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WUSF names new 'Morning Edition' host

The new host for NPR's Morning Edition on WUSF-FM 89.7: Jessica Meszaros.

The reporter and anchor on Thursday officially replaced longtime host Carson Cooper as the local voice of one of public radio's signature shows.

"She has real confidence in her voice — we call it 'hostiness,'?" said JoAnn Urofsky, WUSF's general manager. "It's just the sound of a good radio host. And she loves radio, and I think that really comes through.

Meszaros, a 2014 graduate of Florida International University, has worked at stations in Miami and Fort Myers. She's won awards for her writing and segments on such topics as toxic algae blooms, diseased orange groves, wild pig meat and the death penalty. In 2013, she interned with NPR's All Things Considered in Washington, D.C.

Cooper, a longtime Tampa Bay radio fixture, had been WUSF's Morning Edition host since 2000, but has been off the air since February dealing with a health issue. He also has hosted the WUSF show Florida Matters since its inception in 2006, but has stepped back from that since last summer.

"What I can tell you is he can't wait to come back," Urofsky said. "He's so good on the air, when he's able to come back on the air, we'll definitely have him back. That's a skill set that not many people have."

For her first morning on the air, Meszaros hosted WUSF's Morning Edition for only a portion of the four-hour broadcast. That's normal for new hires, Urofsky said, especially those just getting acquainted to Tampa Bay. But she expects it won't be long before Meszaros is on the air all morning.

"She's really sharp," Nurosky said, "so I think she'll be on from 5 to 9 sooner than we expected."

Contact Jay Cridlin at cridlin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.

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