Allegheny Mountain Radio’s 2021 STAR Award Winner

Jeannette Robinson is the Allegheny Mountain Radio STAR Award winner for 2021.  She started volunteering at WCHG in 1998.  She hosted a show called Over the Threshold, featuring acoustic, folk, singer-songwriters and some bluegrass.

“I’ve always loved music and I was working at the library,” says Robinson.  “Gibbs would come in, you know, frequently when he was over in Bath County, to the library.  He’d say, ‘Oh, you should get involved.  You should do a show.’   So I said, ‘Well, let me think about it, let me think about it.’   My sister says to me, ‘Don’t be a dweller on the threshold.  Just do it.’  So I decided to do it.  My show became Over the Threshold.  It just kind of started with the love of music, but with the encouragement of Gibbs Kinderman.  One thing that was wonderful when I had the show, I was so immersed in music I was able to really connect with some of my heroes of music.  I met people like Tim O’Brien, I was able to interview him and did a show about his music.  I met people like Peter Rowan and Sam Bush, Guy Clark, Tom Paxton, Chris Hillman from The Byrds and many other groups.  Met these people, got either interviews and/or liners for my show.  That’s some of what the show did for me.”

Jeannette hosted Over the Threshold for eight years and encouraged others to volunteer.

“I’m glad that I pushed a couple of people,” says Robinson.  “One was Pete.  I nudged him and he got going with his show and he’s one of the long playing shows.  And actually DJ Willie got involved.  I can’t take all the credit, but I had him, I kind of twisted his arm a little bit, to play at one of my fundraising shows.  I got him on there and the rest is history, DJ Willie.  And that’s the other thing, the loyalty of some of the people.  How can you not love a radio network that people have been doing shows for forty years?  Don’t get paid, do it out of a love of music and a love of the station and the community.  How can you not love it?”

Several years ago she began volunteering as a weather observer, calling in every morning with a summary of the previous day’s conditions in Bolar.

“I’m the little kid you know,” says Robinson. “We’ve got people like Jason and Keith have, you know, the expensive equipment.  They measure their snow and their liquid precip.  We have chintzy little rain gauges that if Gary doesn’t run over it with the riding lawnmower, it freezes in the winter.  So we’ve gotten a grown up one which we’re going to put out there, it’s the big kind, so I might do better now.”

The STAR Award is presented annually to an Allegheny Mountain Radio volunteer.  Staff, board members and volunteers vote.  It is open to every volunteer within the Allegheny Mountain Radio family.

“I feel so connected to it, to the station, because, you know, we don’t have TV, we don’t have internet up here,” says Robinson.  “We listen to the radio.  Even if I’m not doing something other than what I’m doing with weather now or doing a show, I’m still totally connected to it.  It’s a life line.   It tells me things that I can’t find out anywhere else, like the roads are bad, or about closings and the shots.  If I didn’t have Allegheny Mountain Radio, I wouldn’t have gotten my first COVID shot.  It just connects me to my community.  It’s part of my life.   I’d like to say thank you Allegheny Mountain Radio for the award, for the recognition, for the appreciation and thank you for being there for me.”

The STAR Award is the Steve Terry Area Resource Award, created in honor of the first recipient, Steve Terry of Highland County.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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