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Public affairs show ‘Facing Florida’ ends after five-year run

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After 300 hundred episodes and five years on the air, the Sunday morning public affairs program Facing Florida called it quits last month.

Host and producer Mike Vasilinda told Monday that though he loved doing the show and felt it contributed to the political discourse around Tallahassee, the show was taking away too much from his other Capitol news and video production business.

“Every business has limited resources. In our case, Facing Florida was taking away time, energy and resources from rate paying clients, new and old, seeking high quality video production,” said Vasilinda, a longtime statehouse reporter and husband of Democratic Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

“As the volume of high-end production work increased this spring, we were forced to make a choice between providing excellent service to our clients and providing timely, educational information about Florida government to our viewers,” said Vasilinda.

Vasilinda said despite reaching up to 100,000 viewers a week in seven media markets via nine different TV stations, the business end of his Capitol News Service was never able to find the right sales representative to allow Facing Florida to live up its full commercial potential.

A longtime presence at the Capitol whose tenure has spanned 43 legislative sessions and 9 governors, Vasilinda said the move does not mean he is hanging up the microphone.

“Nothing is changing here. I will continue to provide informative, hard hitting news coverage to our network of television stations through the news service I founded in 1975,” said Vasilinda.

“In addition to continuing to report on Florida government and politics, I am exploring other ways to keep Floridians informed on issues of importance to them. Stay tuned. Facing Florida may have moved into the history archives, but the need for an informed population is greater than ever,” Vasilinda concluded in a memo.

Prominent recent guests included Senate President Andy Gardiner, Florida State University President John Thrasher, and Boca Raton Rep. Irv Slosberg,

The show’s final episode, which ran March 27, featured former Florida Democratic Party chief Screven Watson and Pete Dunbar, former Chief of Staff to Gov. Bob Martinez.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at [email protected]

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