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.

Republicans retain control of Virginia's General Assembly.  No seats for the State Senate will change hands in the next session -- the GOP retains a 21-19 majority.  In the House of Delegates, Republicans will hold a nearly two-thirds majority.

Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.  On the ballot are candidates for the state Senate and House of Delegates, and for numerous local City and County offices.  To find out where to vote, and who's on the ballot, click here.

Find a full list of candidates for statewide offices here.

WMRA's Jordy Yager posted two reports from the Charlottesville area this week, serving up the final installment of our five-part special series on Food Insecurity, and attending a conference aimed at changing the conversation about, and among, young black men.... Jessie Knadler sniffed out the latest research on stink bugs, now an October fixture in Virginia.... and Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman takes a look at the reaction of college professors to the rise in campus shootings.  We've also got this week's Our Island Universe!

In this special one-hour show, hear Bob Leweke's interviews with each of the candidates for the 26th state Senate district, Democratic challenger April Moore, and Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain.... Tag along with Jordy Yager and a Meals on Wheels volunteer bringing meals, and a human touch, to the homebound in Charlottesville.... Visit a grade-school classroom with Kara Lofton, where restorative justice practices are used to build trust and deal with conflict.... and, catch the radio re-broadcast of the televised debate between Moore and Obenshain from October 13th on WHSV-TV3.

Senator Mark Obenshain is the Republican incumbent representing the 26th state senate district of Virginia, and up for re-election in November.  His challenger is Democrat April Moore.  Sen. Obenshain sat down with Bob Leweke and talked about his campaign.

April Moore is a Democrat running to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Mark Obenshain in the 26th state senate district of Virginia.  She sat down with Bob Leweke and talked about her campaign.

We've got Jordy Yager's third installment of our series on Food Insecurity in Virginia, with a focus on hungry kids.... the unlikely path to behind-the-scenes fame taken by a pair of videographers, through music videos, in Charlottesville, with Emily Richardson-Lorente... an exploration of the cohousing movement, with Kara Lofton... and Virginia Public Radio reports on the debates over guns, and over the proposed natural gas pipeline, in Virginia.

This week's show includes one story from the previous week (the October 4th show was knocked off the air by a technical glitch!) -- we include Jordy Yager's first two installments of our "Food Insecurity in Virginia" series....  and, two stories at the intersection of economics and the environment, one by Jessie Knadler on the fast-growing Sigora Solar of Waynesboro, and one by Kara Lofton on Harrisonburg's new "single-stream" trash and recycling collection program.

WMRA's Emily Richardson-Lorente spends some time with young (she's only 19!) entrepreneur LeiLei Secor, making a big splash (and some big bucks) with her Etsy shop.... Jordy Yager serves up his first story for us, with the first in a series on food insecurity in Virginia.... plus, this week's episode of The Spark and Our Island Universe.

With heavy rains forecast for today and tonight, and potential flooding, and then more rain possible from Hurricane Joaquin this weekend, emergency management officials remind Virginia residents to prepare.

Emily Richardson-Lorente files her first story from Charlottesville, about the i.Lab at the Darden School of Business.... Also at UVa is a new experiment called the Compassionate Schools Project, and Kara Lofton checks that out.... And Jessie Knadler visits the outdoor classroom of Col. Grigg Mullen, Jr., who is bringing timber framing back, for the purpose of teaching his civil engineering students.

This week, Jessie Knadler got an update on solar power co-ops in the Shenandoah Valley, growing fast.... Brit Moorer filed her first report for WMRA with a visit to classrooms in Albermarle County Schools where the Maker Curriculum is building knowledge from creativity.... and Kara Lofton attended the most recent active shooter drill at UVa's Medical Center.

It's a special edition of the show, devoted to the complete version of "Schrödinger's Cougar," as Andrew Jenner and Brent Finnegan explore the science, and the myth, of the Eastern mountain lion in Virginia.

WMRA's Kara Lofton filed three stories this week with datelines from Charlottesville, to Richmond, to Harrisonburg.  First, she talked to the project team at the Center for Open Science about their big Reproducibility Study....  She also sat in on a meditation and yoga class for the inmates at the Goochland Women's Correctional Facility.... And she attended the early morning vigil for journalist Alison Parker.....

Jessie Knadler explores the new horizon of stem cell therapy for the family pet... Kara Lofton checks in with two Methodist pastors suspended for officiating the weddings of two same-sex couples... and we've got this week's episodes of The Spark and Our Island Universe.

Another story that hit close to home for many of us was the murder of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, reporters for WDBJ TV, on August 26, while they were doing their jobs.  There are links through the WDBJ website to memorial funds in their honor.  To find out more, click here.

Sefe Emokpae tells us what the Music Resource Center in Charlottesville has been up to during its 20 years, and Emily Richardson-Lorente takes a seat in the audience at the Garage, a different kind of music venue there.... Also, Kara Lofton filed two stories, one of which went viral big time: first, her account of "The Pause," a relatively new practice among trauma and emergency medical workers after the death of a patient, and then a look at local "Nones," particularly millennials, who are increasingly checking the "None" box for religious affiliation.... We also step into the Wayback Machine to Day 1 of the WMRA Newsroom, for Andrew Jenner's first WMRA story, one year ago.

Sefe Emokpae takes us to a winery near Charlottesville that's trying hard to stand out in Virginia's wine country... Kara Lofton concludes our "Clean Virginia" series with a look towards the sun... and because there may be a mountain lion roaming around Milwaukee, what better excuse to revisit "Schrodinger's Cougar"?  Also, this week's Spark.

This week, Scott Lowe toured the 20-year-old Virginia Quilt Museum, containing centuries-old quilts.... Kara Lofton brought us new water consumption guidelines for athletes, and the views of opposite sides over the Confederate flag.... and Jessie Knadler finds out why the cash-strapped Buena Vista Police Department spent nearly $50,000 on a new drug-sniffing dog.

WMRA’s Kara Lofton took a tour of Harrisonburg's booming food trucks, which are so popular they have their own parks.... Jessie Knadler exposes the invasive bug killing Virginia's hemlock trees, and explores solutions.... And we revisit Kara's story of a same-sex married couple fighting for parenthood rights.  Plus, this week's installment of The Spark.

WMRA's Kara Lofton was busy again this week, with a conversation with Trent Wagler of the Steel Wheels about the "roots" of Red Wing... she also reported on an appeals court victory by the EPA and Chesapeake Bay activists, and on Virginia's air quality as part of "Clean Virginia"... and she explained the connection between the University of Virginia and the New Horizons mission to Pluto... and, finally, we replay Andrew Jenner's "Pipeline Air Force" story, which is now the winner of an Outstanding Feature Reporting award from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.

Welcome WMRA's Amy Loeffler to the newsroom.  She posted a story about what could be the hot new thing for gastronomes in Virginia agriculture:  Truffles.... Kara Lofton posted the next installment of our "Clean Virginia" series.... and, because it's Independence Day weekend, we dip into the archives from the "Becoming American" series.  And, in this week's Spark segment, Martha Woodroof talks with former Bridgewater -- and soon-to-be Sweet Briar – College president Philip Stone.

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.)

Pages