Storyteller Award

Ken Young

It has been a while since I have named a “Storyteller Award" winner for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. To make up for it, I am naming five – that’s right, five – WVPB Storytellers. Each employee was nominated by their peers for excellence in telling West Virginia’s story.

1. Jessica Lilly, Inside Appalachia host/southern W.Va. bureau chief

2. Roxy Todd, Inside Appalachia producer/reporter

Working with Beth Vorhees and the rest of the news crew, Jessica and Roxy have transformed “Inside Appalachia” in many ways.

It’s easy to panic when a transmitter goes down. Engineer Art Austin keeps a cool head in the middle of that chaos, and that’s why he’s the August winner of WVPB’s Storyteller Award.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting maintains transmitters, translators, microwave links and other equipment at more than 30 sites. They stretch from Bluefield to Bethany, Logan to Lost River.

These transmitters and translators deliver our programs not just to old-fashioned aerial antennas. They also deliver our programs to cable and satellite systems throughout the state.

You may have heard about the state’s HUGE computer project, to change over to a new system called OASIS.

Well, this is the story about how that changeover almost prevented some of our employees from getting the right paycheck – and two of our employees who single-handedly prevented that from happening.

One employee even left the hospital where her grandchild was being born to fix the problem!

For these reasons, Jane Smith and Kristi Crouch are the winners of our Storyteller Award for the month of July.

Josh Saul

Mountain Stage is West Virginia's calling card to the world, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting's premier program. On show night, everyone sees Larry Groce, Adam Harris, Julie Adams, Bob Thompson and the other musicians on stage.

But behind the Stage is a small team of people who make sure the tickets get sold, the musicians make it there on time, and everyone gets paid. And two of them went WAY above and beyond in May and June to be our Storyteller Award winners: Vasilia Scouras and Jeff Shirley.

  In each of our lives, we have a rock, someone we can depend on when times get tough. You know what I’m talking about: the eye of the hurricane, the wind beneath my wings, that sort of person.

In our development department, that person is Peggy Dorsey, our individual giving manager. For her dedication, Peggy is the recipient of this month’s Storyteller Award.

We are preparing for Peggy’s retirement this fall and her importance in our development efforts cannot be overstated. She makes sure everything gets done right and on time – pledge drives, premiums, letters, database updates, responses to member questions. Simply put, she does an amazing amount of work.

The winner of this month’s Storyteller Award is usually one of the first employees to arrive at our Charleston facility, and often one of the last to leave. He’s dependable, friendly, and does his job with a positive and fun attitude. His name is David McClanahan.

Since there are two David McClanahan’s in Charleston (the other is our Director of Engineering), we call him “Mailroom Dave.”

Mailroom Dave makes sure the building is clean and well-maintained, but he does a lot more, too, as our receptionist Sharon Dunlap attests:

Every month, we recognize an employee or volunteer who goes out of their way to help “tell West Virginia’s story.”

This month, our Storyteller Award goes to an employee whose positive attitude and endless energy makes him a joy to work with: Jeff Sandner.

You might know Sandner as our “All Things Considered” host on West Virginia Public Radio. It’s a tough job for one person – newscasts, spots, underwriters, etc. Jeff does it with excellence and with a smile on his face every day.

There are some people at West Virginia Public Broadcasting that you probably know – Beth Vorhees, Jim Lange, Suzanne Higgins, etc. That’s because they’re great talents, and they are the people you see on screen and hear on air.

And then, there are lots of folks here you don’t know – but are just as important to making sure we can tell the true story of West Virginia.

Today, we’re instituting a new monthly award to recognize an employee or volunteer at West Virginia Public Broadcasting who goes above and beyond the call of duty.