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/

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West Virginia has the worst unemployment rate in the nation. Patriot Coal warned 2,000+ employees they might be losing their jobs.

What can West Virginia do to turn things around?

Don Blankenship's attorney Bill Taylor
Jeff Pierson

In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first full week of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Jeff Pierson

Host Scott Finn discusses the first day of jury selection in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship with reporter Ashton Marra. They talk about the lack of access to the courtroom for both members of the media and family members of those who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Charleston Gazette-Mail's David Gutman discusses Blankenship's political influence in the West Virginia. Ten years ago, Blankenship attempted to bankroll the Republican Party to move his political agenda forward. A decade later many of the issues Blankenship pushed for have been approved and his hired political operatives remain major figures in the West Virginia GOP.

Find the entire episode of Us & Them here.

Filmmaker and journalist Roopa Gogineni usually covers civil wars in Africa. But when she saw Ferguson, Baltimore and the fight over the Confederate flag, she decided it was time to cover America's ongoing Civil War.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

On Monday April 5, 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, killed 29 miners. At the time, the mine was owned by Massey Energy, which federal regulators and a state funded independent investigation found responsible for the blast. Massey’s CEO was Don Blankenship.

Rick Wilson

A deep love of their homeplace, resourcefulness, and deep faith - West Virginians and people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel share a lot.

Midwives have a long and storied history in Appalachia. Can they help decrease the region’s high C-section rate?

Charleston Gazette-Mail

He’s been beaten and berated for doing his job, but despite the dangers, Bob Aaron says he still loves being a T.V. reporter.

Ten years ago, Jennifer Hill was trying to figure out how she, her mother and brother could survive Hurricane Katrina.

Gage Skidmore / AP Photo

What do Donald Trump, Hmong immigrants, and pepperoni rolls have in common? They're all on "The Front Porch" podcast this week.

We discuss Trump's anti-immigrant appeal, and why West Virginia has the lowest percentage of foreign-born people in the entire U.S.

Should West Virginia be recruiting immigrants as an economic development strategy? Or do immigrants compete for scarce jobs with native-born people?

Charleston Daily Mail

Can West Virginia comply with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan? And if so, at what cost?

Those are the questions Randy Huffman is trying to answer. Huffman is Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Huffman came on “The Front Porch” podcast to talk about how his agency is dealing with Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants.

Here are 10 takeaways from our interview with Huffman that will (hopefully) help you understand the Clean Power Plan’s impact on West Virginia.

Bruce Gilden, Vice

"Two Days in Appalachia," the recent photo essay in Vice, has generated a social media firestorm for how it portrays folks in eastern Kentucky.

Did Vice send photographer Bruce Gilden to Appalachia to make us look like freaks? And how does this feed into existing stereotypes of people here?

Over the past century, Charleston’s two newspapers brought down corrupt politicians, exposed injustice, and served as West Virginia’s first draft of history.

And now, the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail are joining into one newspaper. Why is this happening, and what does it mean for West Virginians?

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

People in Appalachia have one of the most unique dialects in America. On The Front Porch, native speaker Rick Wilson teaches us eight ways to speak Appalachian.

Steve Clancy / Flickr

Is Harvard University is keeping out qualified Asian-American applicants in the interest of racial diversity? That’s what is alleged in a lawsuit.

On The Front Porch, a Yalie, a Harvard man and our resident intellectual from Marshall debate whether colleges should use race during admissions.

Are Appalachian students are at a disadvantage or advantage when they apply to selective schools? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Craig Cunningham / Charleston Daily Mail

Should the government require wages over a certain level for taxpayer-funded construction projects?

In West Virginia, some Republicans want to repeal the prevailing wage law altogether - like Laurie Lin of our podcast, "The Front Porch"

On The Front Porch podcast, we discuss the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. with a special guest, WVU Vice President David Fryson.

Fryson is a pastor, a lawyer, and leads WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

We discuss the debate over taking down the Confederate flag, and enduring symbols of the Confederacy in West Virginia. That includes General Stonewall Jackson, a West Virginia native who fought for the South.

The Front Porch Podcast
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Increasingly, working class men in Appalachia can't find work.

Central Appalachia has seen thousands of layoffs in the coal industry this decade. More and more, women are the main breadwinners.

Should we require drug tests for recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program?

A bill proposed by the West Virginia Legislature would have done just that, as part of a pilot program. It failed to pass, but is sure to come up in next year's regular session.

CDC

A recent Gallup-Healthways survey ranked West Virginia as the second-most obese state in America (thank God for Mississippi!) One in three West Virginians is obese.

This week on The Front Porch, we debate what’s making Appalachia fat, and what can be done about it.

Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee blames aggressive marketing of sugar, salt and fat by big corporations.

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