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

This is part two of Martha's conversation with writer Jack Greer.  They talk about the four years he mostly spent sailing the Caribbean on a 40 ft sailboat with his wife Bobbi. Oh yes, and about changing from writing mostly non-fiction to fiction.

In part one of Martha's conversation with writer Jack Greer, she asks him why he is as drawn to water as a sugar ant is to chocolate cake. Their conversation also centers on his involvement with the efforts to reclaim the Chesapeake Bay.


Oct 17, 2014

Martha Woodroof speaks with Staunton’s Lisa Jacenich, a fiber artist who creates felt garments, scarves, and art out of a fabric she describes as, "not your grandmother’s felt."

At Lisa's website, Artful Gifts, you can learn more about creating felt, which involves, "a process of laying out combed or carded fibers of wool either in the ultimate shape for their use or as a sheet of fabric later to be sewn into a garment."


Joy and Sunshine

Oct 10, 2014

Joy Loving talks with WMRA's Martha Woodroof about why Virginia should go solar. College towns like Harrisonburg should solarize, she says. (Oh, and this also involves a spoonbread recipe.)


Oct 3, 2014

Dr. Dave McRuer works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. As a wildlife veterinarian, his mission is to treat  wild animals and educate humans how to interact with them.

Jazz Singer

Sep 26, 2014

After years of absorbing musical influences from Brooklyn and Boston, jazz singer Nadine Chase in 2007 settled in the Shenandoah Valley.

Barclay Rives describes his family as being on a riches to rags trajectory —he’s directly descended from politicians and landowners who were part and parcel of the Commonwealth’s Colonial History.

Editing The Breeze

Sep 12, 2014

Sean Cassidy is starting his second year as editor of The Breeze, JMU's seriously award-winning campus newspaper. Preparing himself to boldly go into the changing world of journalism, ready to change everything but his ethical standards.

Now he's an agnostic professor of music industry. On WMRA's The Spark, we meet Joey Taylor  AKA Ojo Taylor of the 80's-90's Christian punk band, Undercover.

A web extra --more of Martha's talk with Joe/Ojo Taylor below.

And some of his music.



Navy vet Karl Beckett amazed WMRA's Martha Woodroof by sporting the biggest hair she'd seen "since the 1970’s." Martha just had to introduce herself and ask his story.