CHARLESTON, W.VA. -- West Virginia Public Broadcasting CEO and Executive Director Scott Finn will leave in May to become President and CEO of Vermont Public Radio.
Finn, 46, has led WVPB for the past five years. In that time, the organization has almost doubled its private fundraising while reducing its dependence on state funding by more than $2 million. WVPB also launched two new TV channels -- the WVPB/PBS Kids Channel and the West Virginia Channel.
Meanwhile, the number of radio stations carrying WVPB’s live music program, Mountain Stage, has doubled, and its website now reaches more than 1 million people every year.
“It will be hard to leave the great staff, supporters and 12,000-plus members of West Virginia Public Broadcasting,” Finn said. “But I leave more confident than ever that WVPB is prepared to continue telling West Virginia’s story.”
WVPB is governed by the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority. EBA Chairman Bill File said the board plans to appoint an interim CEO and launch a nationwide search for a replacement.
“On behalf of the Educational Broadcasting Authority, we are sorry to see Scott leave West Virginia Public Broadcasting. He has done an outstanding job and has led us through some challenging times,” File said.
“Thanks to his vision and leadership, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is stronger and better than it has ever been. With the commitment of thousands of supporters throughout the state, and with the support of the Governor and Legislature this past year, we are excited about the future of Public Broadcasting in West Virginia.
“Although I personally hate to see Scott leave, I thank him for his tireless efforts to improve West Virginia Public Broadcasting and wish nothing but the best for him and his family in Vermont.”
The board of Vermont Public Radio selected Finn after an intensive national search. He will take over for Robin Turnau, who is wrapping up a 29-year career at VPR, including the last nine years as president & CEO.
“VPR’s audience, supporters, staff, board and especially Robin have built an incredible organization, one that is well-known and respected across the country,” Finn said.
“What makes me most excited to work at VPR is its vision of ‘exploring the whole Vermont story, together.’ It would be easy for such a successful organization to rest on its laurels, but the staff and board have a greater ambition -- to reach and reflect the voices of all Vermonters, from all backgrounds and corners of the state and beyond.”
As a public media executive, Finn is an active contributor to the national dialogue about public media’s future. He helped created the multi-station news collaboration called the Ohio Valley ReSource. He also is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Future Business Strategies Initiative and NPR’s Collaborative Coverage Committee, which is creating a more robust local/national news network in public media.
Scott holds an M.A. in Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. from Harvard University. He grew up in rural Iowa, and after college served two years as a community organizer in Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia. He also founded the Appalread Family Literacy Corps program in rural West Virginia, and on the side, he says he was “a really, really bad whitewater rafting guide.” He later was a reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, WVPB, and news director in WUSF in Tampa.
Scott is married to Wendy Radcliff, a lawyer, a former West Virginia Assistant Attorney General, and the former environmental advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Wendy and Scott have two children: Iris, 15, and Max, 12.
Finn will assume his new role at VPR on May 7.
WVPB is a statewide public radio and television network with an audience of more than 2 million. Its mission is to educate, inform and inspire our people by telling West Virginia’s story and serve as an indispensable resource for education, news and public affairs, emergency services and economic development.
Listener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont's only statewide public radio network, VPR is an essential and trusted source for independent journalism, music discovery and powerful stories, NPR programming and much more. VPR’s current strategic plan, to explore the whole Vermont story, together, includes five broad initiatives for the station in the coming years: building a financially sustainable service, innovating in news and enterprise reporting, channeling the inspiration of VPR’s audience into support, using VPR’s facilities to expand the dimension of its public service, and communicating and collaborating to create meaningful relationships and essential content internally and externally. VPR News and VPR Classical are available on 27 stations statewide, at VPR.net, via mobile devices, smart speakers and podcasts.