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

Rusty Marks / The State Journal

Mayonnaise Sandwich. Nothing Burger. Knuckleheads. Poodles and Grizzly Bears.

If you've been following the 2017 Legislature, you know what we're talking about.

WARNING: this week's Front Porch podcast contains contains marijauna, mayo, Medicaid and more.

The Christian Bible is the spiritual and cultural foundation for many of us in Appalachia – but should it be taught in public schools?

The parents of a West Virginia kindergarten student are suing to stop the teaching of the Christian Bible at her elementary school. On this week’s Front Porch podcast, we discuss the role of the Bible in Appalachian society and schools.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

People in Appalachia have one of the most unique dialects in America. On this classic Front Porch podcast, native speaker Rick Wilson teaches us eight ways to speak Appalachian.

1. Pronounce “pin” and “pen” the same

“They’re both ‘pins’ -  just deal with it,” Wilson says.

2. Unlike the deep South, pronounce your “r”

Pop Up Market
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

Should able-bodied West Virginia adults receive food stamps? And if so, should they be required to work or volunteer to get them?

Front Porch host Rick Wilson says no. More than 14,000 food stamp recipients participated in a 9-county pilot program, but only 259 gained employment. On the other hand, 5,417 people were cut off.

WVU / WVU

With lawmakers in Charleston facing a $500 million budget hole, they're debating big changes to the tax code, including eliminating the income tax and raising sales taxes. Is that wise? 

West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director John Deskins explains the pros and cons on this week's Front Porch Podcast.

Anne Li/ WVPB

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

Trump won 95 percent of Appalachian counties, and 69 percent of West Virginia voters chose him - the highest percentage of any state.

But that doesn’t mean everyone here is happy with the results.

Frustrated by the inability to get a bill out of committee, House Democrats tried to legalize medical marijuana from the floor Thursday but failed, 35 to 64.

Still, a recent poll shows a majority of West Virginians favor medical marijuana. Is this an idea whose time has come?

The Trump Administration recently rescinded an advisory telling schools to allow transgendered students to use the facilities of their choice.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we have a lively debate about how to best deal with the emerging transgender rights movement in West Virginia, and balance competing privacy interests.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

GOP leaders proposing a tax overhaul that would eliminate West Virginia income tax, while increasing the sales tax and expanding it to services that are currently exempt.

Is this a good idea? Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee calls it “the second-cousin of all bad ideas, because its regressive, it puts more burdens on the working class than the wealthy.”

Laurie Lin says, “It’s not a great idea for West Virginia,” – even if it works in other states. A state with so many border towns may suffer a loss of business, she said.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Change is coming to education in West Virginia, at both the state and federal levels.

At the federal level, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos, a businesswoman and philanthropist who’s led the fight for vouchers and charter schools.

And at the state level, we have two resignations from the state school board, which will give Governor Jim Justice a majority – and the ability to reshape public education in the state.

West Virginia’s economy has a “chicken and egg” problem.

To grow more jobs here, we need better-educated, healthy employees.

But before we can afford to pay for better schools and health, we need more jobs and more businesses.

As you might imagine, liberals and conservatives have different ideas which should come first – lower taxes or higher education and health spending.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  

He bought the ax and the tackle box from a desperate woman by the side of the road.

"She was selling her life away, her memories, just to have enough money to have food," Jim Justice said in his first speech as governor, as he held the ax and the tackle box.

"She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, 'Mister, you don't have any idea how bad I'm hurting,'" Justice said.

Justice is promising big changes, now that he's governor. In his inaugural speech, he said he wanted to:

- Raise the pay of teachers

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

What do Donald Trump, goat yoga and West Virginia's budget have in common? Find out on this week's Front Porch podcast.

Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. He won 95% of the counties here. On this week’s Inside Appalachia, we speak with Trump supporters and opponents about how a Trump presidency will impact our region.

Woody Thrasher says West Virginians don’t give themselves nearly enough credit.

“West Virginians do have a self-esteem problem,” the incoming W.Va. Secretary of Commerce told “The Front Porch.”

“I oftentimes see where we don’t shoot as high as we should. I think it’s understandable, but regrettable, and it’s very much at the center of what Governor-elect Justice wants to change,” he said.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Since Donald Trump’s election, membership in the ACLU of West Virginia has gone up 30 percent, according to executive director Joseph Cohen.

On The Front Porch podcast, Cohen discussed how his organization is preparing for President Trump in three areas:

WVPA

Drug wholesalers sent 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into West Virginia over six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Meanwhile, 1,728 West Virginians died from overdoses of these two powerful painkillers.

Who let it happen? Investigative reporter Eric Eyre, of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, answered our questions about his series on The Front Porch.

U.S. Government

Ken Hechler, longtime West Virginia Congressman, Secretary of State, WWII veteran and author of "The Bridge at Remagen," has died. He was 102.

Hechler served in Congress from 1959 to 1977 and became an advocate for coal mine health and safety, and environmental protection.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

A higher percentage of voters supported Donald Trump in West Virginia than in any other state, according to the Cook Political Report’s 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker

Two of every three West Virginia voters chose Trump – 68.6 percent. That narrowly beats out the next pro-Trump states: Wyoming (68.2 percent), Oklahoma (65.3 percent), North Dakota (63.0 percent) and Kentucky (62.5 percent).

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