The Front Porch

Fridays at 4:50 p.m.
  • Hosted by Scott Finn, Laurie Lin
  • Local Host Rick Wilson

Welcome to “The Front Porch,” where we tackle the tough issues facing Appalachia the same way you talk with your friends on the porch. 

Hosts include WVPB Executive Director and recovering reporter Scott Finn; conservative lawyer, columnist and rabid "Sherlock" fan Laurie Lin; and liberal columnist and avid goat herder Rick Wilson, who works for the American Friends Service Committee.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available at wvpublic.org and as a podcast as well.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you'd like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @ wvpublic.org

The Front Porch is underwritten by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Charleston Gazette-Mail. Find the latest news, traffic and weather on its CGM App. Download it in your app store, and check out its website: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/

Justice or Cole, Who Won the WV Governor Debate?

Oct 14, 2016
Associated Press

The two leading candidates for governor attacked each other over unpaid bills and Donald Trump at the last major party debate. Who won, and will it matter?

Battling Big Sugar in West Virginia

Oct 7, 2016
Roman Behar / Wikimedia Commons

The sugar industry spent years denying the harm it does to the nation's health, according to investigative reports.  

This week on the Front Porch, Laurie and Rick speak with Mandy Curry, co-founder of Healthy Kids, Inc.

They discuss the sugar industry's attempt to downplay health risks associated with sugar consumption, and the effects this has had on the sugar content of the food we all eat.

West Virginia Press Association

Does our focus on revitalizing the coal industry hinder the state from diversifying its economy?

A majority of West Virginians want the focus to be on diversification over protecting the coal industry, according to a new survey.

Do You Have a License for That?

Sep 23, 2016
Whitehouse.gov

On this episode of "The Front Porch," Scott, Laurie and Rick are joined by Ted Boettner of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

They discuss the effect the increasing number of professions requiring licensure or certification has on the state's economy. Are all these licenses really necessary? If not, what's the best way to eliminate the ones we don't need?

Also on the podcast, a discussion of "Sit-gate" in the 2016 gubernatorial race and more.

Subscribe to "The Front Porch" podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

An Elegy Too Soon?

Sep 16, 2016
Mark Lynn Ferguson / The Revivalist

Does the bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy” unfairly stereotype Appalachians as uniformly violent and poor?

That’s the case Mark Ferguson makes on this week’s episode of “The Front Porch.” Ferguson says things in most of Appalachia are improving, and the book paints an overly negative picture of our region.

The book has gotten a lot of buzz – we talked about it on The Front Porch recently and interviewed Vance for a recent episode of our show Inside Appalachia.

Who's to Blame for the $600 EpiPen?

Sep 9, 2016
Dylan Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images

It seems like everyone is angry about the huge price increase of Mylan's EpiPen. But what's the real cause?

On "The Front Porch" podcast, Laurie Lin blames federal regulations which inhibit market competition.

We also discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act. Both Bill Cole and Jim Justice, the two leading candidates in West Virginia's 2016 gubernatorial election, have said they will maintain the state's expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Twitter

The working class is in trouble - especially the part with roots in Appalachia.

In his best-selling memoir "Hillbilly Elegy," J.D. Vance tells how he escaped the chaos of his mother's drug abuse and serial boyfriends/husbands.

In an interview with "Inside Appalachia," Vance acknowledges the role de-industrialization plays in working-class decline. But he says cultural decline may be even more important.

Going Home Again with Ed Rabel

Aug 26, 2016
Ed Rabel for Congress / Facebook

Author and journalist Ed Rabel joins Scott and Laurie on this edition of "The Front Porch" to discuss his recent op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

He describes what it was like to return after spending most of his career away from his native West Virginia, and the changes which he noticed had taken place over that time.

He, Scott, and Laurie try to get to the root of the challenges faced by the state and what we need to face them.

Photo Crafters Inc., Morgantown, W.VA. / Wikimedia Commons

On this week's Front Porch podcast: Rick argues for increased state funding for higher education (naturally), while Scott attempts to channel his inner Laurie Lin by suggesting universities can do more with less by focusing on education, not amenities.

clockwise from top left: Ashton Marra/WVPB, Steve Helber/AP, Rick Wilson, Christopher Gregory/Getty Images

On this Front Porch podcast, Scott, Laurie and Rick debate Bill Cole's drug policy, Jim Justice's tourism plan and a resurrected rooster.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Rev. Jeff Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches, describes the role religious organizations play not only in physical recovery after the June floods, but in spiritual recovery as well.

For a state that's already assumed to be firmly in Donald Trump's camp, West Virginia has received a lot of attention at the Democratic National Convention.

This week, we talk to musician, cab driver and state Delegate Mike Pushkin, who sponsored a failed bill to legalize marijuana use.

We discuss the medical, economic, and social benefits and pitfalls of marijuana legalization.

Do the benefits outweigh the risks, or is it simply more trouble than it's worth?

West Virginia University Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Often in times like these, you hear about the need for a "national conversation about race." But what exactly does this conversation sound like?

This week on The Front Porch, Rick and Laurie talk to David M. Fryson, West Virginia University Vice President and Director of WVU's Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, about "the conversation," and why it's important to have one when there isn't a crisis.

Subscribe to "The Front Porch" podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

Chris Walters

If you think there’s no longer a need for volunteers or donations for flood victims – state Senator Chris Walters wants to set you straight.

Walters represents the flood-damaged communities of Clendenin and Elkview. Shortly after the flood, he helped set up a staging area for volunteers and donations.

Downtown Richwood, WV, at dawn after hours of heavy rain flooded the little town.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Did you know West Virginia has a plan, more than a decade in the making, designed to save lives and prevent damage from floods?

And what if you found out this plan is mostly gathering dust on a shelf?

NOAA

    

What role did climate change play in the 2016 West Virginia floods?

Climate scientists say they expect more intense rainstorms, like the one that dumped up to 10 inches on some West Virginia towns.

But Jessica Moore says not so fast. Moore is a senior geologist with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. She points to studies showing such extreme rainfall events were more common in our history that you may think. 

Listen to the full discussion on The Front Porch.

Garret Matthews says he is not a parachuting journalist who did a drive-by assessment of McDowell County.

Just how much government can West Virginians afford?

That's the issue we're debating on The Front Porch podcast this week.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

This week, Rick and Laurie are speaking with state folklorist Emily Hilliard from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

They discuss the definition of folklore, the importance and process of collecting it, and the benefits it can provide to the state.

If you have a tip for Emily, call the West Virginia Folklife Program's Hotline at 1(844)618-3747

The West Virginia Humanities Council website is
http://wvhumanities.org/

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