Past Program - The Spark

Aired on WMRA 2011 - 2016

The Spark aired on WMRA from late 2011 to December 2016, with a creative look at --well-- creativity. Our interviews focused on whatever people are passionate about in the WMRA region: sculpture, model railroading, costume-making, poetry, whatever.

Please note, we no longer produce The Spark due to host Martha Woodroof's retirement, but her interviews are still available online.

On this final episode of The Spark:  Martha Woodroof agreed to sit down and discuss her life and career... in essence, to be the final guest on The Spark.

On this episode of The Spark: Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate and WMRA's December Books & Brews author, discusses her life, poetry and the sound of language.

On this episode of The Spark: “Five Things the Church Can Learn from Women’s Roller Derby” is a Kelly Figueroa-Ray  essay for the Huffington Post.  Religion-blogger Kelly Figueroa-Ray has a divinity degree from Wesley and also actually does do roller derby --under the rinkname Bible ThumpHer.

Telling Every Story

Nov 18, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Martha talks with biographer Kate Buford about her new adventure into telling the stories of the worthy and the un-famous.

On this episode of The Spark: Essayist and poet Greg Wrenn has been diving since he was a child growing up in Florida. His new nonfiction book will be what he describes as a, "literary time capsule," describing what it's like to dive amidst the astonishing biodiversity of the reefs of Indonesia's Raja Ampat Archipelago. He wants to write the book, Greg says, because he expects the still-pristine reefs to begin to deteriorate in the next twenty years.

On this episode of The Spark: Martha speaks with Mollie Cox Bryan, who has gone from pies to murder... at least in her writing. Mollie Cox Bryan, the author of several Mrs. Rowe's cookbooks, now writes mysteries.

Say What?!?

Oct 28, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Martha speaks with Books & Brews author, Chuck McCutcheon, who has worked in Washington for 21 years and has turned himself into an expert on decoding political speak.

On this episode of The Spark: Charlotte Matthew’s talks about her third collection of poems, Whistle What Can’t Be Said

Daniel Stein

On this episode of The Spark: Martha Woodroof learns more about astrophotography from college senior Daniel Stein.  Daniel loves nothing better than spending entire nights photographing the night sky.

Daniel Stein's website

Into IT

Oct 7, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Waynesboro's Ian MacRae was a bit of a computer wunderkind. He began his first computer business  while he was still in high school. Twenty years later EN Computers employs 22 people and has clients all over Virginia.  

Rachel Herr

On this episode of The Spark: Martha speaks with Books & Brews author, Rebecca Kauffman.

WMRA's Martha Woodroof and college football "spotter" Tony Britt (bonus: also CBS Sports/ESPN legend Brent Musburger) discuss Tony's special "cheat sheets" he developed for ESPN reporters and other sports media pros. 

On this episode of The Spark: Hillary 'Bill" Clemmer continues her conversation about a day’s work on a  New Zealand sheep station.

On this episode of The Spark: Hillary 'Bill" Clemmer spent several years working mostly alone on isolated New Zealand sheep stations. This is part one of her adventures.

On this episode of The SparkAlan TaylorPulitzer Prize winning historian, speaks with Martha about his new book, "American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804."

On this episode of The Spark: Harrisonburg’s Brad Burrow’s business adventures in the world of fair trade chocolate.

An Operatic Life

Aug 19, 2016
Jeff Busby

On this episode of The Spark: Australian-born Miriam Gordon-Stewart, who sang all over the world before moving to Charlottesville to co-found Victory Hall Opera.

Pruning Love

Jul 29, 2016
Mary Stickley-Godinez

On this episode of The Spark: Mary Stickley-Godinez, of Countryside Farm and Nursery in Crimora, tells how she and her husband Raul met over plant pruning. And a bit about the art and science of pruning, as well.

Up On the Roof

Jul 22, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Twenty-one year old Richy Rohrer took his first roofing job for a paycheck. He’s still at it  because: a) he likes the challenge of the job; and b) he wants to be as good a roofer as he possibly can be.

Amanda McRaven was born and raised in Free Union. She’s a country girl, who fell in love with theater at an early age, and now she runs her own company Fugitive Kind in Los Angeles. She’s in Staunton this summer with two of her theater buddies to run Make Trouble Theater, an intensive theater experience for college students.

On this episode of The Spark: Connie Doebele retired to Staunton after 25 years on C-SPAN as a host and producer. She talks about how she went from her childhood on a Kansas farm, through radio news to politics, and from there on to C-SPAN.

On this episode of The Spark: Connie Doebele retired to Staunton after 25 years on C-SPAN as a host and producer. In the next two installments of The Spark, she talks about how she went from her childhood on a Kansas farm, through radio news to politics, and from there on to C-SPAN.

On this edition of The Spark, Martha Woodroof sits down for a chat with Lulu Miller.  Lulu lives half her life in Charlottesville, half in DC, and spends all her time making NPR’s wildly popular new show Invisibilia.

WMRA's Martha Woodroof meets Waynesboro blues singer Lorie Strother, who grew up living on the streets of Boston. Now, even though she’s got five children, a master’s degree and a good job, she still sings the blues with conviction. 

On this episode of The Spark: Cory Lay tells us how he stumbled upon an opportunity to become a Duck Pin Bowling technician at Harrisonburg's new Ruby's Arcade.

Peter Van Acker

On this episode of The Spark: Martha continues her conversation with Peter Van Acker about his merry Cuban adventures... and they talk a lot about the amazing cars he came across.

Cuba Bound

May 27, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Peter Van Acker, and his wife Susan, have traveled all over the world. They recently went to Cuba because they wanted to experience the island before the expected flood of tourists changed things there too much.

On this episode of The Spark: Anastasia Suslaev came to America at the age of 10, knowing two words of English. Since then she'd gotten her undergraduate degree from Eastern Mennonite, her Masters from JMU, and she's just about to become a certified nurse midwife.

A Poet Emerges

May 13, 2016

On this episode of The Spark: Part two of our conversation with Scott Price. Scott had never wanted anything but a career in the Army. Then a back injury took his career, his marriage failed, and he lost his identity… but thanks to poetry, he’s now starting to rebuild his life.  

On this episode of The Spark: Scott Price discusses his time in the Army. Scott, as a VMI graduate and Army Captain, wanted nothing more than to be a good soldier.

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