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

Bill Lynch has a big story in the Charleston Gazette about the Mountain Stage Archive, and the fundraiser for it coming up on May 17.

Here's how he describes the archive in the article:

"Turn 'Mountain Stage' executive producer Adam Harris loose in the show’s archives and the 30-year-old turns into a total fan.

"He almost can’t stop pulling tape cases off the shelves or picking through boxes to look at things.

The winner of this month’s Storyteller Award is usually one of the first employees to arrive at our Charleston facility, and often one of the last to leave. He’s dependable, friendly, and does his job with a positive and fun attitude. His name is David McClanahan.

Since there are two David McClanahan’s in Charleston (the other is our Director of Engineering), we call him “Mailroom Dave.”

Mailroom Dave makes sure the building is clean and well-maintained, but he does a lot more, too, as our receptionist Sharon Dunlap attests:

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.

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.’

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.

Train Derails in McDowell County
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

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:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
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.

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.

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:

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

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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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