Roberto
    January 10, 2009 at 10:54

    RE “” Southwest Florida is an extremely pleasant place to live “”

    ———- Most of Florida is extremely pleasant from a geographic perspective.

    Except when the Hurricanes come. Well planned long term sustainable development not the forte of Florida leaders as it’s always the leader in disaster relief as well.

    In my last foray there, day turned into night due to dense smoke from wildfires that couldn’t be immediately contained. Given that Florida provided the training grounds for some of the 9/11 terrorists, was the flashpoint for highly disputed elective results in the past two presidential elections, as well as home to the majority of the Cuban diaspora, is Florida losing it’s reputation as paradise and turning into a paved parking lot of natural disasters and vitriolic political battles?

  5. 5 DENNIS
    January 11, 2009 at 02:26

    Re: WHYS and Mike Kiniry::::

    I have a couple of questions for the parties:

    1) How will the foreclosures of properties in Florida going to affect the market place in the U.S. State of Florida, and the rest of the United States of America

    2)Where is the place of the show?

    3)Will the BBC WHYS and the Southwest Florida Public Radio – WGCU/WMKO going to provide running updates on the days of the shows on the BBC WHYS Blogs…

    4)The economic picture in the Southwest Florida, is there any difference between the part of Florida and the Rest of the U.S.

    ~Dennis Junior~

  6. 6 Gidget
    January 11, 2009 at 15:54

    I didn’t know that WHYS travelled in any way other than in perspective. So imagine my surprise to see that the staff was coming to my backyard. I listen when I can and find the forum ideal to get expert information as well as vented opinions from those perhaps silenced by lack of access to other venues. I won’t be able to listen in, but perhaps since they are here, the WHYS staff can enjoy our fine weather. We are happy to have them.
    And Mr. Kiniry is right, we are an interesting mix here in this corner of Florida – very wealthy, (Naples), struggling farmworkers (Immokalee and LaBelle) and ‘transplants’ from just about every European country. Welcome WHYS!

  7. 7 Phyllis
    January 12, 2009 at 20:55

    Wonderful to know that our favorite show is coming to town. We (My friends and family) listen to you online, XM radio etc.

    My base is Naples, but I spend a lot of time in Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago), Malaysia and Singapore.

    It has been very interesting to observe how differently Mr. Obama’s candidancy and pending presidency is interpreted in these different parts of the world.

    We all seem to see ourselves in him somehow.

    He is black ,he is white, he is mixed, he is an islander, he is a child of south east asia, he is african, he is AMERICAN.

    How does all this inform his analysis of everything?

    One of Mr. Obama’s first trips abroad may be to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. Are we going to get a glimse of his foreign policy ?

    Since your contributers are everywhere, I hope that in additionto the economic issues, the following topics could be touched:
    1.How differently his presidency is viewed around the world
    2. How personally people take his presidency

  8. 8 Dee Ann Kieft
    January 13, 2009 at 00:22

    I’m looking forward to WHYS coming to SW FL. Although the economy is struggling and I was recently laid-off, I’m staying optimistic. I’ve discovered how beautiful it really is not being in a office all-day. SW Florida is a microcosm of may cultures which may surprise some people. Florida is not just Disney, tourism and shopping. Companies move down for the weather and inexpensive labor pool. The cost of living is relatively cheap, especially compared to my 7 years in the UK. We do have a lot of foreclosures, but its a great time for 1st time buyers to get a great deal. We are lucky to have Florida Gulf Coast University and WGCU public radio.
    I’m looking forward to WHYS – so where do I get my tickets? We’ll show the BBC some SW Florida hospitality. There is so much to see and do and the most spectacular weather in America.

    Dee Kieft

  9. 9 Jorge Sanchez
    January 13, 2009 at 12:55

    It is indeed refreshing to listen to WHYS every day that I can as I travel between
    home care patients throughout Collier County. The variety of opinions and chance to discuss issues from different World views is a welcome addition to my day when I am free to listen. In addition to working as a home therapist, I am in the process of educating myself with a professional alliance of individuals that are joining together to help homeowners from foreclosing with a Home Rescue Program and helping others to become home owners if they are eligible to do so. Becoming part of a solution to alleviate the current crisis is of utmost importance to help in relieving distress in our communities. The commentary listed above is absolutely correct that it is a time for first time home buyers to get a great deal.
    Please let me know how I can participate when WHYS comes to SW Florida next week and how to obtain tickets. Welcome to SW Florida!!!

  10. 10 Linda Brown
    January 14, 2009 at 02:59

    I am so very excited that World Have Your Say is coming to Southwest Florida. It certainly is a special event for all of us here as well as for others that will be participating and listening – truly an opportunity to share our views, get a perspective of how we all are doing. I am able able to listen everyday – my radio addiction 🙂 Please advise me how I may participate in this event.

  11. 11 mikekiniry
    January 19, 2009 at 16:17

    Hi there, Mike Kiniry here. Sorry but I’ve been away from work and the Internet for the past 10 days. Anyone interested in attending Friday’s WHYS in our television studio should contact our News Director Amy Tardif at:


    There are a limited number of seats available…but as of Monday the 19th I think there are still at least a few left. I hope this helps… 🙂


  12. January 21, 2009 at 14:39

    Hi Mike,

    I am so happy to see WHYS is coming to Southwest Florida. This is great. As a big fan of the Station and the Show I will definitely see you there.


  13. January 21, 2009 at 14:43

    hello mike,
    the conditions at sw florida is akin to our state kerala wherein lack of industries is a major concern for us but as sw florida we are blessed with seas,rivers ,mountains and valleys and in india our state is known as “gods own country “due to this natural gifts.climate moreorless the same and we are heavily depended on gulf money in fact our economy stands on foreign NRI balance?now we are concentrating on tourism ?but in this recession on economic front moreor less sw florida and we in kerala are in the same boat ?hoping for a sunny future ?
    kannur kerala

  14. January 21, 2009 at 18:26

    Mike and the WHYS Team:
    1)Thanks for the excellent inforrmation about seating for the shows in Southwest Florida….
    2) WHYS enjoy your time in Southwest Florida….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  15. 15 Brian from California
    January 21, 2009 at 21:39

    Think Jorge Sanchez, see comment above, has an interesting viewpoint . Please add him to the schedule.
    Aslo, the reality of foreclosure and the refinancing ripoffs out there need to be explored.

  16. 16 Brian from California
    January 21, 2009 at 21:42

    Also, perhaps the phrase on the Statue of Liberty should be amended to “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor; Your Huddled Masses Yearning to” … make a substantial downpayment ;)!

  17. January 21, 2009 at 23:33

    Hey Mike!!!
    Just wanted to say that I would see you Friday, if I have my schedule right. I emailed WHYS in Nov or Dec and they put me in the books for Friday! Look forward to meeting Ros, you, and the rest of the gang! Guess I’ll finally have to go to that 8am Friday Class!!!!!

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