Scott Finn

Executive Director and CEO

Scott Finn is executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, an indispensable resource for education and community 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.

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AP Awards
8:00 am
Sun April 6, 2014

West Virginia Public Broadcasting Named Top Radio News Operation in the Virginias

West Virginia Public Broadcasting won six top AP awards, including this one for best website.
Credit Jessica Lilly

West Virginia Public Broadcasting was named Outstanding Radio News Operation among metropolitan stations in Virginia and West Virginia at The Virginias AP Broadcast awards luncheon Saturday.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting also won top honors in six categories: best investigative reporting, best website, best radio news anchor, best spot news, best documentary, and outstanding effort by an individual reporter.

News Director Beth Vorhees was named best radio news anchor, and reporter Glynis Board received the outstanding reporter award.

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Storyteller Award
10:36 am
Sat April 5, 2014

How Steven Grindstaff Made His Former Employer Cry

The idea of losing accountant Steven Grindstaff made his former employer cry...and for good reason!

You usually don't want to be the employee who makes your supervisor break down in tears.

But when Steven Grindstaff's old boss realized he would be losing his prize employee to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, that's exactly what happened.

Steven’s current boss is our CFO, Tammy Treadway. She describes what happened when she called his previous employer:

“As I expressed my interest in having Steven work for us, I thought, ‘Wow, this man seems really upset about losing him. He sounds like he is going to cry.’

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Telling West Virginia's Story
3:12 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

From McDowell County to the U.S. Senate, Thanks to You

Sabrina Shrader was featured in a West Virginia Public Broadcasting story, which led her to testify for the U.S. Senate.

When you become a member of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, you hope your support makes a difference, that it has the power to change minds and even change lives.

And every once in a while, we hear a story that shows how we are having an impact. Today, that story belongs to Sabrina Shrader, who survived her abusive childhood to become an advocate for children living in poverty in West Virginia.

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News
1:09 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

McDowell vs. Fairfax County: 350 Miles and a World Apart

Credit Courtesy of James Neal

We've reported a lot about declining life expectancy in some Appalachian counties, including the place with among the lowest life expectancies in America: McDowell County.

Now, the New York Times' Annie Lowrey has a powerful story comparing life expectancy in McDowell County to that of Fairfax County, Va. It's just 350 miles difference, but a world apart.

From The New York Times:

Income Gap, Meet the Longevity Gap

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Storyteller Award
9:31 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Conquering The Snow, Telling Our Story

Larry Dowling conquers the snow on our roof in Morgantown
Credit Robin Mazza, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s not always easy to tell West Virginia’s story. The weather can be harsh, and resources can be scarce.

So when an employee takes what could have been a miserable task and makes it fun...that’s deserving of special recognition. That’s why Larry Dowling is our Storyteller of the Month.

Dowling is a video director and producer in our Morgantown studios. Here’s how his fellow employee, Robin Mazza, explains what you’re seeing in this photo:

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APTS Award
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Rockefeller Named Champion of Public Broadcasting by National Group

Credit State of West Virginia

A good friend of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, has just been honored by the organization that represents public television stations throughout America.

First as Governor and later as Senator, Rockefeller and his wife Sharon have played a crucial role in growing the statewide public television and radio network that is West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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After the Water Crisis
10:49 am
Sun February 23, 2014

What Does the World's Best Water Smell Like? (Hint: It's Not Black Licorice)

Judge Michael Cervin smelling the water at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition
Credit bottledwaterweb.com

When I signed up to be a judge at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, I thought it would just be a bit of fun -- a relaxing weekend in an historic West Virginia mountain spa town.

Then came the water crisis: a massive spill of the coal-cleaning chemical MCHM into our water supply, and more than a week under a “do not use” order.

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Storyteller Award
6:00 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Reporters Shine During Water Crisis

Ashton Marra
Credit Cecelia Mason

This month’s Storyteller Award goes to a team who’ve worked together so much their names have become joined together: Dave and Ashton.

Dave Mistich is our digital editor; Ashton Marra is our statehouse reporter. And with guidance from news director Beth Vorhees, and major assistance from reporters all over the state, they’ve led our comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the water crisis.

Beth says it best – I have her message here:

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News
4:52 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Video: Water Crisis Public Hearing from House of Delegates

Water distribution in Kanawha County

Watch the public forum the WV House of Delegates held Monday evening about the Elk River chemical spill.

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Last Day Is Friday
3:44 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

VOTE: Which Two West Virginia Towns Should Get "Turned Around"?

Alderson, W.Va.
Credit New South Media

It’s been a rough month in West Virginia, with the water crisis and all the negative, stereotypical coverage of Appalachia around the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty.

Let’s take all our anger and frustration and turn it into something positive. Let’s “Turn This Town Around.”

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Television Studio Upgrade
8:37 am
Thu January 30, 2014

West Virginia Public Broadcasting Awarded $750,000 Grant

Side shot of "vintage" camera in our Charleston studio.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been awarded a $750,000 competitive grant to replace all equipment in its main Charleston studio and record and transmit local programs in high definition.

This grant was very competitive -- we received about a quarter of all funding available this year! And it will transform what we can do from our Charleston studio in two ways:

1. We will finally be able to replace our failing, 25-year-old equipment.

It's so old, our engineers have to go to hobbyists on e-bay to find parts.

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Water Crisis
3:16 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ken Ward on NPR's Fresh Air: Overregulation Is 'Wildly Exaggerated'

Credit Twitter / @kenwardjr

Fresh Air recently interviewed Charleston Gazette investigative reporter Ken Ward about the Freedom Industries chemical spill. Here are the highlights:

On how the chemical leak was discovered

Some people who live in that part of town called in both to the metro 911 — the county emergency operation center — and to the state Department of Environmental Protection complaints of an odor, that they smelled some sort of a strong licorice odor in the air.

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Education
1:40 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Teachers: New Video & Lesson Plan on Water Crisis Available

A new video and teacher guide helps educators make sense of the chemical spill with students.
Credit PBS Newshour via YouTube

On our website, West Virginia LearningMedia, you can find new resources for helping students grades 7 - 12 make sense of the chemical spill and water crisis.

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Essay
11:32 am
Sat January 18, 2014

'To Hell With You' - A West Virginian's Raw Response to Water Crisis Goes Viral

Eric Waggoner

I knew Eric Waggoner's essay about the chemical spill went viral when a vice president at NPR sent it to me and said I should read this.

In fact, it's been featured on CNN and Huffington Post. Waggoner is a professor at West Virginia Wesleyan who published the essay under the title "Elemental" on his blog, Cultural Slagheap.

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About Us
10:32 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Current: 'Transformed' West Virginia Public Broadcasting Rises to Chemical Spill Challenge

PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff interviews Ashton Marra of West Virginia Public Broadcasting about the chemical spill in Charleston.
Credit PBS Newshour via YouTube

new story in Current.org says "a transformed West Virginia Public Broadcasting stepped up Jan. 9 with extensive multiplatform coverage of the toxic waste spill."

Current is the news source that covers people in public media. In his story, reporter Andrew Lapin looks at WVPB's coverage of the chemical leak.

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News
6:19 am
Mon January 13, 2014

7 Things We Know About the Chemical Spill in West Virginia

A faulty retaining wall is being blamed for not containing the leak of Crude MCHM into the Elk River Thursday.
Credit C.W Sigman

For four days, more than  300,000 West Virginia American Water customers in West Virginia have been told not to ingest, cook, bathe, wash or boil water.

Why? A chemical spill Thursday of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol from Freedom Industries in Charleston.

On Friday, we asked five questions about the spill. Since then, we have found some answers, and even more questions.

1. How harmful is this chemical to drink or breathe?

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Developing
9:06 am
Fri January 10, 2014

5 Things We Don't Know About Drinking Water Emergency in West Virginia

Area affected by water contamination in red circle

UPDATE: Monday, January 13, 2014 5:30 a.m.

As of this morning. more than 300,000 people who are customers of West Virginia American Water are being told NOT to ingest, cook, bathe, wash or boil water.

Why? A chemical spill Thursday of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol from Freedom Industries in Charleston.

On Friday, we asked five questions about the spill. Since then, we have some answers, and even more questions.

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Coming Soon
4:53 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Antiques Roadshow Coming to Charleston in August

At "Antiques Roadshow" in Providence, Rhode Island, appraiser Francis Wahlgren of Christie's (left) uncovers a copy of the book "Anne of Green Gables," bought at a flea market for about $5 and since stored in an attic. The owner and her daughter fell in love with the story, having seen the series on PBS, and the owner's appreciation only intensifies as she learns the volume is a rare 1908 first edition valued at $12,000 to $18,000.

Antiques Roadshow has just announced their 2014 tour dates, and Charleston, W.Va. will be their last stop!

The live event is scheduled for August 16 at the Charleston Civic Center.

This is a big deal for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and for fans who've been asking for Antiques Roadshow to come to West Virginia for years.

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Top 10 List
9:42 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Your Favorite West Virginia Stories of 2013

This map shows which counties have the most absentee land ownership.
Credit WV Center on Budget and Policy

 A study of land ownership, a documentary about a long-running music show, and positive stories about West Virginians --- these are your favorite posts from 2013 on wvpublic.org.

Here's my personal take on what you like: You like in-depth stories that explain West Virginia to you (Who Owns West Virginia). You like stories that inspire (There's a Change in the Air in this Southern West Virginia Town.) And you like stories that entertain and make you smile (West Virginia First Grader Asks Senator For a Break).

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Storyteller Award
3:37 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Telling West Virginia's Story with Positive Energy

Jeff Sandner, right, and Classical Host Jim Lange having some fun in the studio.

Every month, we recognize an employee or volunteer who goes out of their way to help “tell West Virginia’s story.”

This month, our Storyteller Award goes to an employee whose positive attitude and endless energy makes him a joy to work with: Jeff Sandner.

You might know Sandner as our “All Things Considered” host on West Virginia Public Radio. It’s a tough job for one person – newscasts, spots, underwriters, etc. Jeff does it with excellence and with a smile on his face every day.

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