2013 in Review
5:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

4 Accomplishments & 4 "To-Do" Items for West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Chuck Roberts
WVPB Director of Video Production Chuck Roberts on "Read for the Record" day in Kanawha County.
Credit Janet Kunicki

This week, I’m looking back at my first year as leader of this organization -- what we got done in 2013, and what we still have left to accomplish.

It hasn’t been an easy year. I arrived at a station in need of major upgrades at a time of rapidly shrinking government funding.

Thanks to you, our members, and a hard-working staff, we’ve been able to make significant progress in 2013 – and I think we’ll make a lot more in 2014.

Here’s what I consider our biggest accomplishments, and biggest undone priorities, in each of our four major areas of focus: Education, Mountain Stage, News and Documentaries, and Emergency Services.

Education Accomplished:

This year, we launched our new media service for educators, West Virginia LearningMedia (yes, that’s all one word).

West Virginia LearningMedia™  is a free website with tens of thousands of classroom-ready, digital resources including videos, games, lesson plans, and more.

Also, West Virginia LearningMedia is producing videos and curriculum targeted specifically to West Virginia teachers, parents and students. We just completed our first major project, "The Road to Statehood" and "You Are There" – with videos and lesson plans for West Virginia Studies students.

Education To Do:

We are in the middle of producing videos designed to inspire middle school students. It’s called WV STEAM, and it will tell the story of young adults in West Virginia in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.

We’ve also launched an effort to build a curriculum around “Inspiring West Virginians,” our long-running series by producer Jean Snedegar and funded by the Myles Foundation. We’re hoping both projects will be ready for educators in time for this fall.

Mountain Stage guitarist Ryan Kennedy
Mountain Stage guitarist Ryan Kennedy

Mountain Stage Accomplished:

All year long, host Larry Groce asked listeners to “come join the party” in this 30th anniversary year, and you did. We celebrated with two special shows – one for the 800th episode, and the 30th anniversary show itself. We held the first-ever recognition event for donors and supporters in Charleston. We produced a groundbreaking documentary about the show and its impact, Mountain Stage at 30: A Radio Retrospective.

Mountain Stage To Do:

Two things: we need to digitize and upload Mountain Stage’s 30 years of great performances, some of which are in fragile condition. If you want to help save the music, click here.

And we are still working to launch Mountain Stage Radio, our online 24-hour music stream, featuring songs from 30 years of live performance radio. We’re already putting this together and are very close to air! (I know I’ll be listening.)

News and Documentaries Accomplished:

We completed several exciting documentaries this year:

We also launched our new website, wvpublic.org, and hired a Digital Director and Digital Editor for news. We’ve been trained through NPR’s Knight Digital News program, and were selected for NPR’s Local Stories Project.

News and Documentaries To Do:

We are working on two new documentaries for next year: one focusing on child poverty in West Virginia and how we can fight it, and the other about the life and career of Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Emergency Services Accomplished:

We have established a microwave connection between the state Capitol and our headquarters in Charleston. This will allow us to broadcast emergency transmissions from the Capitol to West Virginia PBS stations and commercial stations.

Emergency Services To Do:

Complete our comprehensive disaster plan that outlines exactly what West Virginia Public Broadcasting will do in case of many different types of catastrophe (major floods, windstorm, mining disaster, etc.)

What do you think our priorities should be? Let me know with an e-mail – sfinn@wvpublic.org.