Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Q & A with FOCAL POINT’s Angie Miles

Angie Miles
Monica Pedynkowski
Angie Miles has been the host of VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT since it premiered in February 2022.

Now in its third season, the award-winning show VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT continues to deliver in-depth reporting on some of the Commonwealth’s most critical issues. The latest season has tackled various topics, including freedom of speech at Virginia colleges, the impact of poverty on Virginians, and Virginia’s attempts to support people with disabilities, among others. During the second half of the season, viewers will learn about how debt is affecting Virginians, restorative justice, migration in and out of Virginia and much more.

Angie Miles has been the host of FOCAL POINT since February 2022. In that time, Angie and the FOCAL POINT team have covered a wide range of topics, from inflation in Virginia to election integrity to the changing educational needs of children, among many others.

Since its inception, FOCAL POINT’s goal has been to inspire a deeper understanding of Virginia and Virginians via stories about historically underreported communities. These values were exemplified throughout Miles’ decades-long career for broadcasts at WTVR CBS 6 and WWBT NBC12 in Richmond, making her the perfect fit to host the show.

VPM caught up with Angie to learn more about what drew her to our organization, what some of her favorite stories have been to cover, her interests outside of news and more.

VPM: What made you want to join VPM?

Angie: I grew up as a public television kid-- as in wildly enthusiastic about PBS programming. From Sesame Street and the original Electric Company to Masterpiece Theater and Nova, I have always appreciated the way public media respected my intelligence and broadened my world. Years later, I was usually locked on NPR and VPM News while driving, and I spent many years as a Literacy Educator for VPM's (then Community Ideas Station) preschool programs. When the opportunity arose to combine my experience as a journalist with the excellence and approach of VPM, it was like a dream come true.

VPM: What makes FOCAL POINT so valuable and different?

Angie: FOCAL POINT is the only statewide news program in Virginia. We are different in that regard but also because we actively strive to identify the social issues and public policy matters that are most pressing for our audience and to illuminate how these concerns impact the lives of Virginians. We are comprehensive, incisive and expansive to the best of our ability, while working to engage viewers with long-form storytelling that is both resonant and memorable. And although it's a small part of our program, the POV segment (Points of View of People of Virginia) allows us to really get out to the far parts of the state and talk with people, to genuinely get to know people and to hear what's on their hearts and minds. It gives us an avenue to assist people from Winchester to Virginia Beach, from Accomack to Lee County to get to know each other and many parts of the state just a little better.

VPM: Who or what are some of your influences that made you want to go into news and broadcasting?

Angie: Initially, I didn't set out to be a journalist or a broadcaster. But my love for writing has been lifelong, as has been my love for reading-- the ability to commune, converse and to comprehend the world in ever-changing ways through the written word. Notable moments on the road to becoming a broadcast journalist include taking my first journalism class as a short course in my high school's gifted program. And believe it or not, that was taught by Lee Ware, who was then a reporter for the Powhatan Gazette and who has now been a member of Virginia's legislature for close to three decades. Also, while in high school, I was fortunate to participate in A Presidential Classroom for Young Americans in Washington, D.C. A network correspondent named Lemuel Tucker made a significant impression on me, which heightened my interest in journalism. And while a student at the University of Virginia, I was able to follow in the footsteps of my dear friend Lisa Cooley, who had worked part-time as a classic rock disc jockey at 3WV radio. I'd always thought being a DJ would be a lot of fun, and that became my first, official broadcast job.

VPM: What is one of your favorite stories that you’ve covered in FOCAL POINT

Angie: I've enjoyed tremendously reporting for FOCAL POINT, and I can honestly say that I'm rather fond of every story I've done so far. But standouts among the standouts include The Free Store in Pulaski, The Buck Squad in Charlottesville, and the Suicide Prevention feature, which was part of the episode that earned FOCAL POINT a Capital Emmy Award for Best Public Affairs Program during our first season on air. I'm also very proud of the Generational Trauma report, which explained how the effects of slavery are still with us today-- and that report earned VPM a regional Murrow Award for reporting in the public interest. And currently, I'm incredibly pleased with the response to The True Cost of Poverty, which gives voice to individuals who understand thoroughly what it means to live with limited resources. That story has drawn an incredible amount of engagement on YouTube, tallying about 170,000 views in the first three weeks on the platform-- prompting discussion by hundreds of people. This story seems to be affirming some people's lived experiences while opening others' eyes to the realities.

VPM: What do you enjoy most about working in news?

Angie: I love the opportunity to be both a teacher and a learner every single day. I love how it prompts greater awareness of my surroundings and sensitivity to other people's perspectives every day. I enjoy the camaraderie with my colleagues, who are equally committed to the work we do. And I appreciate the value of procuring and producing stories that can improve life and possibly pinpoint answers for communities near and far. Most of all, I treasure the knowledge that journalism, the fourth estate, is vital for protecting both democracy and liberty.

VPM: What does public media mean to you and why is it important?

Angie: I liken public media to the public library. In an age where bookstores are plentiful and books more affordable than ever, some say we no longer need libraries. Unlike when libraries began as a public service, people can now afford to simply purchase books. But consider-- just about everyone can afford to buy A book, but in a library, you have access to just about EVERY book. Public media is less focused on profit and more invested in the well-being of our viewers and of broader society. Public media affirms the value of every human, every heart, every mind and invites all who dream of knowing the world to come experience it through our information, our stories, our life-affirming programming.

VPM: What are some of your interests outside of VPM?

Angie: I have many interests apart from VPM. Chief among those is my literacy non-profit, HAPPY Reading, which is marking its tenth-year anniversary of our HAPPY Reading Camp for young learners this year. We're also "HAPPY", post-pandemic, to resume our laundromat literacy center program in ten Greater Richmond laundromats, so children can have books to own and readers of all ages can discover great reading material as they "wash, read, repeat". I read quite a lot for work at VPM and for HAPPY Reading, and when I'm lucky, I squeeze in some leisure reading for myself. I am also an author of books for both children and adults, with new titles being published over the next two years. I enjoy public speaking, attending all kinds of music events and museums, and genealogy research. I am a budding metal detectorist, an avid cook, on the way to being a self-taught artist (this will take a while longer), and I've maintained a dream log for nearly forty years with plans to donate it to science. I am a sometimes-runner who cheers on my endurance-running husband, who's completed more than 40 marathons so far. I'm also a cheerleader for my four, young adult sons-- all of whom are dedicated artists (music, painting, digital arts, filmmaking, photography, etc.) and devoted educators (especially for HAPPY Reading). I love film and theater-- both watching and being in productions, and I love to learn about just about everything-- from ancient history to psychic phenomena to quantum physics. And I am hopelessly enamored with jigsaw puzzles.

VPM: What is one of the stories coming up in FOCAL POINT that you are most excited about?

Angie: I'm excited about all of FOCAL POINT’s upcoming stories, including those being produced by my excellent colleagues. Among the coverage that I have in the works, however, I will say I'm looking forward to meeting a young man who has gone from incarceration to being a rising star in his chosen field of employment. That's in our episode on Restorative Justice. I'm excited to share the story of the Mennonite Center in Harrisonburg, where, some of the volunteers are direct descendants of the earliest immigrants in the Shenandoah Valley. And I'm very much looking forward to special coverage of the anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education decision and all that meant for Virginia.

Since debuting in 2022, VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT has been recognized with several awards, including a Regional Murrow Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as a Capital Emmy Award for Best Public Affairs Program. The program also won two Virginias AP Broadcaster Awards, two Bronze Tellys, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters (VAB) Award for Outstanding News Series and the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Tune in to VPM PBS Thursdays at 8 p.m. for all new episodes of VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT or stream it at

Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned FOCAL POINT had won a NETA Award for the episode that introduced the Suicide Prevention feature. That particular episode won a Capital Emmy for Best Public Affairs program during the show's first season, although FOCAL POINT did win a NETA Award for Best Public Affairs program in its first season, as well.