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.

Creative Commons

A new study confirms that the number one cause of traffic accidents is distracted drivers.  But it’s not only texting behind the wheel that’s to blame.

We’ve all heard the warnings about as texting or talking on the phone while driving.  But a new study cites another important factor in car crashes, the driver’s emotional state.  

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found emotionally agitated drivers had ten times the risk of a collision says Mindy Buchanan-King, Director of Research communications at VTTI.

Creative Commons, Flickr user Will Fisher

Virginia’s coal economy has endured boom and bust cycles for generations.   But this time may be different. Competition from cheaper fuels and climate concerns are creating a downward spiral for the industry. What some see as a ‘war on coal’ others see as a timely transition to new energy sources, but everyone is wondering what that future will look like.

The quest for clean, sustainable energy has scientists testing new ways to produce it.  One approach is to look for savings in energy that’s currently being wasted.  Researchers at Virginia Tech have come up with a new way to literally transform some of that waste  into electricity.                               


The President’s Clean Power Plan put on hold by the Supreme Court is something many in Virginia have supported.  It directed states to craft their own plans to combat global warming under EPA guidelines. Some say, ‘plan or no plan,’ the move to cut greenhouse gas emissions already underway will continue regardless.

The toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan has some in South West Virginia wondering about pollution hazards here that may also be underestimated by authorities.

In light of what’s been revealed in Flint they say it’s time to take a closer look at air and water in this region that has been deemed ‘safe,’ but may not be.