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Welcome to Florida

Author: Chadd Scott

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Best selling author, award winning reporter and Florida native Craig Pittman is joined by radio personality and Florida transplant Chadd Scott to discuss the state's history, people, politics, environment, animals, current events and weirdness. You'll hear great storytelling and have great fun in each weekly episode.
60 Episodes
This week's episode begins with a tale of governmental treachery - at the behest of developers - from Santa Rosa County. Our guest is Helen Hartley, the former business reporter at the St. Petersburg Times. She uncovered a massive insurance and investment scam orchestrated by Lou Pearlman in the mid-2000s. Pearlman was the driving force behind the development of boy bands Backstreet Boys and NSYNC which, for a brief period, turned Orlando into one of the music industry's hotbeds.
This week's episode begins with Craig's latest article for the Washington Post looking at the history of Seminole oversight of gaming in Florida. With a new gambling compact agreed to between the tribe and the state, the Seminole are expect to reap an even greater financial windfall due to the introduction of sports gambling in Florida.Our guest this week is Florida author Bob Kealing. Bob wrote a book all about one of Florida's most underappreciated entrepreneurs, Brownie Wise, who in the 1950s helped the Tupperware company build an empire by staging in-home Tupperware sales parties. Tupperware moved its corporate headquarters to the Orlando area in the 1950s and continues to be located there today. The book is titled, "Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire."
Turkey hunting, off road vehicles and drones in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge? Maybe.This week's guest, Carlton Ward Jr., has been instrumental in casting a vision for the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The Florida Wildlife Corridor imagines a contiguous linkage of undeveloped land from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp. As a nature photographer, Carlton helped promote the idea by traversing the entire route and sharing his stories with politicians and in the media. In late June 2021, as a result of his efforts and those of many others, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act was signed into law.Follow Carlton on line at and Learn more about the Florida Wildlife Corridor at Find him on Twitter and Instagram at @carltonward.
Episode 55: Seashells!

Episode 55: Seashells!


This week's episode begins with Craig Pittman and his wife encountering red tide near their home in St. Petersburg.Our guest is Cynthia Barnett, author of the newly published book, "The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans." Cynthia has written numerous books about Florida's freshwater, but dives into the salt for the first time here. She is also an environmental journalism professor at the University of Florida living in Gainesville. 
This week's episode begins with Craig's investigation of the MURDER of a Florida river.Our guest for this episode is Punta Gorda native Jason Vuic, author of the recently released book, "Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream." Jason tells a Florida origin story of sorts about how land speculation, unethical developers and lack of regulation wrought upon the state the numerous environmental disasters we're currently facing. Why is Florida so screwed up? This book has A LOT of the answers. Find it at your local bookstore or anywhere online.
This episode marks the one year anniversary of the "Welcome to Florida" podcast. Craig Pittman and Chadd Scott look back at the first 52 episodes, highlighting some of the most memorable. All previous episodes, and the "Preview" episode which explains how "Welcome to Florida" came to be can be found in the archives.This week's guest is Miccosukee tribal elder Betty Osceola. Osceola works as an environmental advocate on behalf of her tribe and the Everglades and owns Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours in the Glades. You can find Betty Osceola on Facebook as well as her Walk For Mother Earth project.This week's episode is sponsored by Eco-Pathways. Eco-Pathways is a Florida company working with property owners building better dune walkovers, beach boardwalks, docks, piers and other water access. Eco-Pathways' engineered product has a 50+ year guarantee, won't fade or crack like wood, requires almost no maintenance, is easy to install and isn't full of chemicals like pressure-treated lumber.
Episode 52: Red Tide

Episode 52: Red Tide


This week's episode begins with good news for conservationists in Florida from a most unlikely place: the Florida state legislature.Craig also updates on a scary development regarding Florida's coral reef.Our guest this week is Dr. Cynthia Heil, Director of the Red Tide Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.In the episode, Heil mentions resources available for Florida residents and tourists regarding the health of our beaches (updated twice daily with current beach conditions) (current sample/cell concentrations of Karenia)ore info on the Mote Marine website:
This week's episode begins with Craig throwing his hat in the ring for a new job! Don't worry about him leaving the podcast, the chances of him landing this job are low.Our guest is Calvin Branche, a leading historian on Florida author John D. MacDonald whose 21 Travis McGee novels captivated readers for decades. His novels have been turned into successful movies including "A Flash of Green" and "Cape Fear." MacDonald is also likely America's first environmental novelist, incorporating conservation themes into his work as far back as the 1960s."Welcome to Florida" is presented by Eco-Pathways, a Florida company which has developed a long-lasting, environmentally friendly, engineered material to replace wood and pressurized lumber in dune walkovers, boardwalks, docks and piers. Learn more at 
This week's episode begins by discussing a puzzling decision by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to recommend opening a fishing season on goliath grouper.Our guest is Jono Miller, author of "The Palmetto Book: Histories and Mysteries of the Cabbage Palm." The Cabbage Palm is Florida's state tree and essential to understanding its history. What makes this tree unique? How has it influenced Florida history? What does it have to do with Elvis and gangsters? We get the lowdown from Jono who you can find online, here.At the end of the episode, Craig mentioned the Gizella Kopsick Arboretum in St. Petersburg which has examples of every palm species growing on Earth. You can learn more about them here.This week's episode is presented by, a Florida company that has developed an engineered material for use in dune walkovers, boardwalks, docks and piers that will stand up to our harsh conditions for decades longer than plain wood or pressurized lumber. Eco-Pathways modular design makes it easy to install and the engineered material doesn't splinter or fade like wood, there are no rusty nails sticking up like wood has, and it doesn't contain the toxic chemicals of pressurized lumber.
This week's episode features Buck Island Ranch manager Gene Lollis. Buck Island Ranch is unlike any cattle ranch you've heard of. Buck Island Ranch is working in part to protect the environment and wildlife.Take a look for yourself.Ranching and agriculture are both major causes of and solutions for climate change, biodiversity collapse, clean water and clean air. If you'd like to learn more about this connection, regenerative agriculture and our national food production system, listen to "The Doctor's Farmacy Podcast" with Dr. Mark Hyman. Want to buy more sustainably and ethically raised beef? Look into the Audubon Society's conservation ranching and certified beef program.This episode is again brought to you by Eco-Pathways. Eco-Pathways creates dune and beach walkovers, boardwalks, docks and piers that are longer lasting than pressurized lumber, require a fraction of the maintenance and don't contain any of the many toxic chemicals pressurized wood does. Learn more at 
This week's episode begins with Craig's latest "Washington Post" article where he writes about Miami making history in hiring the nation's first Chief Heat Officer.Our guests are Susan Fernandez and Bob Ingalls, authors of "Sunshine in the Dark: Florida in the Movies." We'll trace Florida's history in film from the silent area when Jacksonville was Hollywood, all the way through 2016's "Moonlight" which won the Academy Award for best picture.We'd like to welcome Eco-Pathways as our latest sponsor. Eco-Pathways is a Florida company that designs and constructs beach walkovers, boardwalks, trail bridges, docks and piers out of a proprietary engineered material which lasts longer and requires none of the maintenance of wood while not containing any of the chemicals found in pressurized lumber. Visit to learn more.
This week's episode begins with Craig's concerns Florida could be facing another "Summer of Slime" due to blue green algae and red tide (cow tide) outbreaks. We also talk about corruption in the state legislature and the death - mostly - of M-CORES (Roads to Ruin).Our guest is author Mike Grunwald who wrote "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise." Our conversation focuses on the worst idea ever in Florida: the Everglades Jetport.If these topics interest you, be sure to listen to back episodes on the Floridan Aquifer, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Everglades and Big Sugar.To order a signed copy of "Cat Tale" in paperback from Tombolo Books in St. Pete, go here."Welcome to Florida" thanks Hipcamp for its ongoing support. Hipcamp is a growing community of outdoor enthusiasts looking for authentic connections to Florida's natural environment. That's where you come in. If you own property anywhere around Florida that connects people to nature, Hipcamp would like to hear from you about paying you to open your property to Hipcamp members for camping, glamping and RV stays. You don't need much land and Hipcamp handles all the details. Visit for more details.Amelia Island would like "Welcome to Florida" listeners to consider visiting for your next long weekend or family vacation. From the natural beauty of our beaches, dunes, salt marsh and maritime hammock, to Civil Rights and Civil War history, and the magnificent Victorian Downtown, Amelia Island makes for a perfect Florida getaway mixing small town charm with Southern Hospitality and Florida beach life. Visit to see more.
This week's episode started with BIG news from the Everglades and a look at a VERY important Florida woman whose job it will be to protect the state's environment. Our guest is author Ann McCutchan who has written a new biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Florida transplant and author of "The Yearling." The book is titled "The Life She Wished to Lead" and details Rawlings' time spent in Cross Creek, Florida.This week's show also mentioned Bok Tower Gardens conservation efforts, Craig's book "The Scent of Scandal," and Marie Selby Gardens."Welcome to Florida" is presented by Amelia Island. Learn more about the four state parks in the Amelia Island area and the world class outdoor recreation, dune system, tree canopy, the boutiques along Centre Street, bed and breakfasts, Southern cuisine and why Amelia Island is the perfect destination for your next long weekend or family vacation by visiting And by Hipcamp. Hipcamp is a growing community of respectful people looking to get outside for camping, glamping and RV stays on private land. Anyone with a property that helps people connect with nature can be a Hipamp host. Learn more by visiting 
Episode 44: Key West

Episode 44: Key West


This week's episode begins with discussion of Craig's latest Florida Phoenix column and the "solution" for what to do with all of the toxic waste from the Piney Point phosphorus plant.Our guest is Nancy Klingener, Florida Keys reporter for WLRN - South Florida's Public Radio - and a 30 year Key West resident. We dig into the history, culture and weirdness that is Key West with stops along the way talking about Conchs, Earnest Hemmingway, Bum Farto, Jimmy Buffett, cats, chickens and Fantasy Fest.Consider Amelia Island for your next long weekend or family vacation. The picturesque barrier island in the northeast corner of Florida with the state's best protected natural dune system, miles of uncrowded beaches and a historic Victorian downtown welcomes you for beachcombing, fishing, camping at Fort Clinch State Park (one of four state parks in the area), birdwatching, Southern food and hospitality and relaxation from the mania often associated with Florida vacations. Learn more at owners across Florida are earning up to $1,000 a month listing their spots with Hipcamp. Hipcamp is a growing community of members looking to enjoy outdoor experiences and Hipcamp wants to help connect them to those experiences, but they need property owners willing to share their places. If you own land - even a little - anywhere in Florida that helps people connect with nature, Hipcamp wants to hear from you. Visit to get started.
This week's episode begins with Craig's ongoing reporting of the environmental disaster at the Piney Point phosphate plant where hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic wastewater has been diverted into the Tampa Bay estuary to avoid a collapse of the gypsum stack there. Craig has reported on this coming apocalypse for decades, highlighting how the Florida Department of Environmental "Protection's" history of favoring industry over the environment and its lack of serious regulation put us here.This week's guest is Florida's state climatologist David Zierden. We talk about our state's climate, how it's changing, what can be done to protect the state from climate change, hurricanes and... machetes? "Welcome to Florida" welcomes our newest sponsor, Amelia Island! Located in the very northeast corner of the state, Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach is a nature lover's paradise with miles of beaches, four easily accessible state parks, the state's best protected natural dune system and an extraordinary tree canopy of Live Oaks. Amelia Island makes for the perfect destination for you next family vacation. Learn more at "Welcome to Florida" is also sponsored by Hipcamp, the growing community of respectful people looking to get outside for camping, glamping and RV stays on private land. Anyone with a property that helps people connect with nature can be a Hipcamp host. Learn more by visiting 
This week's episode begins with Craig Pittman's latest Florida Phoenix column highlighting the disastrous environmental impacts of the widely used herbicide/poison glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. Our guest is author, veterinarian and professor Mark Jerome Walters whose latest book, "Florida Scrub-Jay: Field Notes on a Vanishing Bird" was released in March of 2021. Mark has also authored "Six Modern Plagues and How We Are Causing Them" and "A Shadow and a Song: The Struggle to Save an Endangered Species," both of which are referenced in the episode.For more information about the effort to save birds in Florida and what you can do to help, visit Audubon Florida."Welcome to Florida" is presented by Hipcamp. Consider Hipcamp Airbnb for campers. If you have a piece of land in Florida that would be good for pitching a tent or parking an RV, then Hipcamp wants to hear from you. They take care of all the details, you collect side income. Learn more by visiting you or your business would like to sponsor "Welcome to Florida," email Craig and Chadd Scott at
This week's episode begins with more "bigfooting" by the state legislature, once again in the pocket of developers, attempting to curtail the amount of impact fees local municipalities have accessed homebuilders in order for them to build the infrastructure necessary for all the new residents. Craig Pittman and Chadd Scott are joined this week by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. The married couple live in Tallahassee. Jeff is the best selling author of the Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance). His new book is a thriller, "Hummingbird Salamander." In a wide ranging conversation, we discuss:St. Marks National Wildlife RefugeVanderMeer Creative and the couple's philanthropic effortsHow to rewild your yardFlorida Native PlantsKeep Tallahassee Wild Facebook PageJeff's virtual book tour for "Hummingbird Salamander"Follow Jeff and Ann on Twitter."Welcome to Florida" is presented by Hipcamp. Start using your property in Florida to generate side income by listing it on Hipcamp. Hipcamp members around the nation want to visit Florida and Hipcamp needs more properties to welcome more guests. Hipcamp takes care of all the details. Contact them today at
Episode 40: Dr. Beach

Episode 40: Dr. Beach


This week's episode begins with a look at why Florida's manatees are dying this winter at a rate which threatens the survival of the species. Craig Pittman's latest column for the Florida Phoenix digs in deep on the reasons, which are preventable.Craig's 2010 book "Manatee Insanity" goes even further in detailing the decades-long conservation effort in Florida to protect manatees, as well as calling out the people working against manatee protection.Our guest is Stephen Leatherman who you probably know as Dr. Beach. Each year he compiles a list of the 10 Best Beaches in the U.S. which leads to a tremendous amount of pride for those named, jealousy for those not named, and arguments among everyone."Welcome to Florida" is presented by HipCamp. If you are a landowner in Florida with a flat spot large enough to pitch a tent or park an RV, HipCamp needs you to help host its growing community of nature-lovers looking to find quiet spots across the state. You can begin earning side income adding your property to the HipCamp portfolio and HipCamp will take care of all the details, including insurance. Learn more and start earning money today at  If your business would like to help sponsor "Welcome to Florida," reach out to Craig and Chadd Scott at
This week's episode starts with Craig Pittman sharing some of his favorite Florida Women from the state's history in recognition of Women's History Month. Follow Craig on Twitter and Facebook @CraigTimes and on Instagram @CraigPittman78 for more.Our guest this week is Amy Green, author of "Moving Water: The Everglades and Big Sugar." Amy's book, which published in March of 2021, takes a look at Big Sugar's influence on Everglades pollution and degradation, as well as Big Sugar's influence on Florida and national politics and efforts to repair the Everglades.If this topic interests, you, Craig suggests further reading of Michael Grunwald's "The Swamp," and, of course, Marjory Stoneman Douglas,' "Everglades: River of Grass."To keep up to date with conservation efforts for the Everglades, visit the Everglades Trust and the Friends of the Everglades. Florida Conservation Voters works to hold state politicians accountable for our environment. Additional information about pre-harvest sugar cane field burning can be found here."Welcome to Florida" is presented by Hipcamp. Landowners across Florida are earning up to $1,000 per month by placing their properties on Hipcamp where Hipcamp's growing community of campers, glampers and RVers are renting those properties when they visit Florida to enjoy the state's natural beauty. Hipcamp handles all the details including book and insurance. To learn more, visit If you or your business is interested in sponsoring "Welcome to Florida," send Craig and Chadd Scott an email at
This week's episode begins with an update on the disastrous "Roads to Ruin" M-CORES toll road proposal and efforts in the state legislature to adjust it.Our guest this week is historical reenactor Ersula K Odom who has been portraying Mary McLeod Bethune at events across Florida for many years. Odom's performances see her dress in period appropriate costumes and take on the personality of the famed educator, voting rights advocate, civil rights activist, feminist, stateswoman and humanitarian, Mary McLeod Bethune. To book Odom to perform for your group or event, contact her at this link.This week's episode is presented by Hipcamp. Hipcamp has members across the country looking to visit Florida to experience our natural beauty. That's where you come in. Hipcamp needs landowners in Florida willing to open up their property to welcome visitors to camp, glamp or RV. All you need is a flat spot where someone can pitch a tent or park an RV. Hipcamp takes care of the rest. Reach out today for more information about turning your property into side revenue with Hipcamp at 
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