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

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"

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.

What if West Virginia had never split from Virginia during the Civil War? Would the citizens of present-day West Virginia be better off as Virginians?

On one hand, Virginia is a larger and wealthier state. Would that mean more money for poorer West Virginia residents? Better schools or roads?

Or, would distant Richmond ignore its western citizens - just like it did in 1863?

Host Laurie Lin is moving back to Virginia, and she argues a merger could benefit us all. Rick and Scott aren't so sure.

There's a surprising correlation between guns and West Virginia's Trump voters. Also, the fight over school consolidation goes to the Supreme Court. And our favorite Tom Petty songs. On this week's Front Porch podcast.

Country Roads

Sep 21, 2017

On this episode of The Front Porch - we announce a sad departure.

Also, what is it about "Country Roads?" Why do North Korean waitresses love it so much?

And finally, why are our country roads in such crappy condition, and should we vote "Yes" on the road bond to fix them?

The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy is sponsoring a big intellectual shindig here in Charleston on Thursday with the American Conservative Union. It's called, "West Virginia on the Rise: Rebuilding the Economy, Rebuilding Lives."

The conference features speeches by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, W.Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

There also will be panel discussions with national experts on drug abuse, the economy, and changes in the family.

Why does Laurie object to Game of Thrones? What is "Hillbilly Nerd Talk?"

And, what is the perfect coal Haiku?

Find out these answers, and Walking Dead! In this Front Porch podcast.

AP

Governor Jim Justice is pitching a proposal to President Trump: the federal government should subsidize eastern coal at $15 a ton to protect the power grid.

Justice says it's a matter of national security - at times of war or terrorist attack, eastern coal is needed to keep the lights on along the Eastern Seaboard.

It was only a pair of shoes -- Nike Cortez shoes, to be exact.

On the other hand, these shoes had the power to divide West Virginia teenagers into two camps: Hillers who could easily afford them, and Creekers who could not.

This week, we discuss an episode of Trey Kay's podcast "Us & Them" called "Hillers and Creekers." It's about shoes, pickup trucks, and the things that divide us, beginning in school.

NPR

After Charlottesville, we wonder if racism and fascism are on the rise across America and/or West Virginia.

Front Porch host Scott Finn found a survey showing white millennials were just as likely to hold racist beliefs as baby boomers and Gen Xers. Why do more than one third of whites still tell researchers that "blacks are lazier than whites"?

Governor Jim Justice switched parties again today, returning to the Republican roots he left in 2015.

On this special edition of the Front Porch podcast, we debate what this means for Justice, the Democratic and Republican parties and the state as a whole.

In West Virginia, a growing number of working-age adults are qualifying for federal disability benefits. But once they're receiving an SSI or SSDI check, they rarely return to work.

And that's leading to growing resentment across Appalachia of some people with disabilities.

Sam Owens / Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP

Here’s what happens 97 percent of the time in federal court: a plea deal. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense, and the prosecution gets a guaranteed conviction.

But earlier this month, Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected a plea deal for a drug dealer, saying the defendant should face the “bright light” of a jury trial. He said this is especially important in West Virginia, which has the highest drug overdose rate in the country.

All I can say is, WOW! I am so impressed that more than 1,300 members took our 2017 programming survey.

And what you told us reinforced some of our ideas and challenged others.

"I did not come to Washington to hurt people."

That is how Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced, on Twitter, she would not support the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses her concerns "and the needs of West Virginians."

Capito was one of a handful of GOP Senators who dealt the Obamacare repeal a serious blow this week.

Is "Trumpcare" dead? And if so, what does that mean for heathcare in West Virginia, and for Capito's political future. Listen to the Front Porch podcast to find out.

WVU Today

The state Legislature just cut $16 million from higher education, starting this month. Meanwhile, WVU announced a 5 percent tuition increase.

What’s that mean for students and the state as a whole? We have WVU Vice President for Legal, Government and Entrepreneurial Engagement Rob Alsop on The Front Porch podcast.

Yoga in Appalachia

Jul 4, 2017

Sara Limb has practiced yoga in places you might not expect- first while serving as a medic in Iraq, and now in West Virginia.

On this week's episode of the Front Porch, Sara shares how yoga helped keep her sane in a war zone, and how it continues to help veterans and others.

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