Blogging Gene Marrano of WVTF-NPR

Floyd is one of those out of the way spots where busy people may drop in on their way elsewhere, but rarely think of as a destination. I think that is a blessing in disguise, because the usual reaction to Floyd is so positive we could easily end up with queues in front of the real estate offices.

I was reminded of that yesterday when Gene Marrano of radio station WVTF dropped by to interview me. Gene is the host of Studio Virginia & Evening Edition and is an all around nice guy.

Originally from Long Island, he had a long history in corporate sales management before he segued into becoming a Virginia media celebrity.

Gene has worked in commercial radio as a news reporter, news anchor, sportscaster and talk show host since 1997. He also writes for several publications in the Roanoke area, including the Blue Ridge Business Journal, Roanoke Valley Sports Journal and City Magazine, and has written features as a stringer for out-of-town newspapers on occasion.

I gave him a tour of the Jacksonville Center campus where the Raku kiln building class was pulling pots out of barrels full of pine needles.

I realized I should be blogging this when he started interviewing the students working around the kiln, and I finally got my camera fired up as he interviewed Carter Holliday, a professional ceramicist who is also a volunteer at the Jacksonville Center.

Genem600webGene was such a pleasure to talk to that I took him downtown to give him a taste of the Floyd experience. On the way to lunch, we dropped in at the Bell Gallery where he met owner Joanne Bell and admired the latest items on display.


We had lunch at Oddfellas where I introduced him to owner Rob Neukirch who, in a previous life, was an actor in Hollywood. After a few seconds of conversation, Gene asked to interview Rob and captured a few sound bytes in a back corner of the busy restaurant.

On the way out of town, we stopped in at the Cafe del Sol and I introduced Gene to owner Sally Walker, who doubles as the jazz vocalist, Little Diva and the G Strings, when she is not riding herd on the controlled chaos at the coffeeshop/gallery. Being a jazz fan, Gene bought a copy of Sally’s CD to take with him. Good choice!

I also pointed out that Max Charnley, the young barista behind the counter, was the artist who had painted two of the finest paintings that were displayed in the gallery. If you are in Floyd in the next few weeks, take time to check out the paintings on display at the Cafe del Sol.

By now, Gene was running late for his next appointment, but he had gotten a good immersion in the Floyd experience. In this little laid-back community in the rolling hills of Southwest Virginia, almost everyone he met has an amazing depth of talent. We had barely scratched the surface because he was only in town for an hour.

We enjoyed having him here and he is welcome back anytime.

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