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.

Ways to Connect

WHIS AM Bluefield
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On June 27, 1929, one of West Virginia’s pioneer radio stations, WHIS, hit the airwaves in Bluefield, featuring a performance by the local Lions Club quartet.

The station was the brainchild of Hugh and Jim Shott, the sons of local newspaper owner and future congressman Hugh Ike Shott. During its first two decades, WHIS expanded from 100 watts to 5,000. In 1939, WHIS became affiliated with NBC, but local programming remained important.

This Week in West Virginia History.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Plantation owner Sampson Sanders died on June 21, 1849, at age 62, and was buried near Milton. At the time, Sanders, who is sometimes referred to as Saunders, was the largest landholder in Cabell County.

He owned large tracts on the Guyandotte and Mud rivers east of Barboursville and operated the largest flour mill in Cabell County. Saunders Creek, a Mud River tributary, is named for his family.

WV statehood
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On June 20, 1863, West Virginia entered the Union as the nation’s 35th state. It was the end of an unprecedented ladder to statehood that began with the outbreak of the Civil War.

Although some Western Virginians had been frustrated with the Virginia state government in Richmond for decades, it took Virginia’s secession from the Union in April 1861 to get the West Virginia statehood process moving.

Crafty politicians—now remembered as our founders—used Virginia’s secession as an excuse to create a separate government of Virginia—one that remained loyal to the Union.

This Week in West Virginia History.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On June 20, 1963—the 100th birthday of West Virginia—John F. Kennedy made his last appearance in the Mountain State. 

Speaking on the state capitol steps in Charleston, he credited West Virginia with making him president—a reference to the state’s Democratic primary in 1960, when he beat Hubert Humphrey.

Cal Price, Pocahontas Times
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Newspaperman “Cal” Price died in Marlinton on June 14, 1957, at age 76. Price—the longtime owner and editor of the Pocahontas Times newspaper—was known for his civic involvement and conservation endeavors, such as his famous “Field Notes” column and his panther and bear stories.

The 10,000-acre Calvin W. Price State Forest in southern Pocahontas County was dedicated in his honor in 1954.

This Week in West Virginia History.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On June 13, 1861, a committee led by John Carlile of Clarksburg presented a Declaration of Rights of the People of Virginia to the Second Wheeling Convention.

The convention was the first major step toward West Virginia statehood, and the declaration is perhaps the most significant document in our state’s history.

Drilling to blast
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On June 7, 1926, a crew mining for sand in Morgan County was preparing an explosion when a spark set off what the Berkeley Glass Sand Company maintained was dynamite. Others, though, claimed it was more dangerous black powder. Six men were killed.

Their deaths inspired John Unger, a local blind singer, to write the ballad “The Miner’s Doom,” which was recorded in 1927 by early country music star Vernon Dalhart.

This Week in West Virginia History.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Just after midnight on June 6, 1979, an old Douglas DC-6 cargo plane carrying 12 tons of marijuana attempted to land at Charleston’s Kanawha Airport—now Yeager Airport.

Two Ryder rental trucks were waiting at the airport to haul away the illegal cargo, but the scheme went awry when the plane plummeted off the edge of the runway. Hundreds of bales of marijuana spewed from the plane before it caught fire.

Winter in Dolly Sods Wilderness
Adobe Stock

On June 5, the Big Frost of 1859—as it’s remembered—hit what would soon become the new state of West Virginia. The unseasonable cold snap killed wheat crops and fruit trees, leading farmers in higher elevations to begin planting hardier crops, like potatoes. The late-season frost even inspired Preston County farmers to start sowing a resilient crop that would become their staple: buckwheat.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Artist Blanche Lazzell died on June 1, 1956, at age 77. She was born in Maidsville in Monongalia County in 1878. After receiving a diploma from the West Virginia Conference Seminary and an art degree from West Virginia University, she moved to New York City and studied with influential artists Kenyon Cox and William Merritt Smith. A remarkably independent woman for the time, Lazzell traveled twice to Paris, where she became enthralled with the avant-garde Cubism movement.

Highway Marker
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On April 26, 1937, West Virginia’s first highway historical marker was installed in Charleston, detailing the history of our state capitol.

In that first year, 440 sites were marked by these white aluminum signs, which feature a circular state seal at the top. Initial funding was provided by one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.

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.

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