News Director Beth Vorhees signed on to work for West Virginia Public Radio 30 years ago Sunday. To commemorate the occasion, Beth tweeted a photo of the agreement she signed when she was hired:
On March 23, 1984 I signed this agreement to be a news announcer on West Virginia Public Radio. So glad I did. pic.twitter.com/2fR22WcTgC
— Beth Vorhees (@BethVorhees) March 23, 2014
When it comes to news from West Virginia Public Broadcasting there is no other voice and name more well-known and respected than Beth's. Those who have chimed in on a post on our Facebook page make it clear that Beth's impact in radio and television has stretched the entire state and spans age demographics.
In marking the occasion ourselves, we thought we'd allow some of Beth's colleagues over the years to weigh in on her personality and her work.
Scott Finn, Executive Director (Former Reporter and News Director):
I remember Beth taking a reporter who had never done television before and making him feel like it was possible. Beth did that for me, just like she's done that for so many other reporters over her 30 years of service. Thanks, Beth.
Giles Snyder, NPR Newscaster (Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting Program Director and News Reporter):
Beth built a news department second to none. It's infused with her confidence, not only in her own ability but in the ability of all of us who had the pleasure to work for her over the years. Here's to another 30!
Andy Ridenour, Mountain Stage Co-Creator (Former News Host at West Virginia Public Radio):
Beth's hiring was one of the key moments in the history of the organization's news operation. Her journalistic professionalism combined with her on-air talents has provided the "anchor" to which a creditable, award winning and nationally recognized news team could grow and continue to flourish.
Jeanne Fisher, WXXI Vice President of Radio (Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting Reporter):
I worked with Beth when she first started at West Virginia Public Radio. She and Susan Leffler and I worked on Dateline when it was just 15 minutes long. We had no staff so everyday we'd gather reports from stringers who worked at the various newspapers around the state. We laughed a LOT because something seemed to go wrong every day. Beth built the show to a full half hour and brought in the bureau chiefs to build our resources in Morgantown and the Panhandles... More bureaus followed after I left West Virginia to work at WXXI in Rochester. Congratulations, Beth, on 30 great years!
Cecelia Mason, Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief:
I became one of those stringers in 1989 when I took a job at a Charles Town, West Virginia radio station. By the end of 1990 Beth had hired me after Shepherd University agreed to host the first college-supported bureau. Beth has twice led West Virginia Public Broadcasting's news department and thanks to her vision, it's grown from two or three people in Charleston to a staff that reaches across the state. Beth is wonderful to work with. She is thoughtful, considerate, professional and someone I greatly admire.
Anna Sale, WNYC Reporter (Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting Reporter):
When I think about Beth Vorhees, I think absolutely unflappable. She is grace under pressure personified. And that's all the more remarkable when I realize that so much of her work on radio and television at West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been live. She's been our steady hand through coal mining disasters, water emergencies, political crises, and one gubernatorial administration after another. That consistency, day in and day out, is what has earned the trust of so many legislative sources, and more importantly, of listeners and viewers.
Erica Peterson, WFPL Reporter (Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting Reporter):
West Virginia residents should be used to hearing and seeing Beth Vorhees on their televisions and radios by now. After 30 years--and counting!--with West Virginia Public Broadcasting, she's become a force to be reckoned with. And not only has she become one of the most trusted and consistent presences in statewide news, Beth always seemed to have time to take new reporters under her wing, pointing out the nuances of the legislative culture and West Virginia politicians.
Pretty much, Beth Vorhees is news in West Virginia. The station and the state--not to mention the numerous reporters who have been fortunate enough to have worked with her--owe Beth a debt of gratitude.
Suzanne Higgins, Senior Producer:
Beth is such a strong yet compassionate leader. She inspires all of us every day with the confidence she shows she has in us. She's always in our corner, and it just makes us want to work all that much harder! We both arrived in 1984 - and she's always been there for me - for work and family situations. Beth, you really are the best!
Ben Adducchio, Assistant News Director:
Beth has been the voice of West Virginia Public Radio for many years. Everywhere I go in the state, people know her voice and they trust what she says. If people have no trust in us, then our mission doesn't work. One of the reasons why people trust us is because of the work of Beth Vorhees. She's an inspiration to all of us.
Glynis Board, Morgantown Reporter / Producer:
My gratitude for Beth extends far beyond the professional realm into the personal because she was so instrumental in giving me a shot at proving myself as a journalist. What do you say to someone who takes a chance on you and tells you that they believe in you? 'Thank you' falls short of the mark.
Last summer I was in the field and someone pulled me aside to rave about how listening to Beth was like listening to a mother--someone you trust, who has never lead you down the wrong path, a comfort, an authority, and a pleasure. I think that kind of sums her up! I'd add "buddy" to the list.
Jessica Lilly, Southern West Virginia Bureau Chief:
Usually, when I tell folks I work at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, their first question is, "What's it like to work with Beth Vorhees?"
Beth is such a great role model. She leads by example with her professionalism and care for her employees. Since I've been here, Beth has always been a strong voice in the newsroom. She's tough but courteous as she encourages us reporters to take on our next lead. I trust her to make the right decisions in the newsroom just as listeners trust her on the air.
Clark Davis, Huntington Reporter / Producer:
Beth is a great leader for us as a news team and allows us to flourish and grow comfortably. When people hear her voice they know they're getting the facts on the latest news.
Marilyn DiVita, Director of Development:
I had never been part of a broadcast operation before coming to West Virginia Public Broadcasting. When I attended the first radio meeting, I was mesmerized by the voices I heard. These people naturally talked like they sounded on the radio! Another common thread was their deep passion for the product. It was contagious. There is no better example of this passion and commitment than Beth Vorhees.
Kristi George, Director of Radio:
While I don't have a vivid memory of when I first met Beth, it's as if she's always been here since our inception. Yet she never ages - how DOES she do that?! Anyway, I do recall working with her when I was at West Virginia Public Radio the first go 'round, back in the late '90s through the '00s. Prior to that, I remember Beth coming over to WCHS-AM 580 when I was a board op; we were both a bit younger then! I think what I appreciate most about this pillar is her constancy & consistency. In this day of transitions, it is refreshing to be able to count on someone like Beth, no matter what. Thanks, Beth, for all you do!