The Vermont Public Radio Board of Directors has appointed Scott Finn as its new President and CEO.
Scott Finn, 46, is the CEO and Executive Director of West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB), a public radio and television network with a statewide audience of more than 2 million. During his tenure, Finn oversaw the transformation of the organization, enhancing its financial sustainability and overhauling content and programming to dramatically increase fundraising and audience. He also led the network to adopt its first formal strategic plan, which resulted in the station launching the national podcast Us and Them, doubling the number of stations carrying its NPR music program Mountain Stage and creating its health reporting project, Appalachia Health News.
Finn was selected after the board conducted an intensive national search. He will take over for Robin Turnau, who is wrapping up a 29-year career at VPR, including the last nine years as president & CEO.
"We are grateful for the leadership of Robin Turnau," said Peggy Williams, chair of the VPR board of directors. "The work that she has done with the talented and capable staff is impressive: our revenues and audience numbers are the strongest they've ever been, we've successfully completed a transformational $10 million capital campaign and we are implementing a strategic plan that will increase our public service to the region.
"We have found in Scott Finn a forward-thinking and experienced leader who comes to VPR at a crucial time," said Williams. "We are impressed with his extensive experience in the world of public media, his familiarity with rural communities, his engaging manner and authentic leadership style. We know he will be welcomed by our audience and community of members as he leads the organization to even greater heights.”
VPR’s current strategic plan sets a vision to “explore the whole Vermont story, together.” The plan includes five broad initiatives for the station in the coming years: building a financially sustainable service, innovating in news and enterprise reporting, channeling the inspiration of VPR’s audience into support, using VPR’s facilities to expand the dimension of its public service, and communicating and collaborating to create meaningful relationships and essential content internally and externally.
“VPR’s audience, supporters, staff, board and especially Robin have built an incredible organization, one that is well-known and respected across the country,” Finn said. “What makes me most excited to work at VPR is its vision to explore the whole Vermont story. It would be easy for such a successful organization to rest on its laurels, but the staff and board have a greater ambition - to reach and reflect the voices of all Vermonters, from all backgrounds and corners of the state and beyond.
“To realize this vision I’ll need help. I’ll be spending my first several months at VPR listening and getting to know Vermonters. Teach me about Vermont and how VPR can do an even better job serving the community,” Finn said.
Prior to his leadership of WVPB, Scott spent more than a decade building multimedia news departments at WVPB and WUSF Public Media in Tampa. Under his management, the teams won national Edward R. Murrow and Peabody awards. Before that, Scott was an award-winning reporter at the Charleston Gazette, where he was nationally recognized for his coverage of issues ranging from business news to drug addiction.
As a public media executive, Scott is an active contributor to the national dialogue about public media’s future. He helped created the multi-station news collaboration called the Ohio Valley ReSource. He also is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Future Business Strategies Initiative and NPR’s Collaborative Coverage Committee, which is creating a more robust local/national news network in public media.
Scott holds an M.A. in Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. from Harvard University. He grew up in rural Iowa, and after college served two years as a community organizer in Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia. He also founded the Appalread Family Literacy Corps program in rural West Virginia, and on the side, he says he was “a really, really bad whitewater rafting guide.”
Scott is married to Wendy Radcliff, a lawyer, a former West Virginia Assistant Attorney General, and former environmental advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Wendy and Scott have two children: Iris, 15, and Max, 12. He will join VPR on May 7.
Listener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont's only statewide public radio network, VPR is an essential and trusted source for independent journalism, music discovery and powerful stories, NPR programming and much more. VPR is one of the most listened-to public radio stations, per capita, in the country, serving more than 229,000 listeners each week on 27 stations statewide, as well as audiences at VPR.net, via smartphones and other mobile devices, smart speakers and podcasts.