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/

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.

Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has the nation's worst rate of drug overdose deaths. It started with prescription painkillers, and now is increasingly fueled by heroin.

On this week's "The Front Porch," we debate what's causing the epidemic, and what might actually work in curbing it.

WNYC

As host and executive producer of the hit podcast "Death, Sex & Money" from WNYC, Anna Sale asks famous people and regular folks about the things we need to talk more about, but don't.

On this week's "The Front Porch," Sale talks about her complicated love of West Virginia, and the bittersweet experience of visiting home, once you know you're gone for good.

In some ways, Courtney Forbes is just one more young person leaving West Virginia. But unlike most of them, she’s speaking out about why.

In a provocative essay in the Charleston Gazette, “Don’t Settle, Charleston” Forbes gave three reasons of leaving for Philadelphia:

1. How we don't welcome strangers

2. How we don't welcome the ideas and contributions of young adults

3. Environmental and educational standards

Tax Foundation

Reforming the tax system is a major priority for the new GOP leadership of the West Virginia Legislature. Senate President Bill Cole has even floated the idea of eliminating the state income tax.

Like the cicadas, the issue seems to come up every few years, sometimes leading to changes, and sometimes not.

This week, The Front Porch gang debates whether West Virginia needs to change its tax system, and if so, who should benefit.

    

Is Appalachia the most racist place in America?

A story in the Washington Post this week suggests that, based on a study done of Google searches of the "N" word. It appears there are more such searches in Appalachia than almost anywhere else.

Is racism worse in Appalachia than elsewhere? If not, what's going on?

http://photographyisnotacrime.com

Jesse and Marisha Camp were driving through McDowell County when they were confronted by angry residents who believed they were taking photos of their children.

Hard times have come yet again to the coalfields of West Virginia -- massive layoffs, big cuts in production. The coal severance tax is down by about half in many coal counties.

That's what we're talking about this week on “The Front Porch”, our podcast where we bring together people with diverse views and backgrounds to see where we can find common ground.

Pages