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Scott Finn named director of W.Va. Public Broadcasting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Educational Broadcasting Authority members voted Thursday to hire a former West Virginia Public Broadcasting news director, producer and reporter as the new executive director of WVPB.

Board members voted unanimously to hire Scott Finn as executive director at a salary of $80,000.

Finn is news director of WUSF-TV, a public television station in Tampa, Fla. He will replace retiring WVPB executive director Dennis Adkins on Feb. 1.

Finn, who worked for WVPB from 2007 to 2009, said Thursday he looks forward to returning to West Virginia -- even in the dead of winter.

"I'm really glad to come home," he said.

Finn said he sees two primary missions for Public Broadcasting: providing quality educational programming to benefit students, teachers and parents statewide; and sharing the stories of West Virginians throughout the state and the world.

"I believe it's a really valuable resource for the state, and I think it has an important place in the media landscape in the state," he said of public broadcasting.

EBA Chairman Bill File said the authority had 15 applicants for the position, and interviewed three finalists on Dec. 28.

"[Finn] knows most of the staff, and he knows we have a very professional and talented group, and is excited about becoming part of that group again," File said.

Finn said he recognizes the challenges facing public broadcasting -- along with all other media -- in a tough economy and competitive environment.

"We need to go to our membership, to the people who watch, who listen to us, or go to our website online. We need to talk to them and listen to them," he said.

"When we make a decision, we will explain why we did what we did," Finn said.

He said it will be a plus coming back to work with familiar faces at WVPB.

"They're doing it for the love of it," he said of the WVPB staffers. "They believe in the organization they're working for."

Finn said he also is looking forward to returning to Charleston, where before working for WVPB, he was a reporter for The Charleston Gazette.

Legislation passed in 2011 requiring health insurance companies to cover treatment and therapy for children with autism made his return to the state possible, Finn said.

"My wife and I are very grateful this legislation was passed," he said. "We wouldn't be able to do this if we couldn't get insurance for my son, Max."

Finn, who has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, also worked previously as a VISTA volunteer and as a teacher at Charleston Catholic High School.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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