Martha Woodroof


Martha is both a college dropout (Mount Holyoke) and a graduate school dropout (the University of Virginia).

Her first real job was as a teacher’s aide in a pilot Head Start program in Greensboro, North Carolina. She's been with WMRA since the (latest) turn of the century, and has actively freelanced for the NPR Culture Desk and for

Before that – among a lot of other things - she co-owned restaurants, did a bit of acting, was fired as a magazine editor, hosted local TV talk shows and anchored the news, wrote a book called How to Stop Screwing Up: 12 Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time, cooked for an artist’s colony, was a country music disc jockey and a psychiatric occupational therapy aide, taught preschool, published a bunch of essays, was a morning drive-time personality on a tiny AM radio station, ran a college bookstore coffee shop, directed a college’s co-curricular programming, and failed to sell cars.

Her daughter is spinner, weaver, author, and content provider, Liz Gipson. Many of the photographs accompanying her work were taken by her husband, Charlie.

She loves words and their power to tell other people’s stories.

Her first novel, Small Blessings, was published by St. Martin’s Press in the summer of 2014.

Ways to Connect

Harrisonburg’s Tim Estep describes himself as a "film maker."

The Judy Chops

Jan 13, 2012

The Judy Chops, whose five members hail from various parts of the Shenandoah Valley, share their eclectic music and love of making that music.

Stonemason Dana Nelson, a guest of WMRA's The Spark, teases us with just one of his funny Irish stories.

Patricia and Don Lansky each had successful careers before being called to the Ministry… and to each other.

Kate Kessler

Jan 6, 2012

A tribute to Kate Kessler, intrepid teacher, dancer, WMRA contributor and solo hiker of the entire Appalachian Trail. We just heard this week that Kate is in hospice.

Jonathan Coleman

Jan 6, 2012

Best-selling author, Jonathan Coleman, talks about his collaboration with NBA icon, Jerry West, on West by West, My Charmed, Tormented Life.

Information about Jonathan’s WriterHouse talk on “The Art and Responsibility of Narrative Nonfiction Writing”

Earl Martin

Jan 6, 2012

Earl Martin, life-long Asian traveler, discusses his recent house-building foray into North Korea.

The Fuller Center for Housing web account of Earl’s trip

Andi Arndt

Dec 16, 2011

Former WMRA classical music announcer (and Harrisonburg resident), Andi Arndt, has taken her voice international through the magic of the WEB.

Roanoke resident Jeff Ell is the author of Ruth Unsensored.

Royce Campbell

Dec 16, 2011

Jazz guitarist Royce Campbell backed-up Marvin Gaye, toured for almost two decades with Henry Mancini, and has written music for the movies.

Dana Nelson, a guest on WMRA's The Spark,  is mostly a stone mason, having learned his trade over a decade spent working in Ireland. But occasionally, he moonlights as a musician... and he’s allowed The Spark to premier his soon-to-be Christmas classic, "Rockabilly Christmas on the Radio."

Mimi Elrod

Dec 9, 2011

Lexington Mayor Mimi Elrod jumped into local politics as a way to re-ignite her own spark after the death of her husband.

Doug Harwood is the founder and long-time editor of the Rockbridge Advocate. His essay is about "doing" radio.

Kate Tamarkin

Dec 2, 2011

Charlottesville's Kate Tamarkin is in an unusual profession for a woman; she's a conductor and a music director.

Matthew Minnicino

Dec 2, 2011

Fourth-year student Matthew Minnicino's play, Troy is Burning, is the first undergraduate play to be presented main stage by the UVa Drama Department in the last twenty-five years.

Helms Theater Box Office

Steve White

Dec 2, 2011

Singers Glen resident and avid bird watcher, Steve White, worked for the CIA for a couple of decades as a Russian specialists.

Steve's bird group of choice: The Rockingham Bird Club

Elliot Majerczyk

Nov 18, 2011

By day, Elliot  Majerczyk is a producer for the public radio program,  With Good Reason. By night, he creates music out of found sounds.

The 2nd and 3rd sound files above are samples of Elliot's Music:
"Sway What"
"For Martha"

Dan Bonner

Nov 18, 2011

Staunton's Dan Bonner has been a college basketball analyst for over 2 decades. He works (or has worked) for CBS Sports, ESPN, RAYCOM Sports, and Fox Sports.

The 2nd audio clip above is a sample of Dan Bonner and Kevin Harlan announcing the thrilling 2010 NCAA tournament Kansas/ Northern Iowa upset.

Anita Cooper

Nov 11, 2011

Anita Cooper is a late-blooming watercolorist who lives in the Staunton Area.

An essay by Kim Johnson.