Robbie Harris

WVTF/RADIO IQ New River Valley Bureau Chief

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg,  covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. 

The former news director of  WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, she led award-winning news teams and creative projects.  Early in her career, she was the Humanities Reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, and also served as a tape editor on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Robbie worked at New Jersey Public Television and WCAU/CBS TV in Philadelphia while she pursued  her Master's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  During college, she was a Page at Saturday Night Live in New York and a reporter and program host for Cross Country Cable Television in Somerville, NJ.  Robbie also worked at the Rutgers College Radio Station, WRSU and was part of the team which founded "Knight Time Television" at the university.

North Korea’s missile tests are just the latest threat of nuclear strike on this country. But it’s a worst-case scenario like others the U.S. government has been studying and planning for since the 1950s. Every administration from Eisenhower’s to Trump’s has put some kind of disaster plan in place. Computer scientists at Virginia Tech, however, have a new take on the old disaster plans.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hear comments at locations around the state this month, on proposed water protection standards for 2 natural gas pipelines slated for Virginia. Pipeline opponents are looking to the DEQ as their last hope to have their concerns about the projects heard. 


Thanks to the popularity of the books and television series Game of Thrones, a Virginia Tech Professor of Medieval Studies has no problem filling his classes of the same name.  The saga has offered many teachable moments, and he told Robbie Harris it looks like this is the  season of the women, presenting a chance to explore gender relations in history and the present.

Appalachian Voices

People in southwestern Virginia have been working to move beyond the coal economy that’s dominated the region for a hundred years. They’re building new businesses, literally atop the old, by repurposing abandoned coal mines.  One limit to that effort has been money. That is, until last week, when Congress voted to give Virginia $10 million toward those efforts. Robbie Harris reports.

MountainRose Vineyards Facebook/Let's See America

In central Appalachia, coal has not only been the main economic driver for nearly a hundred years, it’s also been an important part of the culture.

In Part 3 of our series on what’s next for abandoned mine land in Wise County, Virginia, Robbie Harris takes us to a boutique vineyard in Wise County that honors its roots as it looks to future growth.