Scott Finn

Executive Director and CEO

Scott Finn is executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, an indispensable resource for education, news, public safety and economic development for West Virginia and all of Appalachia.

He describes himself as a "recovering reporter," serving stints as news director at WUSF in Tampa, news director and reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette.

As a journalist, Finn received several national awards, including the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting from the Education Writers of America, two awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Gerald Loeb Award for excellence in business reporting, and the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Problems.

Finn served as a AmeriCorps-VISTA member in Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia (it's actually a small, beautiful place); founded and ran an AmeriCorps program called APPALREAD; and was a sixth grade social studies and English teacher.

He also was a really, really bad whitewater rafting guide.

Finn, his wife, Wendy, and children, Max and Iris, live in Charleston, West Virginia.

Ways to Connect

Balancing West Virginia's state budget is not rocket science, but it's hard politics.

It comes down to three options - raise taxes, cut programs, or raid our Rainy Day Fund.

Governor Tomblin proposed a budget that leans heavily upon taxes, while some House Republicans want no tax increase and mostly cuts. Neither side looks likely to give in, at least not yet.

This week, the Front Porch gang gives three ways this may end:

Can the West Virginia Legislature balance the state budget?

The constitution requires it, but that answer remains very much in doubt as we record this week's Front Porch Podcast.

On The Front Porch podcast, it’s our post-primary breakdown. Who won, who got beat…and who lost, because in West Virginia politics, you actually have to spell that out.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now the election is over, some races we thought would be close…weren’t. Others not on our radar screen at all became barn burners.

What were the 10 most important lessons from this primary election?

1. Money beats name recognition in the W.Va. Supreme Court race

Before the election, Republicans feared arch-enemy Darrell McGraw would slip into the Supreme Court among a divided field. McGraw is well known from his long tenure as state Attorney General.

Go Vote, West Virginia!

May 10, 2016
Voting
WBOY

Hey West Virginians - go vote! Right now. No excuses!

You say that not voting is a form of protest? You're wrong. It is nothing. It is an abdication of responsibility.

You don't like any of the candidates? Write in your ideal public servant.

Forget about the presidential race. Today will decide future rulings of the state Supreme Court. It decides who teaches our children, and how.

And yes, every vote makes a difference. Sometimes literally - especially in smaller races. Your vote combines with others to send a powerful message to politicians...

Daniel Shreve / The Media Center

West Virginia rarely makes its way onto a national spotlight in election season, but this year’s primary has been a bit of a different story. With campaign stops from three remaining presidential candidates all last week, the state felt a bit of the spotlight.

McGraw Campaign

This is perhaps the West Virginia GOP’s worst nightmare – waking up May 11 to newly-elected Supreme Court Justice Darrell McGraw.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When the GOP took over the state legislature last year, one of their biggest reforms was to make judicial elections non-partisan.

But since the election is decided in one vote, during the primary and without a runoff, the controversial former Attorney General could be elected with only a small plurality of votes.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton won West Virginia's primary by a landslide.

This time, her visit was met with dozens of angry protestors.

Even at a roundtable discussion, she was confronted by laid off coal miner Bo Copley, who asked how she could "come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend."

That comes after her infamous remark - which she has since apologized for - that "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

Transgender people are increasingly coming out and speaking up here in West Virginia. How are we going to respond?

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been named "Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias" in radio and won 7 of 11 categories in the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Awards.

Blacks make up only 3 percent of West Virginia’s population – but 28 percent of the people in jail or prison. What gives?

Are black people committing more crimes? Or is the criminal justice system biased against blacks?

”I think it’s almost 100 percent the bias against black people,” said Pastor Matthew Watts of the HOPE Community Development Corporation. Watts has worked for more than 20 years to help young people find employment.

 West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation rate in the country – under 50 percent. It also has a rising number of ex-felons who are almost un-employable.

Pastor Matthew Watts of the HOPE Community Development Corporation says these two trends are directly related – and we can’t deal with employment until we stop “over-incarcerating” low-income and black people for non-violent drug crimes.

Watts also says the lack of employment is leading to a crisis in marriage – one that’s devastating low-income communities, white and black in West Virginia.

Due to an internet delivery problem, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's radio signals were down statewide Thursday morning until almost 8. Also, you may have experienced difficulty accessing our audio stream due to high demand.

We apologize, and thank you for your patience.

Thomas Goodman says it's not a struggle to stay in West Virginia -- it's a choice.

"If you’re a young person and you have a degree of…ambition, and you’re willing to stick it out through the heartache we’re enduring right now, on the backside of that, you’ll write your own ticket," he said. "If you’re willing to assume responsibility and be a leader, the opportunity will present itself."

The Front Porch spoke with Goodman as part of our "The Struggle to Stay" series, co-sponsored with West Virginia Living.

A team of journalists from West Virginia Public Broadcasting have been selected to attend NPR’s first-ever Audio Storytelling Workshop.

The Audio Storytelling Workshop is where public media creators will bring their ideas to D.C. for three days of planning, training and collaborating.

WVPB’s project will focus on the economic crisis facing West Virginia and the decision by families here to stay or go. The team includes Roxy Todd (Reporter and Producer for Inside Appalachia), Glynis Board (Reporter) and Crystal Collins (Digital Editor/Producer).

This week, we talk with Garrett Ballengee, executive director of The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.

Who’s to blame for the decline of the white working class?

Kevin D. Williamson, a writer for the National Review, has an answer: it’s their own fault.

http://photographyisnotacrime.com

This week, The Front Porch gang is too busy celebrating passage of the Brunch Bill to do a new episode - so enjoy this classic podcast, one of the most popular we've ever done, about what happens when outsiders with cameras visit a remote Appalachian community.

Jesse and Marisha Camp were driving through McDowell County when they were confronted by angry residents who believed they were taking photos of their children.

This has been a wild and historic session of the West Virginia Legislature. And every step of the way, West Virginia Public Broadcasting has provided in-depth and comprehensive coverage.

For the first time, West Virginians could see in real time exactly how their laws are made on The West Virginia Channel.

Perry Bennette / West Virginia Legislative Photography

It’s been a horrific year for the state budget in West Virginia. There’s a budget hole to fill of about $400 million because of the collapse of severance tax revenue from coal and gas.

There are basically three ways to balance the budget:

1. Raise taxes

2. Cut spending

3. Dip into the state’s savings.  

Governor Tomblin proposed to balance the budget through a mix of all three – a 4 percent across-the-board spending cut, a tax on cell phone service and a 45 cent increase in the cigarette tax.

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