Scott Finn

Former Executive Director and CEO

Scott Finn is the former 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 is President and CEO of Vermont Public Radio.

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.

Ways to Connect

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

In Appalachia, the front porch is where family meets community. It's where the party starts, and where it always ends up.

At WVPB, The Front Porch podcast gathered West Virginians with different beliefs to debate the tough issues we face like you and your friends do on your front porch.

Now, producer and host Scott Finn is moving on and the show is taking a sabbatical. On this episode, we talk about how we did - and what about West Virginia we just cannot let go.

West Virginia's unique culture is an underappreciated asset, according to the hosts of The Front Porch.

In our latest episode, we focus on three aspects that make us special.

New York Times

When the New York Times wanted to do a 50th anniversary story on the War on Poverty, they came to McDowell County, West Virginia.

"Poorest Counties Still Losing the War on Want" reads one of their headlines.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we debate how West Virginia can avoid being the poster child for poverty 50 years from now.

Front Porch host and producer Scott Finn is moving to Vermont. What does this mean for the podcast?

We discuss the role of civil debate and WVPB's commitment to it on this Front Porch podcast.

Welcome to “The Front Porch,” where we tackle the tough issues facing Appalachia the same way you talk with your friends on the porch.

Alexandra Kanik / Ohio Valley ReSource

Governor Jim Justice recently signed a bill that would require some able-bodied SNAP recipients to either work or volunteer 20 hours a week.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, Rick Wilson argues this new requirement won't lead more people to work, and will hurt families and West Virginia'e economy.

Meanwhile, Jessi Troyan argues there are deeper economic forces at play making it hard for SNAP recipients to find work.

Also, we discuss the passage of the noodling bill. What's noodling? Rick Wilson demonstrates.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department's needle exchange program has reduced disease and helped people with addiction find treatment.

But first responders and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones are upset at the proliferation of needles and people with addiction coming to their city.

We asked you which questions to ask Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and you came through. Our news team selected these five to ask.

We encourage you to listen to the entire interview, and let us and Senator Capito know what you think through social media - @wvpublicnews, @radiofinn and @SenCapito on twitter, of Senator Capito’s or WVPB’s Facebook pages.

Brad McElhinny / WV Metronews

Brad McElhinny almost missed the first rumblings of the teacher's strike.

This issue was on almost nobody's radar screen until MLK Day, when Brad stumbled into West Virginia Education Association president Dale Lee at a teacher's rally at the Capitol.

Scott Finn / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The walkout of school employees is entering its second week, and there's no sign of it stopping yet.

Will teachers and their supporters "remember in November," and if so, will this help unions and their political supporters?

Or will there be a backlash that cancels out labor's efforts in West Virginia?

Brad McElhinny / WV Metronews

Every public school in West Virginia was closed Thursday and Friday as thousands of school employees flooded the state Capitol, asking for larger pay increases and a fix for the state employees health insurance system.

The Legislature has already passed a 2 percent pay raise for all state employees and promised to freeze insurance premiums for 17 months - but many teachers and school employees say it's not enough.

WVU

What works in recovery from opioid addiction, and how can we educate West Virginians about it?

That's what we learn this week from Dr. Michael Brumage, new director of the Office of Drug Control Policy in West Virginia.

If you're a current member of WVPB, we want your help. We are trying to make several radio programming decisions for weekday afternoons from 2 - 4 p.m., and weekday evenings from 7 - 9 p.m.

Click here to become a monthly sustaining member or renew your annual membership.

Then, click here to take our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RLVYRYS

Investment Europe

$8.8 billion. That's what a new study estimates the opioid epidemic is costing the West Virginia economy every year.

That's 12 percent of the state's GDP, and more than any other state.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we debate the opportunity cost of opioid addiction for our economy - and how we can get out of this mess.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

Legendary Charleston Gazette Publisher Ned Chilton called it "sustained outrage." He said it wasn't enough to do a story or two about an injustice - it took in-depth coverage to fix a wrong.

But with the Gazette-Mail going bankrupt, supporters are concerned about that tradition of investigative reporting. How can we keep accountability journalism healthy and strong in West Virginia?

Who Overdoses and Why?

Jan 26, 2018

Most people who overdose on opioids have seen a health care provider in the last year, and many had recently been released from jail, according to a new study from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

This suggests that overdoses can be prevented with the right intervention.

Here are some of the findings, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

"Recovery is possible!" is a mantra in addiction treatment. Lois Vance says recovery is happening every day at Cabin Creek Health Systems, where she works.

Perry Bennett / Legislative Photography

Gov. Justice’s second State of the State made full use of several props, two whiteboards and his entire girls’ basketball team.

Justice also laid out what he thought was really important in his speech. Here are two themes I heard: finally turning the corner on the opioid epidemic, and helping young people find technical and vocational careers.

How bad is the staffing crisis in West Virginia's jails and prisons?

So bad, Gov. Jim Justice asked the National Guard to help with staffing. And he signed an order allowing corrections employees to keep unused vacation time, because they've been forced to work so much overtime.

Make your tax-deductible gift now to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and you'll have that donation matched 2 for 1 - thanks to a challenge from our Studio Society members.

For every dollar you give now, they'll donate an additional 2 dollars to WVPB!

https://secure.wvpublic.org/donate/

The rise of entrepreneurship in West Virginia is one of the top 5 trends shaping our state in 2018.  

Congress has passed the GOP tax bill – will it help the people of West Virginia?

That’s the debate we’re having on The Front Porch podcast this week, with liberal columnist Rick Wilson with the American Friends Service Committee, and guest host Jessi Troyan, Ph.D. economist with the free-market Cardinal Institute in Charleston.

Shockingly, they have starkly different takes on the tax bill. Wilson says its another step toward turning America into an oligarchy, and a trojan horse designed to force cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

About one in three West Virginia high school grads needs to take remedial classes when they go to college – and that number is growing. Why are so many new college students so unprepared?

Also on this week’s podcast, we’ll break down the results of the Alabama Senate race. If a Democrat can win there, what does that mean for West Virginia’s congressional races?

Beckley.org

The governing board for West Virginia Public Broadcasting voted today to open a bureau in downtown Beckley and close its facility in Beaver.

The vote of the Educational Broadcasting Authority was unanimous.

Board members said they wanted WVPB to save money and increase its visibility by moving from the Raleigh Airport Industrial Park to downtown Beckley.

Closing the industrial park facility is estimated to save $100,000 a year, which will be re-invested in maintaining WVPB’s network of towers and delivery systems for its programs. No layoffs are planned.

Allegations about sexual harassment and assault are rocking the political and media worlds at the national level (including public media) - but what about West Virginia?

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we discuss when that shoe might drop in West Virginia. 

It's Thanksgiving week! Let's take a break from politics and talk pop culture. 

In "Game of Thrones," siblings Cersei and Jamie Lannister enjoy a loving and suportive relationship. But Front Porch host Laurie Lin can't get past the "ick" factor.

Beckley.org

Here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, we’re working with Public Media Company on a plan to raise more revenue, reduce expenses and become an even stronger, healthier organization.

Our boards are giving feedback on these proposals now, and we’re expecting to receive the final recommendations in December.

One issue that’s being discussed is reducing the number of facilities we operate, and one recommendation is to close our Beckley facility on Industrial Park Road and open a news bureau in downtown Beckley.

Several important items about that proposal:

Simple, transparent and broad-based - that's the sort of tax system The Cardinal Institute would like to create through tax reform.

Executive Director Garrett Ballengee says the current GOP plans are not perfect, but they take the tax code in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Front Porch co-host Rick Wilson worries about starving federal programs such as Medicaid and eduction.

But Wilson and Ballengee agree on one thing - they both love "For the Love of Money"

WVU

The opioid epidemic. Obesity. Low workforce participation. These adult problems have their roots in childhood trauma.

Dr. Michael Brumage wants West Virginians to understand what the research shows - that exposure to childhood trauma can lead to a variety of public health problems in adulthood.

Brumage is talking about ACES: Adverse Childhood Experiences. In a recent study, West Virginia children scored higher than the national average of 46 percent.

"Jobs aren't a silver bullet," says Coalfield Development Corporation CEO Brandon Dennison.

But they are a good start.

Dennison's social enterprise has helped 100 percent of its first 30 graduates find employment or further their education. Now, it's hoping to repeat that success with 50 employees.

What will President Trump's executive orders do to the insurance market in West Virginia?

Kara Lofton has been reporting on that issue, and she says it could mean 19,000 West Virginians seeing premium increases averaging $1,200 on the Afforadable Healthcare Act exchanges. Meanwhile, Trump's order to allow associations to sell insurance across state lines could lower rates for some.

Lofton speaks with Scott Finn and Rick Wilson on this week's Front Porch podcast about what this means for rural healthcare.

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