Scott Finn

Former Executive Director and CEO

Scott Finn is the former executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, an indispensable resource for education, news, public safety and economic development for West Virginia and all of Appalachia. He is President and CEO of Vermont Public Radio.

He describes himself as a "recovering reporter," serving stints as news director at WUSF in Tampa, news director and reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette.

As a journalist, Finn received several national awards, including the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting from the Education Writers of America, two awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Gerald Loeb Award for excellence in business reporting, and the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Problems.

Finn served as a AmeriCorps-VISTA member in Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia (it's actually a small, beautiful place); founded and ran an AmeriCorps program called APPALREAD; and was a sixth grade social studies and English teacher.

He also was a really, really bad whitewater rafting guide.

Ways to Connect

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.

During his convention speech, President Obama said coal miners have to be included in the fight against climate change.

As leader of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, I want to personally apologize to you for issues we’ve been having with our radio service.

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.

Two West Virginia libraries were completely wiped out by recent flooding, Clendenin and Rainelle. The West Virginia Library Commission is raising money to help replace what was lost.

On Saturday, July 16, customers at every Books-A-Million store in West Virginia can donate a portion of their sales to go to the Library Commission for flood relief efforts.

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?

West Virginia Public Broadcasting will air the “Rebuild West Virginia” telethon to benefit flood recovery efforts on Friday 7 to 9 p.m. on WVPB’s main television channel. It will repeat from 9 to 11 p.m. on The West Virginia Channel.



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.

Chip Hitchcock / WVPB

The first 1,000 days of a child's life are the most important. Home visitors help parents make them count.

This week, the Front Porch podcast speaks with Michele Baranaskas, coordinator for Partners in Community Outreach. It's a coalition of several programs that send helpers into people's homes.

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

When you’re at a restaurant, what makes for a great waiter or waitress?

Great servers seem to know what you need even before you do, and have it ready without being asked.

Great engineers share this trait. They can anticipate needs and fix them without being told by anyone.

Josh Saul

Who thought the Morning Edition theme could turn into a passionate Tango? WVPB host and composer Matt Jackfert, that’s who.

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

Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on The Front Porch, we revisit one of our most popular podcasts - how West Virginia became ground zero for the opioid drug epidemic.

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.

Joe Ravi / wikimedia Commons

Because of previous and expected state budget cuts, as well as changes in viewing habits and technology, the Educational Broadcasting Authority has approved a plan to reduce over-the-air delivery via five of West Virginia Public Broadcasting's most expensive TV translators.

These translators are NOT to be confused with our three much larger transmitters in Morgantown, Beckley and Huntington-Charleston, which will continue to operate. These translators are much smaller, weaker antennas that usually serve a few hundred regular viewers each.

Daniel Shreve / The Media Center

The Governor’s race has begun in earnest, and Republican Bill Cole is challenging Democrat Jim Justice to a series of debates.

Balancing West Virginia's state budget is not rocket science, but it's hard politics.

Can the West Virginia Legislature balance the state budget?

The constitution requires it, but that answer remains very much in doubt as we record this week's Front Porch Podcast.

On The Front Porch podcast, it’s our post-primary breakdown. Who won, who got beat…and who lost, because in West Virginia politics, you actually have to spell that out.

Beth Walker
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now the election is over, some races we thought would be close…weren’t. Others not on our radar screen at all became barn burners.

What were the 10 most important lessons from this primary election?

1. Money beats name recognition in the W.Va. Supreme Court race

Before the election, Republicans feared arch-enemy Darrell McGraw would slip into the Supreme Court among a divided field. McGraw is well known from his long tenure as state Attorney General.

Go Vote, West Virginia!

May 10, 2016

Hey West Virginians - go vote! Right now. No excuses!

You say that not voting is a form of protest? You're wrong. It is nothing. It is an abdication of responsibility.

You don't like any of the candidates? Write in your ideal public servant.

Forget about the presidential race. Today will decide future rulings of the state Supreme Court. It decides who teaches our children, and how.

And yes, every vote makes a difference. Sometimes literally - especially in smaller races. Your vote combines with others to send a powerful message to politicians...

Daniel Shreve / The Media Center

West Virginia rarely makes its way onto a national spotlight in election season, but this year’s primary has been a bit of a different story. With campaign stops from three remaining presidential candidates all last week, the state felt a bit of the spotlight.

McGraw Campaign

This is perhaps the West Virginia GOP’s worst nightmare – waking up May 11 to newly-elected Supreme Court Justice Darrell McGraw.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When the GOP took over the state legislature last year, one of their biggest reforms was to make judicial elections non-partisan.

But since the election is decided in one vote, during the primary and without a runoff, the controversial former Attorney General could be elected with only a small plurality of votes.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton won West Virginia's primary by a landslide.

This time, her visit was met with dozens of angry protestors.

Even at a roundtable discussion, she was confronted by laid off coal miner Bo Copley, who asked how she could "come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend."

That comes after her infamous remark - which she has since apologized for - that "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

Transgender people are increasingly coming out and speaking up here in West Virginia. How are we going to respond?

West Virginia Public Broadcasting


West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been named "Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias" in radio and won 7 of 11 categories in the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Awards.

Blacks make up only 3 percent of West Virginia’s population – but 28 percent of the people in jail or prison. What gives?

Are black people committing more crimes? Or is the criminal justice system biased against blacks?

”I think it’s almost 100 percent the bias against black people,” said Pastor Matthew Watts of the HOPE Community Development Corporation. Watts has worked for more than 20 years to help young people find employment.

 West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation rate in the country – under 50 percent. It also has a rising number of ex-felons who are almost un-employable.

Pastor Matthew Watts of the HOPE Community Development Corporation says these two trends are directly related – and we can’t deal with employment until we stop “over-incarcerating” low-income and black people for non-violent drug crimes.

Watts also says the lack of employment is leading to a crisis in marriage – one that’s devastating low-income communities, white and black in West Virginia.