Bob Leweke

News Director / Morning Edition Host

Bob Leweke is WMRA's News Director and Morning Edition host.

Before coming to public radio in 2003, Bob had worked for The Roanoke Times as a circulation manager and writer.  He later became a member of the communication faculty at Pikeville College in Kentucky, and at Bridgewater College in Virginia, where he taught public speaking, mass media law, communication theory and other courses.  Bob holds degrees in communication and political science from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 2015 and 2016, the readers of the Daily News-Record voted him “Best Radio Personality.”

In his hours away from WMRA, Bob enjoys music, cycling, reading and movie-watching, and spending time with his family doing all of the above.  He also plays the drums for The Sustainers, a Harrisonburg blues-rock cover band.  You can follow him on Twitter @WMRAnews.

This week, WMRA's Kara Lofton posted the next in our "Clean Virginia" series, with a look at the legacy of Mercury contamination in the Shenandoah Valley.... and she also looked at the death and resurrection (at least for now) of a small, private college -- Sweet Briar.  Bob Leweke also had a conversation with Nancy Insco, an advocate and case-worker for women getting out of prison, and the News Leader's Patricia Borns, about the conversation that newspaper hosted, called "Roadmap to Re-Entry," in Staunton earlier in the week.

Courtesy of Dave Fritz, executive editor of the News Leader

On Wednesday evening, June 24, the News Leader in Staunton fostered a community conversation at Staunton’s city hall.  The gathering was called “Roadmap to Re-entry,” and was a follow-up to the paper’s reporting in March on the struggles that many incarcerated women face when they’re released from prison.  Bob Leweke spoke with the News Leader’s Patricia Borns, and with Nancy Insco, CEO of the Institute for Reform and Solutions in Staunton, an agency that works with these women.  I asked Insco about her takeaway from this first session.

This week we took a deep look at a struggling wind power project proposed for the shores off Virginia, and Kara Lofton took the measure of honeybee health in Virginia, plus a "moon art" project involving a JMU art professor, and a teenager doing her part to find homes for stray dogs.

WMRA's Kara Lofton brought us the stories of: new 3-D human tissue bioprinters at UVa; the legacy of coal-fired power on Virginia's water health; aerial yoga in Charlottesville; and a new park plan in Harrisonburg.  And Andrew Jenner told the story of one couple resisting Dominion surveyors in Nelson County, and Andrew and Brent Finnegan have teamed up for a deep look into reality itself -- and whether there really could be wild mountain lions in Virginia.

Agriculture is one of the leading causes of pollution in Virginia’s waterways.  WMRA’s Kara Lofton has the first in our occasional series on “Clean Virginia,” with a tour of one farm aiming to protect the water that runs through it....  Jessie Knadler gets us up to date on the Natural Bridge Zoo, now reopened for business.... Kara also took us to the roller derby to meet Charlottesville's Derby Dames.... and we've got this week's installment of The Spark.

During the month of June, this WMRA series will explore the state of Virginia's unique environment, specifically its water, air and soil.  How does agriculture affect our drinkable water, and the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed?  How well are we doing cleaning up industrial pollutants such as mercury?  Are decades-old problems, such as acid rain and runoff from coal-fueled power plants, getting solved?  How clean is the air we breathe?

We meet a few of the growing number of male nurses, and find out why they make more money than female nurses, in a report by Kara Lofton....  Luanne Austin takes us to a truck stop medical clinic in Raphine, run by the "Country Doctor of the Year".... and Rebekah Greenfield unpacks the "Suitcase Clinic," which provides mobile health care for the homeless in Harrisonburg.  And, we learn how to photograph the night sky in this week's installment of The Spark.

This week in the WMRA region:  WMRA's Kara Lofton attended a forum, part of a series, to discuss mental health and substance issues in Harrisonburg.... Bob Leweke spoke with News Leader reporter Laura Peters, who broke the story of hundreds of voicemails to a Child Protective Services office in Augusta County being deleted last year.... The Natural Bridge Zoo was shut down in March for multiple infractions, and Jessie Knadler took a look.... and Scott Lowe rode Interstate 81 with a member of Virginia's Safety Service Patrol.

The Child Protective Services office that serves Augusta County, including Staunton and Waynesboro, is under scrutiny in recent days for deleting hundreds of voicemails in its system.  (Note: this story has been updated with a statement from the Shenandoah Valley Social Services office in Verona, released after this interview aired on WMRA.  See below.)

WMRA's Kara Lofton reports on a youth-oriented community farm in Augusta County...

WMRA's Andrew Jenner tagged along during the 20th Citizen Police Academy in Harrisonburg....

WMRA's Kara Lofton attended Staunton's "Innovate LIVE" conference, in case you missed it...

In the last installment of our series on homelessness, WMRA’s Kara Lofton talks to local experts about how solving the housing crisis could be the answer to eliminating homelessness in Virginia....

Kara Lofton

In the last installment of our series on homelessness, WMRA’s Kara Lofton talks to local experts about how solving the housing crisis could be the answer to eliminating homelessness in Virginia.

Alcoholism does not define Richard Rose, but his life has certainly been shaped by the addiction.

Through disability, abuse and addiction, Sarah Blackwell relies on faith.  WMRA’s Kara Lofton has her story.

WMRA’s Andrew Jenner took a deep look at the problems with something called orchardgrass...

WMRA's Matt Bingay sat down with JMU professor Paul Bogard earlier this week to talk about our modern day problems with light pollution and the solutions our communities might embrace....

Republican Senator Mark Obenshain has a new challenger this fall for his state senate seat representing part of the Shenandoah Valley.  WMRA's Andrew Jenner has the story....

The second part of our series on the arts scene in Staunton focuses on music.  And WMRA’s Luanne Austin takes us there....

Courtesy of the News Leader

Women are a relatively small proportion of the incarcerated population in Virginia.  But that number is growing, and growing faster than the rate of male incarceration.

Since the Dave Matthews Band and before, music is part of the beating heart of Charlottesville.  WMRA's Sefe Emokpae takes us on a tour.... 

Courtesy the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts

Some of their music videos have more than 1 million views on YouTube.  Not bad for a classical music piano duo.

What if there were a place that existed just to provide space to create?  In this space you could make almost anything you wanted and you could do it alongside other creative innovators. Such places, called "makerspaces," are beginning to crop up in cities all over the United States including Charlottesville and Staunton.

WMRA’s Luanne Austin takes us to Staunton, where, from tiny, out-of-the-way workshops to the better known art galleries, the visual arts play a big role in Staunton’s cultural life, and in the tourist experience....  And, in a replay from October 2014, it turns out that quite a few people have been working pretty hard at growing the arts in Harrisonburg, too, and that goes hand-in-hand with the effort to revitalize downtown....  The four high-schoolers on the championship-winning Rockingham County 4-H Livestock Judging Team are getting ready to compete in Scotland this summer - and developi

Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee visited her alma mater, Eastern Mennonite University, to support an Ebola fundraiser organized by EMU’s International Student Organization.  WMRA’s Kara Lofton was there....  The problem of campus sexual assault gets some attention in the General Assembly, WMRA’s Andrew Jenner reports that the proposals are not without controversy....  Kara Lofton filed a two-part report with some advice for how to protect YOUR identity and data online, and on the broader problem faced by businesses and governments....  and we meet Iraqi refugee Husam Abdulazeez, as Andrew

A physician from Middlebrook receives the “Country Doctor of the Year” award at his church in Spotswood.  And, as WMRA's Luanne Austin reports, his second clinic is at a very "high traffic" location....  WMRA’s Andrew Jenner filed a couple of stories on legislation before this session of the General Assembly.  The first regards an issue about which many residents in the path of the proposed Dominion natural-gas pipeline say that they are not being heard when they raise concerns about its effect on their property.  At least two lawmakers in the General Assembly are responding to those concer

The problem of addiction is certainly not a new one.

Wednesday, November 26, power outages knocked our main signal off the air.

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