Beth Courtney, president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, will retire at the end of January.
Courtney, who has worked in public broadcasting for more than 45 years, has led LPB since 1985. Deputy Director Clarence Copeland will serve as LPB’s acting director as the station searches for a permanent successor.
“LPB has grown from a single station in Baton Rouge to a statewide network of seven broadcast stations and affiliates. Over the past half-century, we have accomplished so much,” Courtney said in a news release. “The thing that I am most proud of is the great team we have assembled. Superbly talented men and women, who work each day to keep pushing the envelope, to keep LPB moving forward into the future. Because of them, I have enjoyed a great and rewarding career at LPB.”
Courtney began her broadcasting career in 1972 as a radio reporter covering Louisiana politics for commercial stations KWKH in Shreveport and later WJBO in Baton Rouge.
Courtney became an EP for LPB in 1976. She later created and hosted The State We’re In, a weekly public affairs program. She also helped create the Louisiana Digital Media Archive, which includes digitized civil-rights era broadcasts, Louisiana-themed cooking shows and speeches by political leaders.
In the 1980s, Courtney was board chair for America’s Public Television Stations and vice chair for PBS’ board of directors. In 2003, she was appointed to CPB’s board of directors, serving as vice chair during her tenure. She was also board chair for the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives and the National Educational Telecommunications Association.
The Louisiana Association of Broadcasters named Courtney “Broadcaster of the Year” in 2020. This year, the Council for a Better Louisiana gave her its Robert B. Hamm Award for her achievements as a woman in broadcasting.
The Board of Directors of the Louisiana Educational Television Authority, the authority that oversees LPB, also announced that the station’s auditorium will be renamed the Elizabeth “Beth” Hardy Courtney Auditorium. A dedication plaque at its entrance will describe Courtney’s achievements.
In the news release, Courtney said she plans to volunteer for LPB as a retiree.