Sandra Averhart

News Director

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

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses an unexpected drop in housing starts in September and what it means for the larger economic landscape. Also, the SBDC released its first Florida Small Business Survey.

Housing starts for September were down 9 percent from August and down 12 percent from September 2015, but Harper said digging deeper into the numbers from the Commerce Department’s monthly report reveals a really mixed bag.

Tre'Von Ware / University of West Florida

The second in a series of community workshops titled “Racial Tension: Cooling the Fires” is set for this Thursday, October 20, in downtown Pensacola. The event will be held at the J. Earle Bowden Building, 120 Church Street, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

The workshops were initiated by the UWF Department of Social Work to focus on systemic racial problems in Escambia County.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a new Pew Research Center that looks at the state of American jobs. He also talked about the ITEN Wired summit, an annual networking and educational conference for tech and knowledge-based industries.

The study, which spans 1980-2015, finds that jobs that require higher levels of skill are growing faster than those that require fewer skills.

For the last three election cycles, PollyVote has successfully projected the winner of the U.S. presidential race.

Sandra Averhart

A federal court has issued an order extending Florida’s voter registration deadline until Wednesday. That gives state residents one extra day to register to vote in the November 8th General Election.

Across the region, election officials have conducted numerous voter registration events in the past few weeks. Two such events on Friday reached out the youngest and oldest members of Escambia County’s electorate.

The first voter outreach was held at University Pines Senior Living Community in Pensacola.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 20th annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium held earlier this week in Panama City.

More than 500 people attended the sold-out event. Harper said the event’s reputation as a world-class symposium has grown along with its attendance.

“It’s really grown in stature around the region,” Harper said. “It’s a great networking event with a lot of great speakers, and I thought this year’s symposium was particularly good.”


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the reasons that the Federal Reserve continues to hold interest rates and what tools they have at their disposal to normalize the economy.


After last week’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would once again hold interest rates, many were left wondering why, particularly when low interest rates hurt those trying to save.


Pensacola Symphony Orchestra

The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra will kick off the 2016-17 season with their Opening Night performance on this Saturday, October 1 at the Saenger Theatre.

This will be the orchestra’s 20th season under the direction of Music Director Peter Rubardt.


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the Federal Reserve once again holding interest rates despite projections that an increase was coming in September.


Most observers had anticipated that the Fed would raise rates by 0.25 percent, and many were caught off guard by their decision.


“The Federal Open Market Committee held firm at the existing low interest rates,” Harper said. “We haven’t had an increase since December 2015.”


Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Last month, Santa Rosa County voters approved a half-cent local option sales tax for infrastructure, but rejected a half-penny tax for construction of a new courthouse in downtown Milton.

The failure of the referendum means the courthouse issue is on hold as county leaders regroup.

When the last of the August 30 Primary ballots were counted the margin of defeat for the proposed courthouse sales tax was just 819 votes.

University of West Florida

It was nearly a year ago that the location of Tristan de Luna’s 1559 Settlement was discovered. Since then, University of West Florida archaeologists have ramped up their research of the Spanish colony that was doomed by a hurricane that struck on this day, September 19, 457 years ago.

During the past year, there’s been a lot of activity at the site, including the 2016 UWF Archaeology Summer Field School.  


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the new Census Bureau report on the economic progress of American families released by the White House this week.


Among the findings in the report was the fact that household income grew at the fastest rate on record in 2015.


“It was a great report,” Harper said. “We’ve been tracking statistics on median household income adjusted for inflation. Economists call that real median household income.”


The University of West Florida Social Work Department is facilitating a new series of community workshops to explore the issue of race in Escambia County. “Racial Tension: Cooling the Fires” will kick off this Thursday evening in downtown Pensacola.

Key triggers of this focus on racial issues have included nationally publicized police-involved shootings of blacks and the massacre of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C.  

Julie Patton, an instructor in the UWF Social Work Department, says she and her colleagues felt compelled to dig deeper.

Tre'von Ware

The University of West Florida is currently hosting a series of initiatives that are aimed at stimulating conversation and thought about race, gender, and other sometimes controversial issues. There are two opportunities to join the discussion this Thursday.


  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the Pensacola Young Professionals’ annual Quality of Life survey and what the results reveal about perceptions of the area’s economy and the Port of Pensacola.


The PYP Quality of Life survey was released this week. Conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, 800 respondents were surveyed with the largest response group being those 65 and older, followed by those who were 55-64 and Harper says there weren’t big surprises in the basic findings.