CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An informal survey conducted online and at 12 locations around the state this summer reached four key conclusions about West Virginia Public Broadcasting, executive director Scott Finn said Wednesday:
* "Mountain Stage" is beloved by radio listeners and television viewers -- even though public television hasn't had regularly scheduled "Mountain Stage" telecasts for several years.
* TV viewers can't get enough documentaries about West Virginia history and culture.
* Other locally originated TV programming is "failing to make an impression" on viewers.
* On public radio, listeners who want more classical-music programming and those who want more news and public-affairs coverage continue to wage their battles.
"We're trying to see, 'What do you want? What do you like?'" Finn said of the survey, which drew more than 575 participants.
In 2001 and again in 2010, legislative auditors called on West Virginia Public Broadcasting to conduct statewide surveys to determine programming interests -- particularly for residents who do not watch or listen to the current programming.
"With this knowledge, we want to chart a path," Finn told members of the state Educational Broadcasting Authority on Wednesday.
When asked an open-ended question to list their favorite public radio and public television programs, "Masterpiece Theater" was, by far, the most popular TV program, with a number of people also citing the popular Masterpiece series "Downton Abbey" separately.
That was followed by the "NewsHour," science series "NOVA," West Virginia documentaries and "Sesame Street."
Finn said viewers' "bottomless desire" for West Virginia documentaries far exceeds public television's ability to produce that programming.