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Florida’s Fourth Estate

WKMG and Graham Media Group

20 episodes

Nov 11, 2020

Florida's Fourth Estate - Orlando Attorney, John Morgan 

It’s the amendment many say will change their lives and finally give them a living wage.

Amendment 2 will raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15 an hour. It will happen in stages so the process will take until 2026 to get to that amount.

While many workers in the service industry are saying it’s about time, others are saying we shouldn’t be so quick to celebrate because it could have dire consequences for businesses. Some say those businesses will have to cut jobs and raise prices on products, leaving the consumer digging deeper into their wallets.

But, the man firmly behind this fight, high profile attorney John Morgan, said the threat of layoffs and price hikes are just scare tactics.

Morgan, who also led the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, also put his name and $6 million of his money behind Amendment 2.

Morgan joined News 6 anchors Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin on this week’s edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate to talk about why he led the fight to get the issue on the ballot.

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Oct 12, 2020

Florida's Fourth Estate - Jim Wahlberg 

If you close your eyes and listen to Jim Wahlberg, his voice sounds very familiar. He has that unmistakable Eastern New England twang that pegs him as a Bostonian from the jump. And yes, he is one of those Wahlbergs, a family most people know from Hollywood, most notably, his famous brother, Mark Wahlberg. But what many don’t know is that this Wahlberg brother was troubled from the time he was a kid and turned to drugs and alcohol at an early age. Jim says he had his first drink when he was 8 years old and it was one hustle after another from there. He hopes by sharing his story in his new book, “The Big Hustle,” people will overcome their shame and get help. Jim joined Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden from his Fort Lauderdale home for this week’s edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate to talk about being in recovery for 32 years now, and what it took to get him there to begin with. Jim says he knows during the pandemic that people with addictions are suffering. He said people who suffer from addiction or mental illness are fragile. “Recovery is connection. It’s love. It’s friendship," he said. "Addiction is the opposite. It’s isolation. It’s loneliness. It’s depression. We’ve been forced into a depressive state.” In a pandemic, when you’re forced to isolate, he says it has done a number on many who turn drugs and alcohol for escape. He encourages those struggling to reach out and not be ashamed to ask for help. At the age of 22, Jim found himself in prison for the second time for breaking into a police officer’s home. Jim says part of what contributed to his childhood problems was that his family was poor. He says his dad worked really hard, got lucky enough to put a down payment on a house in a decent neighborhood, but they were on food stamps. He recalls how he would go to the store and wait for the older cashier’s shift to begin because he wasn’t embarrassed to use the food stamps around him. He did not want his friends to see him in the store. “My dad worked every day of his life,” he explained. “We needed help. We needed assistance.” "As men, we’re sort of taught that we have to be strong, we have to provide and have to be all of those things. But there is more to being a man than all of those things,” he said. “We also have to be loving, kind and pointing people in the right direction.”

If you want to hear how Mother Teresa pointed him in the right direction and how introducing his wife to Jesus earned him some serious brownie points, download the podcast.

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Sep 27, 2020

Florida's Fourth Estate - Gatorland's CEO Mark McHugh 

Gatorland has been around for 71 years and current CEO Mark McHugh says they have never seen anything like what the coronavirus pandemic.

The popular family attraction, which is still family owned, has suffered major setbacks over the years.

It has weathered hurricanes, tornadoes, recessions and even a fire that burned down its main building some 14 years ago. Still, McHugh says the pandemic has outdone all of those major disasters.

But a place that houses thousands of live animals can’t just shut its doors and hope for the best. The attraction closed for two and a half months due to the pandemic.

“We’ve got 2,500 crocodiles and alligators at Gatorland so even if you are closed you still have mouths to feed. You don’t want hangry alligators on your hands, they get really grumpy” he joked.

While nothing could prepare them for the coronavirus, Gatorland was somehow prepared to take care of its 190 employees though it all.

“We were also blessed to be able to continue to pay all 190 of our employees through the pandemic” McHugh said during a recent appearance on the podcast Florida’s Fourth Estate with News 6 anchors Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden.

“Most of them were at home, sheltering in place, taking care of themselves and their families," McHugh said. "We had a small crew in here taking care of the animals but we were fortunate to be able to pay all of our employees through the entire pandemic and get back open with everybody that we had back in March when we had to close so the park was ready to open up and start welcoming guests back.

McHugh credits the local love from Florida residents for getting them through past disasters and this one. He said every time there’s a crisis, it’s the locals who save the day.

And now he wants to assure them when they return to the 110-acre park that they will get all that love back by the great care they’ve taken to keep everything pristine. Each day crews clean the entire place and they have put safety protocols in place to make sure guest can have a great time and stay safe.

It’s a lot of work but McHugh says it’s worth it.

McHugh even gave us his impression of another guy who used to run a local zoo and became a household name for all the wrong reasons. When Matt asked him about the Netflix hit “Tiger King” and its star, Joe Exotic, McHugh wasted no time in saying, “Well I’m no Joe Exotic, I’ll tell you that. That cat is crazy!”


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Sep 17, 2020

Florida's Fourth Estate - Talking Football 

We are talking about football, college, and NFL, with two guys who know the game very well.

Mac Loudermilk is the standout former UCF punter known for his flowing hair both on his head and chin...and his exuberant celebrations on the field.

Michael Coe is a former NFL player. The cornerback has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Indianapolis Colts to name a few.

Both men joined us to talk about the return of pro and college ball.

Of course, one big concern was players returning to the field amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Loudermilk says it’s a challenge to keep the college crowd in line but the one thing players have to remember is they are not on the field for just themselves.

“We had a saying at UCF that was you’re not just playing for yourself or the name on the back of your jersey. You’re playing for the buddy to the left and the buddy to the right of you and that’s what kind of propelled us from that horrible 0-12 season to now the success that we have.”

So far the NFL has seen a lot of success as well. After week one, no teams have reported an outbreak of COVID-19 despite the fact they are not in a bubble like we saw with the NBA.

Michael Coe said with the frequency of testing it’s almost like being in your own bubble.

“The protocols are pretty stringent and you are in your own little bubble so to speak anyway. And the fact of how many times and the frequency which they test guys and like you said the staff. I am pretty sure before the game, after the game on the travel on the plane they are doing the same thing. I think the NFL is going to make it as safe as possible. Obviously nothing is 100 percent proof. I think a lot of the guys watching them play, everybody was just excited to play again.”

Coe also said as a new dad and a guy who has had his share of injuries and surgeries, he definitely doesn’t miss time on the gridiron.

Both Cole and Loudermilk were not fans of the fake crowd noises pumped into the stadiums or the lack of cheering during the college games. To hear more of their take on the return of football

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Aug 20, 2020

Florida's Fourth Estate - Mail-In-Ballots 

Who would have thought mail-in-ballots would be such a hot topic during election season, but here we are. Snail mail is one of the fastest growing controversies in Decision 2020.

President Donald Trump has made it clear he is not a fan of allowing all registered voters access to mail in ballots, otherwise known as universal vote-by-mail.

“It will be the scandal of our times,” he tweeted, saying millions of mail-in-ballots will be printed by foreign countries and others.

The president has also said Florida is the exception when it comes to mail-in-ballots. Trump himself voted by mail because he is registered to vote in Florida. In Florida, a person must required a mail-in ballot.

Trump has said the Sunshine State knows what it’s doing in that department.

But are those ballots really scandalous and could they swing an entire election?

Not so fast, says University of Central Florida History professor Jim Clark. He says voter fraud takes some serious work.

“They keep unbelievable records. People don’t realize that people who vote by mail it’s recorded on line,” he explained. “They can go in and check ... the fact that you voted is recorded.”

“Once you’ve requested a mail in ballot you’re taken off the list and cannot come in and vote so there are safeguards, people are worried about this.”

From mail-in-ballots to who buys stamps these days and an update on Florida’s Primary election, News 6 anchors Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin speak with UCF history professor Jim Clark on this week’s edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate.






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