Bob Powell

Radio Operations Director

Bob is West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Radio Operations Director. He first worked for WV Public Radio in 1986 as a part-time announcer, and later returned to host jazz music programs and manage on-air operations in the 1990's.  A graduate of Alderson-Broaddus and Marshall Universities; he taught Speech, Broadcasting, and Rhetoric at Alderson-Broaddus University, West Virginia State University, and WV Institute of Technology of WVU. Bob served 21 years in the Army National Guard, and served oversea in Bosnia and Iraq.

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Greenland Gap
Nature Conservancy / WV Humanities Council

On April 25, 1863, about 1,500 Confederate soldiers under General William “Grumble” Jones advanced through Greenland Gap, a scenic 820-foot-deep pass in New Creek Mountain in Grant County. Jones’s Confederates clashed with 87 Union soldiers, who’d taken positions in a local church and cabins.

The Northern troops held off several assaults over four hours of fighting. After the church was set on fire, the Union forces finally surrendered. The Union side lost two killed and six wounded, while the Confederates lost seven killed and 35 wounded.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Civil rights leader Leon Sullivan died on April 24, 2001, at age 78. The Charleston native graduated from Garnet High School and West Virginia State College before being trained in the ministry at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. In 1950, he became minister of Philadelphia’s Zion Baptist Church. During his 38 years at Zion Baptist, the church grew into one of the nation’s largest congregations.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Traditional musician Phoeba Cottrell Parsons was born in Calhoun County on April 21, 1908. When she was 10, she picked up her brother Noah’s banjo. She later recalled of that moment, ‘‘He didn’t want me to play because he was afraid I’d beat him.’’ She soon became accomplished not only at the banjo but also at singing ballads, telling stories and riddles, flatfoot dancing, and playing the fiddle sticks.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Poet Irene McKinney was born in Belington in Barbour County on April 20, 1939. She earned degrees from West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University and, in 1976, published her first book of poems, The Girl with the Stone in Her Lap. She served as director of creative writing at West Virginia Wesleyan and, in 1984, published another poetry collection entitled The Wasps and the Blue Hexagon.  The next year, she won a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other prestigious honors.

Melville Post
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Writer Melville Davisson Post was born in Harrison County on April 19, 1869. He became a popular writer, starting with his 1896 short story collection, The Strange Schemes of Randolph Mason.

With a law degree from West Virginia University and a successful writing career underway, Post married Ann Bloomfield Gamble Schoolfield. Together, they traveled the world and the East Coast before settling down at their home, known as the “Chalet,” in Harrison County.

State Justice Marmaduke Dent
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Marmaduke Dent was born at Granville in Monongalia County on April 18, 1849. During his childhood, the nation was descending into the Civil War.

His father, Marshall Mortimer Dent, as editor of Morgantown’s Virginia Weekly Star newspaper, favored compromise to save the Union, and, as a delegate to the Virginia secession convention, voted against secession.

Frank Leslie / wikimedia Commons / user: Btphelps

On April 17, 1861, Virginia politicians voted to secede from the Union. The move came just days after the Civil War had erupted at Fort Sumter and after President Abraham Lincoln had called for 75,000 volunteers. For months, Virginia and other states in the Upper South had refused to join the new Confederate States of America. But, Lincoln’s call for volunteers tipped the balance.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / via West Virginia & Regional History Collection

On April 14, 1875, Hallie Davis married Stephen Elkins, bringing together two powerful political families. Hallie Davis was the eldest child of Henry Gassaway Davis, a U.S. senator and one of West Virginia’s richest men. She grew up primarily in the Mineral County town of Piedmont and in Frederick, Maryland. When she met Stephen Elkins, he was serving as a delegate to Congress from the New Mexico Territory. They later lived in Washington and New York.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Attorney and presidential candidate John W. Davis was born in Clarksburg on April 13, 1873. The Democrat launched his political career in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1899, and was elected to Congress in 1911. He resigned shortly into his second term to become U.S. solicitor general and later served as President Woodrow Wilson’s ambassador to England.

Grave Creek Mound, Marshall County
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Archeologist Delf Norona died in Moundsville on April 12, 1974, just before his 79th birthday. Born in Hong Kong, Norona spent much of his early life in the Philippine Islands.

A British subject, he emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, where he served in the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1930, he moved to West Virginia.

Tick Ridge Fire Tower, Cabwaylingo State Forest
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On April 11, 1939, Company 1558V of the Civilian Conservation Corps wrapped up its work at Camp Anthony Wayne, now known as Cabwaylingo State Forest, in Wayne County.

Two different CCC companies had occupied Camp Anthony Wayne between 1935 and ’39. The CCC surveyed timber and game, cut weeds and brush, cleared trails, and constructed log cabins, which are still in use at Cabwaylingo.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On April 10, 1932, striptease artist Blaze Starr was born in Wayne County as Fanny Belle Fleming. At age 14, she left home for Logan, where she worked at a drive-in. After catching a bus to Washington, her life soon changed in unexpected ways.

A date took her to a burlesque club in Baltimore. She bragged to the owner that she could do a better job than his current dancers. Renamed Blaze Starr, she became the star attraction at Sol Goodman’s Two O’ Clock Club.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

A. James Manchin was born in Farmington on April 7, 1927. He’d become perhaps the most colorful politician in West Virginia history.

During his one term in the House of Delegates in the late ’40s, he fought for civil rights issues, which possibly led to his re-election defeat. After stepping away from government for a decade, he returned as state director of the Farm Home Administration in the ’60s.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Attorney and politician William T. Brotherton Jr. died on April 6, 1997, at age 70. During his long career, he’d risen to the top position in two of West Virginia’s three branches of government.

UBB Mine Disaster
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On April 5, 2010, the day after Easter, a series of explosions rocked the Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal in Raleigh County.

Twenty-nine men died, making it West Virginia’s worst mining disaster since 78 miners were killed at Farmington in 1968.

After the Upper Big Branch explosion, an independent investigation determined that sparks from a longwall miner had ignited a pocket of methane, setting off a chain of explosions that surged more than two miles through the mine.

Singer Red Sovine
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Musician Red Sovine died in Nashville following a car crash on April 4, 1980. He was 61.

Born Woodrow Wilson Sovine in Charleston, he was influenced by local radio musicians Frank Welling and Buddy Starcher, who were known for their sentimental monologues.

Sovine’s early radio career on WCHS in Charleston and WWVA in Wheeling was slow to take off. So, he took a factory job in the Putnam County town of Eleanor while performing on radio. After World War II, he pursued a full-time musical career in Montgomery, Alabama, Shreveport and finally Nashville.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Courtesy of Ohio Historical Society

Simon Kenton was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, on April 3, 1755. He left home at age 16, after he mistakenly thought he’d killed a neighbor. Kenton first traveled north through present West Virginia to Pittsburgh. Then, during the 1770s, he spent several winters trapping game along the Ohio River between the Big Sandy and Kanawha rivers.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Bishop Francis Asbury died on March 31, 1816, at age 70. Born in England in 1745, he volunteered to come to America in 1771 on behalf of the rapidly growing Methodist church. During pioneer days, Asbury was one of many Methodist circuit riders who spread the gospel from community to community. His travels often brought him into what is now West Virginia. And his diary provides some of the best early accounts of western Virginia life.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Division of Tourism / David Fattaleh

On March 30, 1838, Marshall Academy was incorporated in what is now Huntington. The school had been established the previous year as a private school to educate the children of farmers in the region. The first classes were held in a small log church on the knoll where Marshall’s Old Main building now stands.

In 1858, the Virginia Assembly granted college status to Marshall. However, the school closed its doors a little more than two years later when the Civil War began.

Russ Fluharty
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Musician and folk personality Russ Fluharty died on March 29, 1989, at age 82. A lifelong resident of the Mannington area in Marion County, Fluharty learned to sing and play several instruments from his large extended family. 

In 1928, an uncle gave him an antique hammered dulcimer—an ancient instrument with many strings stretched across a box and played with small mallets. Locally, the instrument was nearly unknown, so Fluharty developed a unique playing style and taught himself to play his favorite hymns, patriotic tunes, and familiar old songs.

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