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Carla McCabe of WVIA Public Media – Why NEPA?

“For me, I feel like I’ve landed home. I feel like this is somewhere that I really want to spend a long time.”

When Carla McCabe started working at BBC, she didn’t realize that she had found the path to her dream job. She had joined the company’s public relations department, but she soon discovered a passion for media and broadcasting.

“As soon as I started to see the production side of things and shadow some of the wonderful producers there, I lit up and felt like this was definitely what I wanted to do,” she remembered.

Born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, McCabe spent over ten years growing her career back home. She then took a leap and moved to the United States to pursue a role in Kansas City. After several successful years in the Midwest, her path ultimately led her here to NEPA. In 2020, she became the President and CEO of WVIA, the PBS and NPR affiliate serving Northeastern and Northcentral Pennsylvania.

Growing up, McCabe had visited America many times before, whether visiting family members in Washington, D.C., or working summer jobs in Atlantic City. But now the States offered something else: opportunity.

“It would have taken a lot longer for me to get to this position—I believe anyway—at home,” she said. “I do think there’s opportunity if you’re willing to work really hard. It pays off here.”

McCabe currently lives in the Abingtons and serves on the boards for Misericordia University, the Scranton Chamber of Commerce and The Institute for Public Policy. Through her experience, she discovered a welcoming community, incredible people and a place that truly feels like home.

 

How long have you lived in NEPA?

It will be two years in July.

What brought you to NEPA?

I actually moved to come work for the station. I was living in Kansas City, Missouri, at the time, working for the PBS and NPR affiliate there. This opportunity came up, and I jumped at it.

Did anything surprise you about NEPA?

I have to say, the people here are just amazing, and I feel like I’m at home. I feel like I’m in Ireland because they’re just so friendly, welcoming and supportive. They can’t do enough for you. I love that when I’m walking outside close by my house, everyone waves. That’s what I grew up with. People wave to each other, even if they don’t know you. I feel like I’m really settled here because of the welcoming environment.

I think there’s a really strong work ethic engrained in people as well. That’s something that I’m familiar with myself. I grew up that way, just working from an early age. I recognized that very quickly, and I see that within my own team here.

What do you love about your town?

It’s so peaceful. When I go home, I love to sit outside. There’s a real sense of peace there. There’s also a red cardinal that’s always out, which always brings me a lot of comfort. It’s a small enough town, but it’s a big enough town. You have everything you need there. I purchased my home on FaceTime, so I didn’t know what I was getting into. [laughs] But we’ve been doing a lot of work to the house and just making it our own.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Camelot is one of our favorites. It’s a warm, welcoming environment. We also love Bar Pazzo in Scranton and Rikasa here in Pittston.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

The great thing about this area is that we have so much beauty that we can explore. I happen to live near the Trolley Trail, and it is so beautiful. I didn’t know how much I would appreciate that, especially after a hard day’s work—just being able to go out with the dogs and just calm ourselves down with that.

What’s next for you?

For me, I feel like I’ve landed home. I feel like this is somewhere that I really want to spend a long time. I think there’s so much opportunity for us as a station, and we have a wonderful team here of hard-working individuals that are excited about producing content. I’ve been really focused on growing the team here and adding a journalism department. I feel that there’s opportunity for journalists here for more in-depth news. That’s really where we want to redirect. We’re focused on more local content. I see that being something that we can continue to build on over the next five to ten years.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I really do see it becoming a growth area. I hope that’s the case. I think that if people do come to visit, they will not want to leave. [laughs] But I do see more companies coming to the area and more growth within different industries. It’s really just going to continue to grow and build. I think there’s a lot of excitement.

Why NEPA?

For me, the motivation was for work, but I think we have a prime location. We have amazing outdoors. We have so many activities. We have so much to offer. I think as it continues to grow, there will be more investment and other activities to do here as well. It’s a hidden gem, and I think it will become more and more attractive. I think it will be more of a go-to place in the future.

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