Sandra Averhart

Senior Producer/Host

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years.  Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.

For several years, Sandra was co-host of “Inside UWF” on WUWF TV. Also, she has partnered with WSRE TV to serve as co-host of their “Rally” candidate forums, most recently in 2012. Sandra also lends her voice to the University of West Florida athletics program.  She has worked as public address announcer for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and continues to “work the mic” at UWF Volleyball and Softball games. Along the way, she has been P-A announcer for four NCAA Division II national championships, to include two each in volleyball and softball.

In her spare time, Sandra continues to enjoy playing softball. She lives in Milton with her husband Charles and two dogs, Beau and Mollie.

Ways to Connect

Photo courtesy of Michelle Salzman

The next representative of Florida House District 1 will be a female, holding elected office for the first time. Franscine Mathis is the Democratic nominee. The focus today is on the Republican candidate Michelle Salzman.

For Salzman, the General Election has been about keeping the momentum gained by her big Primary Election victory over Republican incumbent Mike Hill.

“I wouldn’t call it an upset. I would certainly call it a victory for Northwest Florida,” proclaimed Salzman after the primary.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The District 1 seat in the Florida House of Representatives will have a new face after the November General Election, and it will be a woman.

The race features Democrat, Franscine C. Mathis, who is making her second consecutive run for the office and Republican, Michelle Salzman, a political newcomer.

In this report, WUWF checked in on the Mathis campaign.

John Aeschbury / Photo courtesy of JUST Pensacola

Juvenile justice has been identified as a primary issue of concern for the new faith-based organization, JUST Pensacola.

The group is now comprised of 24 local congregations that are working for justice in the Pensacola area.

“We are churches of different faith that have come together to address issues within our community,” said Rev. Paul Blackmon, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Ferry Pass and vice president of JUST Pensacola.

Sandra Averhart/WUWF Public Media

Recovery from Hurricane Sally is well underway in Northwest Florida.

But, for some coastal property owners with the most significant damage from water and wind, rebuilding can’t begin until after their insurance claims are settled.

That’s the case for Escambia County District 2 Commissioner Doug Underhill, who lives on Perdido Key.

Kugelman Honors Program

The University of West Florida is offering a free community course titled: “Race and the Community: Past, Present, and Our Future.” The five-week online series will feature a session every Thursday in October, beginning tomorrow at 6 p.m.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Perdido Key and Innerarity Point were among the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sally in southwest Escambia County. The storm made landfall at nearby Gulf Shores, leaving property ravaged by wind and water - due to storm surge and more than 20 inches of rainfall.

Driving through the area, it’s clear that a storm has been here. Vegetation on the barrier island has turned brown from the salt water that washed over, trees are down or leaning due to the sustained wind, and there are blue tarps scattered about.

Holm Elementary

Five days after Hurricane Sally came ashore on the Florida-Alabama Gulf Coast, dumping more than 20 inches of rain, schools in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties reopened today. However, Escambia County schools remain closed until Wednesday.

Monday evening update:

Quinn Evans/Sandra Averhart / Brentwood Elementary School/WUWF Public Media

After a late start due to the pandemic, all public school students in Northwest Florida are back in class, whether in-person or via Remote Learning. To find out what both approaches look like, from the student perspective, I’m checking back with two of my young relatives on their return to school in the Escambia County School District. One is reporting for face-to-face instruction and the other has opted to stay at home.

Choices, Anxiety and Preparation

WUWF is observing the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Our first report explored the decades-long battle for women’s suffrage, culminating with certification of the amendment on August 26, 1920. Today, a focus on the progress of women’s participation in elections, by voting and holding political office themselves.

Library of Congress/National Woman's Party

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It was on this day in 1920 that the measure was certified. In observance of the centennial, WUWF looks at the long road to women’s suffrage.

In an excerpt from the PBS documentary, One Woman, One Vote, narrator, Susan Sarandon describes the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Procession, “Washington had never seen anything like it. Eight-thousand women from all over the country, flooding down Pennsylvania Avenue, demanding the right to vote.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

It's back to school time for students in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The fall semester begins Monday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a later start than usual and things will be a lot different this year.

In advance of this first day back, WUWF visited a local elementary school to check on final preparations for both in-person and at-home learning.

Photos courtesy of Lumon May and LuTimothy May

The Democratic race for Escambia County Commission District 3 is a family affair. Incumbent Lumon May is being challenged by Rev. LuTimothy May, his younger brother.

It’s an awkward situation, but the candidates are forging ahead with their campaigns.

Photos courtesy of Lane Lynchard and Colten Wright

In Santa Rosa County, three seats on the Board of Commissioners are up for grabs. In Districts 1 and 3, the incumbents face multiple challengers.

For the first time in 12 years, voters heading to the polls in the Santa Rosa County will be choosing a new Superintendent of Schools.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Early Voting in the August 18 Primary Election in Santa Rosa County begins Monday, almost a week ahead of neighboring counties, which start Saturday.

With the earlier start, Santa Rosa voters will be the first to head to the polls and the county will be the first to roll out additional measures to ensure voter safety, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.