Media, Community Partners to Host Gubernatorial Debate

Gubernatorial Debate 2014

TAMPA, FL – April 23, 2014 | WEDU-TV, The Tampa Tribune and Genesis Communications have teamed up with community partners to host a Florida gubernatorial debate preceding this November’s general election.

The media coalition will collaborate with the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa and the Rotary Club of Tampa to bring the debate to WEDU’s Tampa studios in the strategically critical I-4 corridor.

“We know the Tampa Bay region will be pivotal in deciding who Florida’s next governor will be,’’ said Tribune Managing Editor Ken Koehn. “That’s why there is no better place to debate the issues than right here in the heart of Tampa.’’

The partnership will offer the debate to PBS and NPR stations throughout the state, and there will be a simulcast on radio stations and web publications owned by Genesis Communications, and an interactive component with the Tribune’s website,

“Florida’s public broadcasting stations have a long history of producing debates featuring candidates for state wide office, and WEDU PBS is proud to continue that tradition as lead producing station for the state’s PBS and NPR stations, bringing this debate to 99 percent of Florida’s citizens,” said Susan Howarth, WEDU’s President and CEO.

The debate will be moderated by veteran political journalist Rob Lorei, who is the managing editor of Florida This Week on WEDU-TV (PBS) and co-founder of WMNF Radio.

In addition to media panelists who will pose questions to the candidates, members of The Tiger Bay Club of Tampa will participate.

Tribune to co-sponsor fall gubernatorial debate

The date for the debate hasn’t yet been set and is being left flexible to coordinate with candidates’ schedules. The media coalition is considering what criteria will be used to determine which candidates will be invited to participate.

None of the major candidates for governor — Democrats Charlie Crist and Nan Rich and incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott — were prepared Wednesday to commit to any debate proposal.

Rich said she’s “absolutely interested in doing it” because the proposal involves “credible, independent organizations that will provide an opportunity for the candidates to talk about their records and help educate the voters.”

Crist spokesman Kevin Cate said by email, “While we need to hammer out the details, Governor Crist’s desire to debate Rick Scott is well known.”

For more on this story visit: William March,

About the Partners

Genesis Communications is a privately held Florida media company, formed in 1988 by entrepreneur Bruce C. Maduri. The company provides News, Talk, Sports, Entertainment information and commentary throughout Florida. It owns and operates AM 820 News, Sports Talk AM 1040 The Team and CNN Español AM 1470 in Tampa Bay. It also owns and operates AM 1190 News, Sports Talk AM 1080 The Team in Orlando and AM 1060 News on the Space Coast. The radio station signals cover over 12 million Floridians. The company also owns and operates Web Publications, and as well as the “Gotta Know”- Florida App available on iTunes and Google Play. For more information, contact Matthew Sardo at 813-281-1040.

WEDU PBS is West Central Florida’s primary PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties through media platforms including on-air programming and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds. Financially supported by the community for more than 55 years, the organization offers a wealth of award-winning inspirational, educational and enlightening content over a variety of media platforms including: television programming, website ( and various social media platforms, monthly member magazine Premiere, educational outreach activities and a myriad of special events. For more information, visit

Tampa Media Group, formed in October 2012, controls information assets that include The Tampa Tribune, Tampa’s hometown newspaper since 1895; The St. Petersburg Tribune; CENTRO Tampa, its Hispanic weekly; more than a dozen regional newspapers in the Tampa Bay area; and, the newspaper’s associated website, which was one of the first local media Internet sites when it launched in 1994. is the number one local news and information website in the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit

The Tiger Bay Club of Tampa is Hillsborough County’s premier non-partisan political club that prides itself in stimulating a vigorous discussion of the issues. Members have a flair for people, a passion for politics, and an interest in current affairs. For more information, visit

The Rotary Club of Tampa is a non-partisan civic/business club with a membership of more than 150. The club’s motto is “Service Above Self,” and its mission is to provide leadership for initiatives that improve the quality of life in Tampa. The Rotary Club of Tampa was founded in 1914 when Park Trammell was Governor of Florida. In the 100 years since then, through the administrations of 24 more governors, the club has maintained an interest in helping to educate voters about candidates for this critical office. For more information, visit